Kim Wilde – Never say Never

Producer and ex-Nena keyboarder Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen had a big responsibility for the successful comeback of his former “boss” Nena. He co-produced her latest double album “Willst du mit mir gehn” and brought unfamiliar electronic sounds in the Nena-kosmos. Now he took new wave icon Kim Wilde under his wings and she releases after eleven years a new studio album. Kim Wilde, now 46 years old, has two children and in the nineties she couldn’t get back the level of success she had in the eighties. She specialised in landscape gardening and presented a TV show on the theme.

After the success of her duet “Anytime, anywhere” in 2003 with her friend Nena she was presented a new contract by EMI. 14 songs, of which six are cover versions of her own songs, shall storm the charts. The first single “You came” was a very big hit in the old days. In the new version the song is refreshed with modern beats, but despite this remains true to the original and will be a surefire chart hit. Nena sings on the classic “You keep me hangin’ on” – and there already the problem of this album becomes clear. One doesn’t recognise the original anymore, Nena’s voice almost drowns in the soundmix, because the electronic beats reign supreme. Also in “Four letter word”, a quiet ballad, which is mercilessly surrendered to the rhythm machine and comes out clinical. One must wonder what the songs have done to mr. Petersen. Kim Wilde’s voice is surrounded by effects, bringing up painful memories of Cher’s vocoder attacks.

The only bright spots are, after “You came”, the new compositions “I fly”, “Lost without you” and “Game over”, that stand out from the electronic remix pool, because here there is some rocking going on and Kim’s voice isn’t treated by all kinds of effects. “I fly” contains a straightforward refrain and rocks finally with some earthy guitars. “Game over” is a good 80’s revival track with a speedy melody line and reminds of the keyboard orgies of that time, but rock instruments are also utilised, influencing the song positively. “Lost without you” sounds very dark and strangely enough here the Gothic Rock clientele from HIM or The Rasmus is served. A strong track, which is not so expected.

That’s already it with the positive realisations, because the classic “Kids in America” cannot save Charlotte Hatherley from the voice effects and electronics. Unfortunately Kim Wilde only reaches the average evaluation,
since up to the works mentioned the quality level of the remaining Songs is due to the mentioned electronics meat wolf by Fahrenkrog Petersen rather under it. There are nevertheless promising beginnings, with which the comeback of the blond singer should become commercially successful, but the producer choice for next time should be considered carefully.