Reason #413 Why The ’80’s Didn’t Suck: Welcome To The Pleasuredome

frankieI was not a huge fan of Frankie Goes To Hollywood during their heyday in 1984, the year they released the massive double album Welcome To The Pleasuredome. They were too slick, too well produced and too damn proficient with their instruments for my punk rock DIY tastes. To boot, it was a DOUBLE ALBUM, and the title track was over 13 minutes long!

Long story short, time passed and my tastes softened to the extent that I could now appreciate some different styles. I bought an early CD pressing of Pleasuredome and was repulsed at how bad it sounded. Not the songs, mind you. It was one of the muddiest sounding recordings I have ever heard, so I sold it. This was around the mid-‘90’s.

Fast forward to last weekend. On a whim I purchased the 25th anniversary re-master while my family and I were doing a little shopping in Folsom. Our last stop was at an outlet center, and I hate outlet malls, so I decided to stay behind in the car while my wife and daughters did their thing. My wife said she’d be back in half an hour. After 15 years I know that “half an hour” means at least an hour and a half, so I slipped the disk in, sat back, and listened to the whole damned thing. It sounded amazing. Clear as a bell, high and low ends fully defined, details I never knew existed were now apparent. This re-mastering made me see the songs, and the album, in a whole new light.

What I once thought was a mainstream album now sounded quite subversive, and the songs, probably due to the current renaissance of ‘80’s sounds currently en vogue at the moment, sounded utterly modern and, dare I say it, exciting.

This is going to sound terrible, but if I had to describe this album to someone who had never heard of this band I would describe it thus: “Adam Ant meets The Alan Parsons Project”. Given producer Trevor Horne’s tenure in YES it is indeed possible that he was influenced by the pop-prog production of Parsons. More than possible, actually.

Yes, the music was ‘augmented’ by Horne enlisting members of Ian Drury’s Blockheads, but I don’t care. Forget about the “Frankie Says…” hype; forget about “Relax”; Pleasuredome remains an album worth revisiting. It’s one of ZTT’s finest.