Released today in 1985: Life In One Day

WEA HOW8

WEA HOW8

Dream Into Action (WEA WX15, 15 March 1985) was the second Howard Jones album. (Third if you count the collection of extended mixes, The 12” Album.) Smash Hits gave it 7 out of 10: “Howard certainly covers a lot of ground here. With barely a pause he shoots between the synthpop of Automaton and the piano balladry of No One Is To Blame; the annoying rumba of Life In One Day and the slightly pompous Hunger For The Flesh. And he still finds space for the usual considered and sincere lyrics, most notable on Assault and Battery (which echoes Morrissey’s Meat Is Murder stance). But overall Howard seems in such as hurry here to cover all his options that he never really shines. The best moment comes when he allows himself to be a bit more indulgent on the Japan-like melancholy of Elegy.”

Elegy did work well, and one suspects that Jones would have liked to have a recorded a whole album of similar-sounding songs, being thoughtful singer-songwriter he was. But I beg to differ with the Smash Hits reviewer: the best moments on the album are undoubtedly the singles. Jones didn’t put a foot wrong with his singles: an unbroken run of nine Top 20 hits in the UK was testament to that. The anthemic Things Can Only Get Better was the perfect opening number; Look Mama had another one of Jones’s trademark sing-along choruses; No One Is To Blame – already a strong offering – was re-recorded in a superior version for its release as a single; Afrodiziak were put to good use providing backing vocals on Life In One Day. But there was one single missing – in the UK, at least.

Like To Get To Know You Well had been a standalone single here in the summer of 1984, and the extended version of the song had subsequently been included on the The 12” Album album (WEA WX14, 30 November 1984). It was therefore left off Dream Into Action, where that album’s 12 tracks included the expendable Speciality (which sounded like a demo, the chorus of which had been refashioned into Things Can Only Get Better) and Why Look For The Key. In the US, where the album was released on the Monday following the UK edition’s appearance, both these songs were removed from the track listing and replaced by Like To Get To Know You Well and its B-side, the white-boy rap Bounce Right Back. With some small amendments to the running order of the remaining tracks, the American version was the superior edition of the album.

NEW SINGLES on sale from Jun. 17
1983
HEAVEN 17 Come Live With Me (Virgin VS607)
1985
DEAD OR ALIVE (Pete Burns) In Too Deep (Epic A6360)
Howard JONES Life In One Day (WEA HOW8)
TOYAH Soul Passing Through Soul (Portrait A6359)

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