Monday, August 10, 2020

"Running in the Family" by Level 42

Song#:  3221
Date:  08/08/1987
Debut:  87
Peak:  83
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Sophisti-Pop, Synthpop

Pop Bits:  The UK band's seventh album, Running in the Family, got off to a fairly good start with the first single, "Lessons in Love," reaching #12 at Pop. The hit helped the album reach #23. Next up for release from the album was this title-track single. The song was unable to break through and dropped off the Pop chart after a brief month-long stay. A follow-up single, "It's Over," didn't reach the Pop chart and was prophetic in a way because the band was never able to chart again in the US. However, they would continue to do well in the UK and other European countries. They would breakup in 1994, but return in 2001 with a new lineup. As of this posting they are still together and touring.

ReduxReview:  This band had (and still has) a loyal following, but from what I understand via someone I know who follows the band is that a good chunk of fans prefer their earlier jazz-funk albums. Once they moved towards a more commercial pop sound with 1986's "Something About You" (#7), early fans were not as impressed. Still, the band continues to have rabid fans. The Running in the Family album was probably their most commercial effort and it paid off for them in Europe and somewhat in the US. "Lessons in Love" was a good song and this follow-up wasn't too bad either. The problem with it was that it just didn't contain a big hook. The keyboard line at the top of the song is probably the most memorable thing about it. Oddly, I believe it is the same melody as the verse, yet the synth stands out more than the vocal. Again, it is not a bad song. It just wasn't a very good single for the US pop listeners who liked their hooks big and catchy.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  While the Running in the Family album did okay in the US (#23), it was a smash hit in Europe reaching the Top 10 in many countries and even spawning four Top 10 hits in the UK and five Top 10s in the Netherlands. After the tour for the album died down, two of the band's original members, brothers Phil and Boon Gould, would leave the band (although Boon would help co-write several tracks for the next album). A new lineup would record the 1988 album Staring at the Sun. While not as big as Running with the Family, it did quite well in Europe. Their next two albums would manage to do fairly well, but each had diminishing returns and by 1994 the band was done. After a new lineup was formed in 2001, they got back to recording new music and in 2006 issued out Retroglide. It didn't make a huge impression, but did at least reach the UK chart at #78.


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