If Ronald Reagan’s biographer can fictitiously insert himself into key moments of the Gipper’s life, then surely we can do the opposite. So let’s pretend we weren’t around during the Eurythmics’ ’80s reign as synth-pop superstars, and that we’ve never heard ”Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” or ”Here Comes the Rain Again.” It’s only fair.
There’s not a cheesy synth gurgle to be found on Peace, Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox’s first album together since 1989. If you knew nothing about the Eurythmics’ history, ”Peace” wouldn’t give you any hints. Reunion or no reunion, this is not a band stuck in the past, so let’s not insult them by listening as if they were.
Zap. Memory erased.
Track 1: ”17 Again.” The first single. Sounds a bit like Sarah McLachlan. A simple, pretty tune about being in love, with an ultra-catchy chorus. Nice voice. Very nice voice. Wow, who is this woman? Casually soulful, her smooth singing glides and swoops and soars but doesn’t poke at you for attention.
Check out ”Forever,” an orchestral, ’60s-inspired pop ballad; the vocals, again, cut right through. Or ”Peace Is Just a Word,” which builds from breathy to brassy, maintaining a sense of intimacy even as the music grows overwrought.
Which is the one problem with ”Peace.” Musically, the album is all over the place: delicate pop, guitar-fueled rock, waves of backing vocals, even horns and strings. These dreamy, sophisticated songs – and that voice – are frequently ill-served by the clutter. Hmm… could it be time for the singer to consider a solo career?