Review – Love Blonde: The RAK Years

Best known as a singles artist, it’s high time Kim Wilde’s albums were afforded some exposure, even if this 4CD set does reveal a severe case of diminishing returns.

Wilde’s self-titled debut is still an energetic delight, though. Taking its cue from the New Wave of Blondie, it sticks close to the Kids in America blueprint. With excursions into Police-style reggae (Everything We Know) and a 2-Tone knees up on 2-6-5-8-0, it’s as good a time capsure of 1981 as classic albums Dare or Prince Charming.

Team Wilde – at this stage brother Ricky and dad Marty wrote and produced Kim’s material – couldn’t keep up the standard. 1982’s Select inserted synths at the expense of guitars, but suffers from filler. And the less said about the following yea’r’s dreary Catch As Catch Can the better. Of greater interest are the extras included here, which include an array of fine B-sides.

For fans, the accompanying remix album will be the major selling point, with most of the mixes brand new. Wisely, they keep the songs intact, though Love Blonde has been reinvented as a Hi-NRG workout and Luke Mornay’s Dancing in the Dark sounds like the Daft Punk-meets-Kim Wilde team-up of your dreams.

Classic Pop, March/April 2024