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Culture Club: Kissing to Be Clever

Album Reviews:

CMJ (1/5/04, p.12) - Ranked #2 in CMJ's "Top 20 Most-Played Albums of 1983".

Album Notes

Culture Club: Boy George (vocals); Roy Hay (guitar, electric sitar, piano, keyboards); Michael Craig (bass); Jon Moss (drums, percussion).

Additional personnel: Helen Terry (vocals); Captain Crucial (spoken vocals); Nick Payne (flute, harmonica, saxophone); Terry Bailey (trumpet); Phil Pickett (keyboards, background vocals); Denise Spooner, Colin Campsie (background vocals).

It can be hard to remember with memories of drug busts and increasingly wacky outfits clouding the issue, but the reason Culture Club became as huge as they did was that their debut album, 1982's KISSING TO BE CLEVER, is an unabashedly commercial and often brilliant amalgam of American R&B and British chart pop. Remember, "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" was a UK hit before anyone even knew who Boy George was, and for good reason. Even though nothing on the album matches that transcendent single, the pop-reggae-soul-dance grooves are always entertaining and often, as on "I'm Afraid Of Me" and the spooky "White Boys Can't Control It," simply excellent.

American fans should be aware that this CD contains the original UK edition of the album, which doesn't include the hit single "Time (Clock of the Heart)" and has a somewhat less satisfying running order.


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