REVIEW: ‘Gold’ – Belinda Carlisle

Belinda Carlisle – “Gold” (2019)

by Christopher Smith

How many greatest hits albums does one person need? Especially since the output of new material has been so low over the last twenty years. First there was “The Best of Belinda Vol.1” in 1992. Great. That was a celebration of all that success achieved since 1987. You would think, eventually, “Vol.2” would follow. Well, it kinda did, just not called “volume 2”. “A Place On Earth: The Greatest Hits” was what did come in 1999, but that only took in the two studio albums released in between and four (very welcome) new tracks. Since then a veritable ‘barrage’ of hits collections and best of’s have been set upon us. “The Collection” in 2002, “Icon” in 2013 and “The Collection” (inventive title!) in 2014, together with the US released “The Anthology” that very same year!

Belinda doesn’t have to do this. We’ve all bought the ‘hits’ many times over, on single, studio album and just how many ‘greatest hits’ albums do you have before, during and since?! All of the albums have been mild chart hits around the globe but the UK remains by far, her biggest market for greatest hits collections. The first one topped the UK chart in 1992 selling over 600,000 copies. The second (the 1999 one) is Gold certified (100,000+ copies). And the 2014 one gave Bel her highest charted UK album since, well since the last one! So what can we expect from “Gold”? Well its sub title is “The Super Deluxe Edition”! 56, yes, FIFTY SIX tracks! Once again, all the usual suspects are present. “Heaven”, “Leave A Light On”, “Mad About You”, “The Same Thing”, “Circle”, all the biggies and more.

It’s beefed up with album tracks (did you know “Runaway Horses” is thirty years old next month?) including “Shades Of Michelangelo”, “I Plead Insanity” (which SHOULD of been a single!), “You Came Out Of Nowhere” and “Valentine” to name but so many. It’s good to see tracks from her French language album “Voila” (2007) present with “Bonnie Et Clyde” most prominent as well as recent recordings, the awesome “Sun” and the emotional “Goodbye, Just Go”, all very welcome indeed. The ‘newie’s’ from the 1999 collection are also here, gratefully. “All God’s Children” and “A Prayer For Everyone” show up, but…hang on…where is “Feel’s Like I’ve Known You Forever”? What a tune! Belinda – why oh why is it not here…? Travesty! That aside, Belinda does include tracks from her most recent album “Wilder Shores”. “Humee Hum Brahm Hum” and “Adi Shakti” are ‘slotted’ in between the likes of “Always Breaking My Heart” and “Too Much Water” as all total, definitive hits collections dictate.

There are some pure fan and absolute classic and all time fav’s here as well including the epic “Should I let You In?”, “Fool For Love”, “Love Revolution” and “We Can Change”, among some of her 90’s smash hits, the unforgettable “Live Your Life Be Free”, “In Too Deep”, “Summer Rain” and the beautiful “Half The World”. One of my personal all time Belinda bests is “World Without You”, and thankfully, it’s here, along with the other Diane Warren penned super hit “I Get Weak”. We muss not forget her “Real” album of 1993. “Big Scary Animal” and “Lay Down Your Arms” have to be and are very much present and correct. “Here we go, some things are inevitable”. They are Belinda and they are also much loved and cherished! Back at the beginning of her solo career, her 1986 self-titled debut included her version of Freda Payne’s 1970 classic “Band Of Gold”, which Belinda re-recorded with Freda and released as a single. It makes a rare and welcome appearance here, the first time of a Belinda best of album! So maybe this isn’t all bad after all!

“Gold” is issued in a 3-disc CD set and a double LP version (only 20 tracks on this format) and would perhaps be better titled a “Very Best Of Belinda’s Greatest Hits And More”, or maybe even using that controversial word “Definitive” or even “Complete Collection”. Whatever, this album celebrates thirty three years of one of our best loved and eternally youthful and beautiful singers and performers. Having seen her perform live on countless occasions over the past five years, I am more than looking forward to this year’s 30th Anniversary tour for “Runaway Horses” starting next month (for which a special retrospective review of the album will be published) and seeing Bel once again, perhaps bare-footed as ever(!), take to the stage and belt out all six singles from the album and their fellow, accompanying tracks. Let’s all sing “Hey, hey, hey” as we dream the same dream, “woooah” as the horses runaway and “aah, la luna la luna” – that was the night we fell under the spell of the moon. Somewhere in my heart I am ALWAYS dancing with Belinda Carlisle, and this album will keep that flame burning ever more, just as it has since the 1980’s. “Cause when the world takes me away, you are still the air that I breathe”!

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Written by aylshamchris

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