Nostalgia is a curious, but also sometimes confusing, thing.
1984 was the year that I as a fifteen year old started getting interested in popular music, and - along with songs by Duran Duran, Nik Kershaw, Pseudo Echo, Cyndi Lauper and suchlike - were four songs by Spandau Ballet on the radio here in Brisbane: "Only When You Leave", "Highly Strung", "I'll Fly for You", and "Round and Round".
I don't think I'd ever heard "Gold" or "True" at that stage, so those four tracks were all I really knew about Spandau Ballet, and none of them encouraged me to go and buy Parade
, and "Only When You Leave" - the biggest of the four singles - I found particularly dull.
Fast-forward many years, and I've collected Spandau Ballet's albums from second-hand music shops, and - upon listening to this piece of vinyl now - I get a wave of fond nostalgia for that time of my life. Now I do like those songs, "Only When You Leave" in particular. Is it just
because they take me back to 1984, or also because the songs are actually better than I thought they were at the time?
picks up from where True
finished, and is again performed in more of a soulful style than on the band's first two releases, with dollops of saxophone and funky guitar, while Tony Hadley's vocals are once more rich and glorious.
As for the other four songs, they're pretty much similar to the singles, which does reveal Gary Kemp's limitations when it comes to songwriting, but they also demonstrate that he still knew how to infuse his writing with enough hooks to make some of them work, even if the likes of "Always in the Back of My Mind" and "With the Pride" are quite blatantly copying the guitar riff in "Only When You Leave".
Spandau Ballet or Duran Duran? That's hardy a challenging question, but what is more difficult for me to answer is why I like Parade
as much as I do. Nostalgia or quality? I think it's a bit of both, but probably more of the former. Rated:
by Reviewer: The Doctor