The Divinyls

Make You Happy 1981-1993

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AllMusic Review by

Make You Happy 1981-1993 is another excellent best-of compilation of down under rock from Raven Records, the label that was co-founded by walking Oz Rock encyclopedia Glenn A. Baker back in 1980. Despite a couple of holes (no "In My Life" or "Dear Diary"), a pair of weak -- though commercially successful -- covers ("Wild Thing," "Love Is the Drug"), and nothing from the band's 1996 disc, Underworld, Make You Happy still captures the essence of pretty much everything the Divinyls were: immensely talented, exciting, capricious, sexy, and naturally rebellious. The band's first four full-length albums are well represented: Desperate (1983), What a Life! (1985), Temperamental (1988), and diVINYLS (1991). It's a shame that the Ds' recording history was so sporadic, largely a function of the revolving-door lineup and, more directly, the volatile personalities of the two core members, inventive guitarist Mark McEntee and raunch-girl supreme Christina Amphlett. But the friction caused by the constant clashes between the two was also the catalyst for the Divinyls' music, and that atomic energy comes through on Make You Happy. The song that first drew attention to the band, the raucous and saucy hit "Boys in Town" (which was featured in the 1982 Australian film Monkey Grip), opens the disc and lights the fuse. When Amphlett -- a feral femme fatale if ever there was one -- sings "I am just a red brassiere to all the boys in town," it's part snub and part tease, which was pretty much her stock in trade. And she has just the right voice to pull it off -- one of the most unique female voices rock has known, in fact. Sometimes silken, often abrasive, with the occasional yodel notes and ear-catching inflections, it was a creature unto itself. Also here are a live version of "Only Lonely," the very-'80s pop of "Science Fiction" (think Missing Persons), the balls-out rocker "Siren (Never Let You Go)," a meaty cover of the Easybeats' "I'll Make You Happy," the inadvertently ironic "Pleasure and Pain," and the quasi-pretty "Sleeping Beauty." The band's most widely known song, the lascivious headline-grabber "I Touch Myself," is another highlight. And many fans will appreciate the inclusion of "Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart" from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer soundtrack. Make You Happy does justice to the Divinyls' range -- they rarely put out a pair of songs that sounded alike -- emphasizing both the depth of their creativity and their unflinching determination to go their own way, consequences and record labels be damned. A fine encapsulation of a very important Australian band.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:49
2 3:12
3 3:24
4 3:32
5 2:28
6 3:21
7 3:10
8 3:55
9 3:36
10 3:40
11 3:01
12 4:30
13 4:29
14 3:46
15 5:23
16 4:12
17 4:08
18 4:30
19 4:32
20 4:43
blue highlight denotes track pick