Dusty Springfield


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In 1990, after almost a decade's absence from the new-release lists and an even longer time away from the charts, Dusty Springfield re-emerged with Reputation. A partial collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys, it proved to be her most satisfying record in 15 years and sold better than anything that she'd released since the '60s. The late-'80s synth pop sound melded perfectly with Springfield's still very expressive, powerful, and soulful singing -- Dan Hartman handled the producing chores on four of the cuts, Andy Richards on one, and the album has a unified sound, at once airy and dense, soaring and deep. The best cuts, however, are the five produced (and, in all but one case, written) by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys. Much as Robert Fripp may have been put on this earth first and foremost to produce the Roches, Tennant and Lowe's collaborations with Springfield are as satisfying and unified and whole as she ever achieved working with Jerry Wexler, Thom Bell, and Roland Chambers 20 years earlier. She seems to reach that much higher and also that much deeper inside of herself on "In Private" and "Daydreaming" to much subtler effect; those cuts are very much of a piece with her best work on the Dusty in Memphis, A Brand New Me, and Cameo albums, just later links in the same chain, and their effect is to leave the listener breathless and delighted with their sheer beauty as recordings, as well with as her performance.

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