Marc Almond

Child Star [UK #1]

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The splashiest of splashy ballads from Almond, "Child Star" combines soaring strings in full '60s pop orchestration style with gentle lead piano, an ever building arrangement and a fantastic, dramatic pause before one last surge of the music. That the song is about the collapse of the titular figure and the endless pressure from the next star now up and coming somehow just makes it all the more perfectly Almond as a result. "The Edge of Heartbreak," which also surfaced on Fantastic Star, lets Almond slip in a fun Buddy Holly imitation while Neal X adds to the retro atmosphere with shimmering, echoed guitar. The strings and '60s pop moves run rampant here as well, a delicious fusion of multiple styles. The remaining two songs have their treats: "Christmas in Vegas," besides being a perfect Almond song title, cleverly makes shuffling cards the key rhythm of the sparkling piece, while "My Guardian Angel" amps up the heartfelt '60s pop drama one more time.

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