Dead or Alive were an English pop band, formed in 1980 in Liverpool. The band found success in the 1980s and had seven Top 40 UK singles and three Top 30 UK albums. They were the first band to have a number one single under the production team of Stock Aitken Waterman. Dead or Alive, which at the peak of success featured a lineup consisting of Pete Burns (vocals), Mike Percy (bass), Steve Coy (drums) and Tim Lever (keyboards), have released seven studio albums and five compilation albums, and became popular in Japan.
Two of the band’s singles reached the U.S. Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100; “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” No. 11 in 1985, and “Brand New Lover” No. 15 in 1986. “You Spin Me Round” peaked at number one in 1985 in the UK, then charted again in 2003 and 2006 following Burns’ controversial appearance on the television reality show Celebrity Big Brother. The latter also became the first of two singles to top the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.
You Spin Me Round [Like A Record]—-Steeped in the synth heavy sound of the 80’s dance floor, the thing most memorable for me about this song is Pete Burns himself. One never would expect the deep baritone and wonderful vibrato that comes from his voice box. This was a worldwide smash….played too often it grates on me now…..but you can never question the incredible power of that voice.
That’s The Way [I Like It]—-Taking an incredible chance at covering this K.C & The Sunshine Band track, the band and Burns hit this out of the ball park. By adding trademark sounds…the synth line, but keeping the integrity of the song intact, it allowed legion of fans to fall in love with this song all over again. Again….that voice is just incredible….and the track moves at a great pace.
Lover Come Back [To Me]—-Almost seeming to borrow a Moroder synth line, the song picks up speed as it goes along. Burns adds real live instruments to his songs…giving every track a much larger sound. The chorus is a huge affair with a melody that will settle in the front of your brain and live there for days on end. Pete delivers line after line of sentiments that we have all wanted to mutter to one who has left…this is classic 80’s synth pop that still plays incredibly well today.
In Too Deep—-A bit slower and steeped in the emerging piano based dance hits of the later 80’s, Burns delivers his idea of a love song I suppose. This has always been a favorite of mine…simply because of the double entendres of the message. This is more mellow…with female backing vocals and a big sound. Classic
My Heart Goes Bang [Get Me To The Doctor]—-Returning to full throttle synth speed, Burns and Co. delivers a wonderful track with a melody line that is fuckin contagious and irresistible. When Burns bellows ‘Get Me To The Dr.’ with that baritone you appreciate his vocal talent as well as his image.I saw him sing this song hanging upside down on the edge of the stage and it was still as powerful and well delivered as it is her on CD. This is fantastic…one of the best Dead Or Alive songs in the vast catalog.
Brand New Lover [Edit]—-Another track that was overplayed….as if it was the only of two songs that deserved airplay. This is much in the same vein as ‘Record’….except I think the melody line is even more contagious. The galloping synth line…pushed to the very backbone of the mix allows the song to travel at an incredible speed. This is exceptional.
Something In My House [7″ Mix]—-With a nice Goth intro, the synth opens up to a static vocal from Burns that moves just as fast as he tap tap tap of the synth line. This song is incredibly fast…but Burns never lags not loses voice throughout the entire thing. There are actual great guitars on this track that shine through…this is fantastic…Burns delivering line after line of tongue in cheek lyrics. Fantastic!
Hooked On Love [La Vie En Rose Mix]—-With a fuller sound garnered by guitars and back ground singers, the standout as usual is the deep delivery from Burns. When he enters the chorus, the voice is so strong and rich it just sucks you in. Of course, the jaunty synth line is here…but the real instruments stand out as well…creating a landscape all of its own. This was a talented man that went far beyond image.
I’ll Save You All My Kisses [Remixed]—-The remix version here of this track is so much better than the original on the record. This has a bigger sound and feel…..although the vocal is almost hidden by the big crashing bass beat. The chorus is a quagmire of vocals that takes away from Burns….and that is the weak point of this track…just way too much going on at one time. Still a great song.
Turn Around And Count 2 Ten—-You know from the onset that this is a later recording from the band. The synth is still present but the sound is more musical and updated…without the huge galloping synth line not appearing until the chorus. This is a very tongue in cheek song that allows me a grin or two…but again…the melody line is just so contagious. Remarkable.
Come Home With Me Baby—-With a nice high synth line and crashes around your head, the style of the song is predictable but has a surprising Erasure style synth piano line that creates the backdrop of the song. Burns is overtly sexual [surprise] but the meaning of the song could go anywhere….depending on your state of mind. This is jaunty and fun….dance ready but not as fast as the earlier 80’s tracks.And an actual guitar solo!!!!
Misty Circles [7″ Version]—-I’m not sure about anyone else, but my actual 45 of You Spin Mr Round has this song as the flip side…how great is that? This has a very dark and goth feel to it….allowing Burns his deep vocal to really shine through. He can sing like you can’t believe…..this is vibrato at it’s finest….with a dark and eerie feel to it.
What I Want [Original 7″ Version]—-This is a song I am not to familiar with…the synth line reminding me of New Order. The pace of the song is brilliant…travelling along fast as light. The vocal is way to the back of the mix….and even the gang style chorus seems removed from the music…still a pretty fantastic song.
I’d Do Anything—-Right from the opening strains of this track, it never gelled with me too well. This takes away from the hook heavy tracks Burns was always capable of and infused all of these other voices that were not needed….ugh!
Lover Come Back To Me [Extended Mix]—-This is obviously built for DJ’s from the ground up…the intro slow to emerge with lots of breaks that allow for flow back and forth between versions. The song really kicks in and becomes itself after the first minute or so…but the vocal delivery is more airy and full of echoes and bass heavy beats. This is a huge mix…I love this version….really great.
My Heart Goes Bang [American ‘Wipe Out’ Mix]—-This is huge…..the bombastic bass beat almost blows the top of my head off at the onset. The synth lines that define the melody sweep under the bass beat though and the guitar plays over the top of it all making this entire thing a grand affair. This is superb…so much larger and more defined than the original. But you never lose that great vocal despite everything going on.
Something In My House [Mortevicar Mix]—-Jaunty and with more effects than the original, the voice is pushed to the back of the dance ready beats a bit….so many special effects going on at the same time. But the pace of the remix is still the same…travelling fast and never losing energy. The remixed synth is so friendly…I am in love all over again. This is a must have if you are a fan.
You Spin Me Round [Like A Record] [Murder Mix]—-Clocking in at 8 minutes, this just might be too much of a good thing…..this mix does not offer much new in the vein of a song that has been remixed hundreds of times…just more instrumental elements and effects that get old after the first few minutes. A nice 12″ though.
**** out of 5