Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Best Kim Wilde Tracks You've Never Heard #1: Can't Get Enough (Of Your Love)

There are many contenders for The Best Kim Wilde Tracks You've Never Heard - and I'm going to cover a number of them in a new series of blogs - but I'm going to start with my favourite.

Kim Wilde had enjoyed a successful 1980s, starting out with catchy and lyrically intriguing hits crafted by her father, the famous rock and roll singer and songwriter Marty Wilde, and her brother, talented songwriter and producer Ricky Wilde. Her debut Kids In America is perhaps her defining hit, but tracks such as the haunting Cambodia, the eerie View From A Bridge and the risque The Second Time showed there was real depth behind the blonde beauty with the unmistakable voice. The second half of the decade saw Kim score a massive hit with a contemporary take on The Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On, followed by a real smash hit with the legendary You Came and its parent album, 1988's Close - both of which saw Kim make a bigger contribution to the songwriting, alongside Ricky.

With Kim ending the 1980s on a high, it is fair to say that there were high hopes for the 1990 album Love Moves. Unfortunately for Kim, the music scene had changed quite dramatically in the two years which had elapsed between 1988's Close and 1990's Love Moves. The pure pop which had dominated in the late 1980s had given way to an emerging dance and indie scene, and those with a populist approach struggled to adapt. New acts like Yell! and Halo James would have been certain to succeed a year or two previously, but their success was limited and short-lived. Even Stock Aitken Waterman saw their success start to waver in 1990, although they enjoyed a successful year by anyone else's standards.

And Kim also suffered from this change in the marketplace. Perhaps this was down to the record-buying public moving on, or even due to decisions made by Kim's record company MCA, but it should also be noted that Love Moves gave us a different sounding Kim. Where Kim had previously enjoyed a harder edge to her sound - even on the poppy Close - the overriding sound of Love Moves was smoother, more polished. It sounds like Kim and Ricky Wilde may have taken some inspiration from the polished soul/pop which was prevalent in 1989, from artists such as Karyn White and Lisa Stansfield and if so, one can see the sensibility in that decision. After all, few saw the explosion of the dance and indie sound coming so quickly into 1990. But, at the time of its release, Love Moves sounded like a record released a year too late.

What probably didn't help was the choice of singles. Whilst Love Moves has a mixed reputation amongst Kim Wilde fans, it is actually a strong, coherent album, with a number of strong tracks - and I would argue there were better candidates for UK singles than the tracks selected. Lead single It's Here has a lovely Kirsty MacColl-esque melody, but it lacked the immediacy required to relaunch Kim - it just missed the top 40, peaking at #42. Second single Time was stronger, with a more punchy sound, but this fared worse with a peak of #71 in the UK chart. A further UK single followed - strong ballad I Can't Say Goodbye -- but again, failed to resonate with the record buying public, with a peak of #51.

But what is frustrating is that, tucked away in the tracklisting. there was a surefire smash hit single on Love Moves; the wonderfully over-the-top rock-pop masterpiece that is Can't Get Enough (Of Your Love).

A Kim & Ricky Wilde composition, Can't Get Enough (Of Your Love) stands apart from the rest of Love Moves; not just thematically - it's an impassioned tale of a lovestruck woman unable to let go of a lover who is clearly bad for her - but also sonically; the smooth soul-pop sound which dominates the album gives way to the classic Kim Wilde rocky-pop of old.

Despite the klaxon-like synth which opens the track, there's a real stadium rock feel to this track. An impressive burst of electric guitar - courtesy of long-time Wilde collaborator Steve Byrd - kicks off proceedings, followed by thumping drums and a whistling synth line.

Lyrically, it's a bit more playful, a bit more melodramatic than many of Kim's tracks. "I'm a prisoner who can never leave / Someone that you use anytime you please" is the opening gambit, followed later by a similarly heated claim in the second verse - "And the fever rages in my soul / Begging you to want me and take control".

Kim is on fine form vocally here, belting the song out for all its worth and really contributing to the raw, energetic feel of the track.

A dramatic bridge - "As I face another lonely night / A different lover will hold you tight / It's not right" -- takes us into the amazingly catchy chorus - "I can't help myself from crying over you / I can't get enough of your love / Yeah I'm dying cos it's true / I can't get enough of your love".

Pleasingly, Byrd's lead guitar carries on throughout the track, giving it a real energy and really selling the typically robust Ricky & Kim melody - taking us through the instrumental break and into a few more iterations of the chorus.

And then it ROCKS OUT. Much of the final minute of the track is taken up with a superb electric guitar solo, with Byrd giving it all he's got. It's seriously impressive stuff, and if it doesn't make you play along on air guitar, then there's no hope for you, quite frankly! Whilst it's a terrific bit of musicianship in its own right, it combines with Ricky's synths and drum programming to create a thrilling coda to the track.

It's such a wickedly intoxicating creation that it cannot fail to inspire joy in the listener; it's a real "prick up your ears" track, and it has a real wallop to it.

To be fair, Ricky Wilde is great at these kind of power pop tracks, but Can't Get Enough (Of Your Love) must be one of his crowning glories. Some commentators have noted that it's cut from the same sonic cloth as 1988's Never Trust A Stranger, another totally amazing Kim Wilde track with perhaps the greatest drum track of any record ever.

Whilst MCA didn't release it as a single in the UK, it did get a single release in Europe, where it reached #21 in France, and #58 in Germany. OK, so maybe not hugely successful chart positions, but I do think that if Can't Get Enough (Of Your Love) had been the lead single in the UK, then it would have done well enough to give the follow-up singles from Love Moves more of a fighting chance.

But that brings me back to my earlier assertion - that, at that point in 1990, the musical style of Love Moves was perhaps out of step with everything else going on at the same time. Hell, many other worthy records by other acts suffered from the same problem. So perhaps my faith in Can't Get Enough (Of Your Love) as a 1990 UK hit is misplaced, and maybe its release as a UK single would not have changed matters much. (Though, happily, Kim bounced back with her next album, 1992's Love Is, a strong collection of tracks which yielded a few UK hits).

Nevertheless, Can't Get Enough (Of Your Love) is a real pop belter; great melody, fun lyrics and terrific production. And it's almost criminal that the track isn't more widely known.

So, give it a play below. You'll thank me, I promise you...

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