Thursday, March 28, 2019

"Vanity Kills" by ABC

Song#:  2721
Date:  05/17/1986
Debut:  92
Peak:  91
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Pop, Dance-Pop, Synthpop

Pop Bits:  After experiencing a bit of a sophomore slump with their second album Beauty Stab, ABC made a comeback with their third effort How to Be a...Zillionaire! It contained their first US Top 10 hit, "Be Near Me" (#9). The LP's second single, "(How to Be A) Millionaire," also did fairly well making it to #20. The band hoped the hit streak would continue with this third single and indeed it did well at clubs and reached #5 on the Dance chart. Unfortunately, the song couldn't get anywhere on the Pop chart and after a month near the bottom, it disappeared. A fourth single, "Ocean Blue," would be released but it failed to reach any US chart. While it would miss the gold mark, the album did well reaching #30.

ReduxReview:  This was another good track from the band and one that I thought might have gotten into the Top 40. It worked fine at Dance, but for some reason it just couldn't gain an audience at Pop. While not in the same league as some of their best hits, it was still a fine song and a valid choice for a single.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  There were two very different videos shot for this song. For the UK market, the four members perform the song in front of a black background while various edits and techniques, such as stop-action, are used to manipulate the images. For the US market, the video was more elaborate and played more like a film. Unlike the UK version which featured all four band members at the time (Martin Fry and Mark White were the main members while Eden and David Yarritu had marginal roles), the US version just had Fry and White involved. The duo played a couple of detectives (or possibly thieves) who spy on various characters. The pair is also shown performing the song in some kind of Las Vegas-style review. It was directed by Peter Care. It was one of his first music videos and he would go on to do many others including ones for Tina Turner, Bananarama, Belinda Carlisle, Bruce Springsteen, and R.E.M. He also directed R.E.M.'s concert film Road Movie (1996). Care would direct one feature film, the 2002 coming of age comedy-drama The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys. The film was well-received and it won Care the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature.


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