Kissing to Be Clever is the album that put Culture Club on the musical map. Incorporating pop, rock, dance, new wave, soul, and Caribbean rhythms (an amalgamation of "cultures"), the result was a soulful, progressive pop outing that scored several landmark international hits and made a star out of the band's outrageous frontman, Boy George. A couple of tracks were European dance hits, but the first "official" single, "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me," was a simple masterpiece, resonating with an ache that harked back to the classic torch songs of yesteryear. Most of the other songs were quite different, with energetic beats and sometimes silly, campy themes ("Boy Boy I'm the Boy," "White Boys Can't Control It," and "White Boy"). The album scored two other major hits, the zippy and bouncy "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" and the gorgeous "Time (Clock of the Heart)." However, beware that "Time" is only on certain pressings of the album. When the album was issued on CD, and once the Epic label dissolved, the formerly colorful album cover had turned to black and white, and "Time" had been omitted, which is pretty ridiculous, considering the song was a huge number two hit, and the album was then left with only nine tracks. Still, this set is a highlight of 1980s music, and set the stage for one of the decade's most loved and oft-remembered bands.
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AllMusic Review by Jose F. Promis