Belinda Carlisle

Belinda

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Upon leaving the Go-Go's, Belinda Carlisle felt no compunction in leaving behind the band's energetic new wave. On her own, she dove right into the mainstream with the assistance of producer Michael Lloyd, embracing the big radio-ready sheen of the mid-'80s on her 1986 debut, Belinda. The album's lead single (and album opener), "Mad About You," celebrated this shift and she was rewarded with a huge hit, one that went all the way to number three in the U.S. Behind the gloss, however, lay some elements of the Go-Go's, which shouldn't be surprising, considering how Charlotte Caffey wrote half of the record -- more songs than Carlisle herself. Often, these songs suggest that Caffey and Carlisle were picking up where Talk Show left off, particularly with the infectious Motown bounce of "I Feel the Magic" and the power pop insistence of "Gotta Get to You." These songs, along with the Bangles leftover "I Need a Disguise" (another entry in the wannabe Motown hit parade) and a nicely moody reading of Tim Finn's "Stuff and Nonsense," have aged better than a ham-fisted cover of Freda Payne's "Band of Gold" and the neon synths of "Shot in the Dark," and they're also the reason why Belinda will be the solo Carlisle album that will appeal the most to Go-Go's diehards. [Edsel's 2014 reissue of Belinda contains an expanded CD plus a DVD. The first disc contains a remastered version of the proper album, plus five bonus tracks; three of these are versions of "Band of Gold" featuring Freda Payne, then there's an expanded version of "Mad About You" plus the non-LP "Dancing in the City." The DVD contains videos for "Mad About You" and "I Feel the Magic," then the entirety of a live concert filmed and released on home video in 1986.]

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