ALBUM TITLE                        :        TENSE NERVOUS AND HEADACHE

ARTIST                             :        BOY GEORGE

GENRE                              :        POP

DATE RELEASED                   :        1988


His prior album to this which is SOLD, received mixed reviews and minimal commercial success and thanks to “Everything I Own,” the album would have gone to the path of the unknown.  With that, handlers of Boy George probably thought that they can at least replicate the minor success of that album with TENSE NERVOUS AND HEADACHE.  Here is track by track review of this 1988 album from the former lead vocal of Culture Club.

  • Happy Family – a good choice as an opening song for the album. Somehow it would make you believe that this track will set the tempo for the whole album.

Watch “Happy Family” video here

  • Don’t Cry – since the first song has a retro vibe, it follows that the next song should have the same feel as well. However, this track indicates the limitation the whole album has.  After listening to this song, listener would get the idea that Boy George was trying to reclaim lost glory achieved during “Karma Chameleon” days.

Watch “Don’t Cry” video here

  • You Are My Heroin – there is a big shift in this track. While it still has the retro vibe, the infusion of heavy bass and house rap at the intro, manage to make the song quite different from what he offered before. It is like listening to a new Pharrel Williams song given if this song is released at this time.
  • I Go Where I Go – the most dated song in this record, had this song been excluded from the list, the whole album might sound like a 90’s record instead of early eighties one.
  • Girl With Combination Skin – given the title and the musical structure of this song, it is quite surprising that this song did not manage to make it in any other ambient music anthology. The samba like feel of this track makes it one of the most easy listening pleasure from Boy George after “It’s A Miracle.”

Listen to :”Girl With Combination Skin” here

  • Whisper – this has song meditative lyrics but somehow Boy George sung this one as if it is a song of yearning.
  • Something Strange Called Love – the album started to regress with “Whisper” and it went downhill in this song. It is like an R and B track from Jodeci or BoysIIMen thus, the song is quite strange for Boy George.
  • I Love You – somehow he recovered with this song. It sounds like “True Blue” by Madonna and “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” from Tears to Fears. The problem is that the lyrics are quite trite.

Listen to “I Love You” here

  • Kipsy – because he had huge success with the reggae influenced remake of Bread’s “Everything I Own” it was expected that he would have the same type of song in this album, and this is it. Somehow the song ended up like a typical reggae song instead of a pop song with reggae vibe.
  • Mama Never Knew – a Boy George album is not complete without emotional ballad in the tradition of “To Be Reborn.” Time,” and “Do You Really Want To Hurt.” However, the song lacks enough passion to make listeners remember moments with their mothers.  Probably, it was the female background vocals that destroyed the song.

Listen to audio verison of “Mama Never Knew” here

  • What Becomes of The Broken Hearted – this probably one of the best remake of this song. The musical arrangement is like that of any song intended to be performed by Barry White.
  • American Boyz – the drum program at the beginning of the song will make listeners thought of another 80’s; “Wishful Thinking” from China Crisis. Like that song, this is good to listen if only it has more interesting lyrics or tackled a different theme befitting the musical arrangement.

Listen and sing along with “American Boyz” here

With that I rate this record 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Ratings Description:

1 star = Ignore it

2 stars= risk it

3 stars = borrow or buy it

4 stars = buy it and keep it

5 = buy, keep, and treasure it


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