Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Send Me an Angel by Real Life

I mentioned briefly not long ago that Real Life had also done a cover album recently with a bunch of 80s tracks.  I looked up what I had blogged before from Real Life, and realized that I'd only ever done one of their tracks, and it isn't the one everybody knows.  I know, I know... sometimes I like to avoid the obvious and do something different, but missing "Send Me An Angel" seemed somehow wrong, so I've added it to the list.  To be just a little bit different in a minor way, I've added the 2009 version, which was re-recorded for this compilation.

Real Life seldom had much of a break (other than this song, actually)--they're a talented, albeit seriously 80s outfit, who had done a bunch of work long before they had a major hit.  In fact, they released "Send Me An Angel" as far back as 1983, although it made little impression that far ago, and in the US at least, it was hard to even find much of their material.  Wikipedia will tell you that Heartland at least was readily available, but I never really had much luck tracking them down until Best of Real Life: Send Me An Angel came out in 1989.  Heck, I couldn't even find anyone who could accurately tell me who sang "Catch Me I'm Falling" for years.

"Send Me An Angel" got picked up for some movie soundtracks in the 80s, though, and due to that, the band made a bit of a come-back.  I picked up their greatest hits compilation in 1989, and their Not Quite Greatest compilation Let's Fall in Love as well, and shortly after, Lifetime which had a few minor Billboard Dance chart hits, like "God Tonight" and "Kiss the Ground."

About this time, I put two and two together and realized that a song that I remembered liking years ago ("Catch Me I'm Falling") was actually by them and not A-ha, and I became a fan.  But I never saw their original releases available anywhere in any format.

After the synthpop crash of the early 90s, they continued on, becoming briefly more industrial sounding on Happy.  I never even got Imperfection, so I can't tell you much about it but both it and a remix version are available on Spotify.

I did pick up their cover album, however, where they also covered themselves and re-recorded "Send Me An Angel" one more time.  It's a good version, although it's not really too noticeably different from the 1989 version.  It's hard for me to say that I prefer one to the other.

As I said earlier on the Parralox cover album, it's interesting to see who a band decides to cover and why.  In this case, Real Life specifically limited their offerings to 80s "synth essentials"--per the subtitle of the album.  Anyway, the tracklist is as follows:

  1. "Send Me An Angel" 2009 version - originally recorded by Real Life
  2. "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" - originally recorded by The Eurythmics
  3. "Cars" - originally recorded by Gary Numan
  4. "Fade to Grey" - originally recorded by Visage
  5. "Everything Counts" - originally recorded by Depeche Mode
  6. "Blue Monday" - originally recorded by New Order
  7. "Primary" - originally recorded by The Cure
  8. "Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime" - originally recorded by The Korgis
  9. "Shout" - originally recorded by Tears For Fears
  10. "Nowhere Girl" - originally recorded by B-Movie
  11. "I Melt With You" - originally recorded by Modern English
  12. "Tainted Love" - originally recorded by Soft Cell
  13. "The Model" - originally recorded by Kraftwerk
  14. "Send Me An Angel" 1983 remix
  15. "Send Me An Angel" 12" remix
The last two tracks are no doubt tacked on just because they can be; they have a primitive feel to them, and I do not prefer them to either the 1989 or the 2009 versions.

You'll also notice based on the tracklist that several of those original artists aren't necessarily "synth" artists, meaning that calling this collection "synth essentials" is a little bit odd.  Certainly the new versions by Real Life are synth driven.  There's a few Easter eggs in their two; the noise that opens "Cars" is actually the noise that opens their earlier song "Girl Jesus" but it sounds close enough to the Gary Numan version that I can see why they used it as a bit of an in-joke.

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