Kim Wilde: 80's pop idol's comeback

Date
Published in
Die Zeit (Germany)
Written by
Markus Peters

"Never say never" is the title of Kim Wilde's tenth studio album, to be released this Friday. It's an apt title, because the 45-year old had in fact stopped the pop business years ago.

Kim Wilde sniffs and coughs: "I just came from a holiday and now I've got a cold", she comments during her interview round in Cologne. But she doesn't back out, because 25 years after her world hit "Kids in America" Kim Wilde wants to do it one more time. "I thought, nothing comes from these comeback things anyway", says the musician, who already sold 30 million discs during her music career. During the last five years, the married woman and mother of two has renewed her interest in music.

She was never very far away from music, being the most commercially successful female solo singer in the 80's. Even today her songs are being played on the radio, while her last album was released ten years ago.

Only in 2002 Kim Wilde was talked into recording a new single, a coverversion of the Steppenwolf classic "Born to be wild" for an English racing car programme. "I hate the song, so I was surprised to hear that the result was so good", she wonders. The turning point came a year later, when she cooperated with Nena during her spectacular comeback three years ago. "Anywhere, Anyplace, Anytime" reaches third place in the German singles chart and number 1 in Holland and Austria.

Kim Wilde also met Nena-producer and "Popstar"-juror Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen, who also produces "Never say never". He also takes on Kim's brother Ricky, who wrote most of his sister's hits. Next to eight completely new titles are six new recordings of the biggest Kim Wilde successes on the album. "I left picking out these songs to Uwe, as I was too emotionally attached to all of my songs", Kim says.

An obvious choice was of course her first hit "Kids in America". And surely with this song the singer has the biggest difficulty: "Really, can one sing 'Kids in America' when they're 45?"

The solution was the 27-year old musician Charlotte Hatherley: "She had a song called 'Kim Wilde' in her repertoire. My children think it's funny and I like her music because it's not easily accessible." As Kim found out, Hatherley also played 'Kids in America' live during her concerts, so she was a good duet partner.

For the new recordings of the other Wilde classics like "You Came", "Four letter word" or "View from a bridge" Fahrenkrog-Petersen has consequently utilised the 80's synthesizer bombast and guitar riffs, making the songs sound fresh and airy. "It's beautiful to hear, how Uwe has used the potential of these pieces", Kim enthuses. In the new version of "You keep me hangin' on", for a long time Kim's only number one hit in the USA, Nena is the guest singer, supporting Kim during her own comeback.

Also the eight new pieces have the special Kim Wilde touch, accessible and pleasant pop, sometimes as a ballad, and sometimes as uptempo piece. The songs all have Kim Wilde's typical voice.