Kim Wilde

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Kim Wilde's sixth album is the first since the commercially viable but artistically weak artistic makeover that began with 1984's Teases and Dares to approach the quality of her first three albums. For the first time in three albums, Wilde sounds as if she's comfortable with the music she's making; that this music is clearly inspired by the chart success of the Stock-Aitken-Waterman production team, then having enormous hits with Bananarama, Kylie Minogue and others, might seems a little calculated, but it must be said: Stock, Aitken & Waterman had huge hits because they made unapologetically catchy, uncomplicated pop singles, and that's never a bad thing. Toning down the Hi-NRG disco sound of her two previous albums, Wilde moves into a dance-pop style that suits both the songs and her voice better. The production is handled by Ricky Wilde and Tony Swain (who had co-produced Bananarama's early records), and although it's still slick, the album isn't nearly as antiseptic as Another Step or Teases and Dares. The singles "You Came" and "Hey Mr. Heartache" are much improved (both were U.K. hits, although the album didn't generate much heat in the U.S.) over Wilde's recent chart efforts, and album tracks like "Four-Letter Word" and "European Soul" sound like the singer's having fun for the first time in a while.

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