Kim Wilde - Never say Never

Date
Published in
Frankfurter Neue Presse (Germany)
Written by
Martin Schlögl

Is the title a coincidence? "Never say never" is the title of the new album of the British pop ion Kim Wilde, her first in ten years. The same name that the film, in which Sean Connery came back to his role as James Bond in the eighties.

And just like the film, which was a new version of a bond adventure, that was first released in the sixties, the new album by Kim Wilde is richly filled with new recordings of old hits from her most successful time, the eighties.

They could have spared us these new recordings. The new versions of "Cambodia", "You came", "View from a bridge", "You keep me hangin' on" and of course "Kids in America" can't hold a candle against the original ones.

How can they? It's always difficult, to make a tasteful version of songs you were satisfied with the first time around. Something always disturbs. Sometimes it is the slightly changed tempo, like in "You keep me hangin' on", the nervous guitars in "Kids in America" or the total carcrash that is "Cambodia", which, as a remix for the dance floors, is the only piece on the album that isn't produced like all the other tracks on the album. If the songs were just re-recorded to introduce young people to Kim Wilde, then the setup has failed. Because the only chance to hold a pop career over more than two decades on a high level of success consists of reinventing yourself as Madonna has done every few years. Kim Wilde did not do this however.

Also the nine new tracks sound like they were more or less construed to be played every day and night on the radio. The whole production, done by former Nena-keyboardist Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen, sounds very sterile, without corners or sides. From beginning to end one hears the same sound. The differences are made only by tempo and melody from time to time.

While "I fly" and "Game over" are speedy pop pieces, "Baby obey me" has almost a reggae rhythm. "Perfect girl", on the other hand, sounds like a derivate of "I fly". "Lost without you" is filled with melodrama, which looks likely to be a single sooner or later.

"Maybe I'm crazy" is hard to describe. Of course it is pop, not too fast, not too slow, no special sounds, just the typical keyboard sequences that have already been heard twelve tracks before. A classic song, made like a selfbuild closet.
Kim's voice still sounds like twenty years ago, that hasn't changed - maybe because of studio techniques.

There are undoubtedly enough (old) fans, who have just waited for an album like this from Kim Wilde. Whether new, young listeners may be found with this album is the question. On "Never say never" Kim Wilde sells herself short.