Even though In the name of..., Hazell Dean's brand new album made of new recordings, is not one more greatest hits collection of originals or re-recorded versions of her past hits, isn't the album I had dreamed of, I want to make a place for it on my blog with a full review, in hope that maybe it'll help sell some more copies and make a market for a further one more, made of original songs, this time.
'Cos this is where In the name of... comes to its limits, it is not really an album of new material as it is only made of cover versions, most of them which were not sung by Hazell Dean previously, but nonetheless, I would have preferred new songs to cherish instead of cover versions... I have purchased the doubleCD physical version from her label's site www.energiserecords.com and am happy with it because, as it displays on first CD the original recordings made by Hazell Dean with Pete Ware and on second CD 10 brilliant remixes by PWL fan Matt Pop, it allows me to create my own "digital" version of the versions I like most, whereas the commercial digital edition mixes versions from both CD and eludes some. Fact is I can't get enough of Matt Pop's midas touch on anything he lend his mixing hands and all ten tracks have found their place in my iPod version of the album !
Some songs covered here ain't that bad and the first of them, Shirley Bassey's 1978 This is my life is one I really liked. Not that I knew the original but Christer Björkman's very disco/camp version of 2002 in duet with Shirley Clamp is a guilty pleasure of mine and Hazell's very own version, in full 5'50 glory recorded with Pete Ware, either remixed by Matt Pop, but bettered by the Almighty remix team, is a nice fresh take-over for me to listen to this bright sunny summer. Pete Martine and his SleazeSisters duo has remixed it too on the single release and it's clubby with a harder edge but I still like it a lot. More remixes could have fitted on this 2CD edition and would have be welcomed if you asked me... :)
Next choice of cover is The Jacksons' 1980 Can you feel it? and the thumping 5'30 original version makes it sound updated, clubby and stilltrue to the original. Miss Dean's vocals don't disappoint and the uplifting energy of the song really works, mixed with sounds of crowd and applause. The Matt Pop remix shortens the track and changes the atmosphere, keeping with the original bass (the one that's been used in Steps' Tragedy hit) but taking away the funky/disco elements to leave it only in the dance/pop territory. The version is more straight-forward and could easily be released as a single.
Next is previous single, Shattered glass, made famous by Laura Branigan with original Stock/Aitken/Waterman production in 1987 and this Ware/Dean album version clocking at 6'29 is a little too much for me... The Matt Pop version at 3'35 is heavenly made and pays hommage to the original S/A/W stamp, leaving space for Hazell's powerful vocals, but surrounding it with magnificient galoping synthés. On the single release, I liked Yisraelee 87 retro remix too, which was even more PWL sounding than Matt's. The inclusion of Shattered glass here looks like a step to gain Hazell Dean's & PWL addicts fans as it was only a #82 UK charts single but a real S/A/W gemm that every Hit Factory forum member must cherish, and Hazell writes in the notes she wasn't even convinced at first by covering it... ;).
Never can say goodbye is next and this time it is a real intemporal hit that everyone knows, in its 1975 Gloria Gaynor or 1987 Communards version, and these weren't even the original... Once more the original Ware/Dean recording is an extended version that comes to bore me a little (I'll always be a radio edit fanatic!) but the Matt Pop remix, which shortens it a little, adds strange bip-bip sounds that appeal to me less this time. I shouldn't be te only one to have felt left aside by this version, the original extended being the one put in the digital tracklisting. I'd love to have a Ware/Dean edit version on a further single release... :)
Next track is previous single In the name of love, the 1982 Sharon Redd classic that gives it name to the album, and the full length album version clocks at 5'27 while the Matt Pop remix is more radio-friendly at 4'17 and adds some extra beats and energy.
Follows on CD1 is the KlubKidz 2011 remake of Hazell Dean's 1985 originally S/A/W produced They say it's gonna rain, which only updates the standard Zulu mix while on the single released by Energize, the Glamma remix was more creative, but destructive too.
Next is Jennifer Holliday's 1985 No frills love, a song Hazell writes in the sleeves notes she has always wanted to sing. Her version doesn't make me forget Jennifer's remix version of 1996 produced by Love To Infinity, but it was a hard job in my book to top this remix duo :). For once, Ware/Dean's original wasn't too long (4'30) but it is Matt Pop's remix that fits in the digital tracklisting of the album. I like both versions though.
Close to perfection is another 1985 hi-NRG classic, sung by Miquel Brown, and written by Hazell's long-time collaborator Ian Levine with Fiachra Trench. It is not one classic I rreally know and her take-over nor Matt Pop's remix make it find its place in my heart. I simply don't feel the magic within. The 5'05 CD1 version is a little more hard-edged than the glittery 4'38 CD2 one but both sound like average album filler.
But I believe in dreams which follows is not ! I know this song more from the Almighty produced Jackie Rawe version from 1997 than its 1985 original and Ware/Dean's full length version follows that path. It is their version that is included on digital "best of" edition while the Matt Pop remix is collector edition-only. Once again, I'd like to see a Ware/Dean radio edit surface one day soon as it is the version I'd like best.
Another 1985 Hi-NRG unkown (for me) classic follows and I don't get who's the original singer of Let the night take the blame ? The 501's feat. Desiree 'Princess' Haslop on vocals, Earlene Bentley or Lorraine McKane... It seems it was quite a hit... I must admit the Ware/Dean 6'47 does nothing to me but the 4'57 Matt Pop remix make sit sparkle a little bit more in my ears.
1984 Pat Benatar's We belong is a lot more rockier than what's been previously covered here but the 6'20 Ware/Dean version gives it a nearly salsa/latino rhythm. I didn't know this other song either but discover an addictive chorus, but the Matt Pop -very PWL inspired- remix is the one that gained my heart -and its place in the digital tracklisting, which surely means is the best too for Energize-.
The end of CD is coming soon and it is time to be treated with two new KlubKidz productions/remixes. First comes their full length (6'57) remake of Hazell's cover of Love pains, originally produced by Phil Harding & Ian Curnow in 1989 and #48 in the UK Charts. The vocals and overall sound of the recording leave me in doubt ; it sounds like a raw recording of a live performance or an unmastered one... One track I prefer to skip on as it doesn't better the original PWL production at all !
Next is their remake of Hazell's 2007 collaboration with Ian Levine & Clive Scott that was featured on his Disco 2008 compilation for Centre City label. This time, it offers Trade him for a newer model a nice makeover, taking it away from its disco/Hi-NRG roots and into a clubbier dance/pop vision. It gives this Hazell Dean co-written unknown jewel a second chance too.
And it is already time to close the album with the Almighty piano edit of This is my life on CD1 of the physical version when the digital one adds some more Matt Pop remixes.
So what's to say ? As you've seen, it is not a bad album and I like nearly all songs covered here but it is just that I would have loved to see more originals featured on this new album. It is not as if Miss Dean was releasing one every two year... And she knows how to write a good pop song, her previous work with Ian Levine in the 90's proves she can handle some hit into the charts, so why not for her ? Energize people, do you hear me ? ;) Next time, OK!
Last thing but least... What were you thinking when you gave it a go to that AWFUL photograph as album artwork !!? It looks like it's been made in 5 seconds in front of a white bloody bathroom door... Come on, didn't Hazell deserve a better designed look than that for this long-awaited album !