I could give them a mirror: the best of Eurythmics and Annie Lennox

Not much chatter about Eurythmics these days — a pity, for at their prime they were among the more consistent singles artists of their decade. After 1984, Annie Lennox’s infatuation with her vocal prowess and David Stewart’s guitar noodling and light bag of psychedelic tricks made them insufferable, I’ll admit; for a while he was the aging boomer rocker’s favorite producer. These days I admire their chillier early work. When I wrote about this exemplary comp I didn’t own Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), a record of jagged synthesizer tracks in which Lennox flits between playing feminine subject and object as if she regarded Bowie’s “Boys Keep Swinging” video as ur text. As visual stylist only Madonna approached her wit while shipping platinum. Lennox’s roots in early seventies singer-songwriter piano rock made her realer than I wanted her to be, at least after 1992’s Diva.

Yet! Until I read Tom Ewing a few years ago I had no idea Britishers held their noses in the presence of Be Yourself Tonight, but I get it: the era of Paul Young and Motown nostalgia triggered revulsion for atrophied pop-soul. If I forget “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” exists (the tackiest wah-wah guitar ever recorded?), “I Love You Like a Ball and Chain,” “Adrian,” and “Would I Lie to You” ably substitute. The only album from Eurythmics’ run that’s almost without merit is Revenge, a gross and loud excuse to sell out Wembley and grow mullets. “Missionary Man” has its merits, but its video is Lennox-Stewart and their band trudging through the slime of 1986-approved surrealism.. My indifference toward the title track aside, I’d slot Sweet Dreams as the best of the duo’s albums, with the retread Touch in third place. Squeezed between them is an odd out of time thing that did little business in England and none in America called Savage: a return to wigs and preening using the old technology but with four years’ accumulated craft. Sophie Muller’s videos show Lennox as an MTV Meryl Streep, imitating imitations of human beings.

1. Here Comes the Rain Again
2. You Have Placed a Chill in My Heart
3. I Need a Man
4. Would I Lie to You?
5. I Could Give You (A Mirror)
6. Who’s That Girl?
7. Missionary Man
8. The Walk
9. Sexcrime (Ninety Eighty-Four)
10. I Need You
12. Why
13. Don’t Ask Me Why
14. The First Cut
15. Walking on Broken Glass
16. Love is a Stranger
17. No Fear, No Hate, No Pain (No Broken Hearts)
18. Here Comes That Sinking Feeling
19. Julia
20. Little Bird (Single Mix)
21. Belinda
22. Savage
23. Let’s Go!
24. Wrap It Up
25. Regrets
26. This City Never Sleeps
27. Precious
28. Love Song to a Vampire
29. Beethoven (I Love To Listen To)
30. Paint a Rumour

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