Monday, 6 August 2012

Eurythmics 'There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)'

Chart Peak: 1 (1 week)


The first UK Number 1 single for Annie and Dave - it made the top in July 1985. 'There Must Be An Angel' featured the magic harmonica of Stevie Wonder as did Chaka Khan's 1984 Number One 'I Feel For You'.

I suppose at the time it wasn't obvious that their first chart-topper would also be their last, nor that this would prove to be their final appearance (together) on a Now album. It's not such a loss, though, as I've long felt this to be roughly the point where they lost what was initially interesting about them and went almost entirely mainstream. I can't claim to have been capable of, or interested in, such sophisticated analysis when I was seven, but it's an easy judgement to make in hindsight. It's even carried over into the video, where Annie Lennox abandons her former androgyny in favour of an admittedly OTT femininity. 

Of course, there's nothing wrong with making pop music, but the song itself isn't strong enough really. It's apparently supposed to be blues-influenced, and you can hear that especially in the middle eight, but it's not an idiom they seem able to write in naturally - Lennox's overuse of melisma in the verses feels especially forced. And as well as being the third track in a row with the word "Heart" in the title, it's the second in a  row overproduced by Dave Stewart. The track only really comes alive when Stevie Wonder shows up and plays his solo, and even that suffers from seeming dropped into the song rather than an organic part of it. It was probably a mistake to mention 'I Feel For You' in the sleevenote, actually, it just reminds me how much better that was. 

Also appearing on: Now 2, 4
Available on: Ultimate Collection (2 disk set)

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