That great musician, Louis Armstrong (‘Satchmo’ to his friends and Michael Parkinson) once famously said ‘There is two kinds of music, the good, and the bad.’
I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, particularly when considered alongside the concept of ‘guilty pleasures’ and have been inclined to reject the idea of the ‘guilty pleasure’. It may be musically embarrassing, but if it’s good, then it’s good. I was also drawn towards this conclusion when I recently audited my collection and found that 46.8% could be categorised as embarrassing.
With all of this in mind, we move on to an album that could only be described by a Mental Health professional (not for the minutes of course) as ‘absolutely barking’, ‘The Gods of Earth and Heaven’ by Army of Lovers.
Army of Lovers were (and still are) a Swedish group fond of overdressing, religious imagery and stomping dance beats. A foursome for this album, the boys sport extravagant shirts, make-up and beauty spots, the girls (and there is a lingerie designer and manicure supplier credited!) can only be described, in North-East vernacular, as being in serious danger of their ‘puddings boiling over’.
No strangers to causing offence, their biggest hit single before this album had been the massive European (although inexplicably not UK) hit ‘Crucified’.
Most of the best tracks here feature on side 1, ‘I am’ opens with the line ‘I am a Liberace fan’ and proceeds in that same understated vein, ‘Israelism’ apparently caused such offence that it was banned in some countries, although at it’s most offensive it’s really no more than slightly irreverent. The wonderfully titled (and wonderful) ‘Carry my urn to Ukraine’ ensures that the first side finishes on a high.
Side 2 struggles to keep up the pace, as you might expect, but if you’re a fan of domestic items being used as musical instruments you might want to try ‘Sons of Lucy’ as this features a waste-paper basket, syrup bottle, food processor and pots & pans. Side 2 also features, as seems to obligatory for an album of this kind what sounds uncannily like an orgasm (although it may be someone in the later stages of running a marathon) set to music, and also the much more thoughtful (only joking!) stomper ‘Blood in the Chapel’
Great fun was had by all – Louis would have loved it.
Boney M’s classic ‘Love for sale’ coming up in a few days.
Label – Stockholm Records
Year - 1993