Ladies and gentlemen, I now have Kim Wilde's new record, 'Snapshots'. It's an import from Germany (which seems to be the only place it's been released) but, after seeing the video for 'It's Alright' I decided I had to have it and ordered it through Amazon.
It arrived today with a red sticker on the front announcing, "Das Erste Cover Album Ihrer Karriere!" which even I can translate. So, yes, it's a covers album with 14 songs and the snapshots theme is continued into the booklet with a few pages covered in small photos of Kim over the years, with fans and with stars (like Michael Jackson). There are short paragraphs about each song from Kim but they're in German so I can't read it. The introductory text from Kim is in English (which I can read) telling us how the record came about and how she enjoyed it, ending with the lovely phrase, "... [I] wear my Pop Star badge with pride!". I *like* that.
Anyway, what about the songs? They all have Kim's 'powerpop' sound and some sound remarkably like the originals with the same arrangement, just updated, while others sound quite different. One thing I like about this album is that I haven't heard of some of the songs before, so, although it's a covers album, I'm still hearing some songs for the first time. 'To France' for example, is a song from 1973 by Mike Oldfield and Maggie Reilly, that stirs not a single memory so, to me, this is the original version. Kim seems to have picked a collection of songs from the last 50 years that she likes and has made an impression on her and that's a sound enough reason.
Favourite songs after a first listen are, 'It's Alright', 'Sleeping Satellite', 'They Don't Know About Us' (the Kirsty MacColl classic), 'Beautiful Ones' and the evergreen 'Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone)' (that I'm sure Kim bounced round her bedroom to in 1978 - I did). There's the brave take on 'Anyone Who Had A Heart', the first pop song she remembered from when she was four years old and the lovely version of Bowie's 'Kooks' sung with her husband (as is right and proper). The only song that doesn't work for me (on one listen) is 'About You Now' but, then again, I love the Sugababes version so I'm biased.
Kim is still big in Germany but it would be great to release this album in the UK - along with the last couple of albums please - and re-launch her career here. She still tours on the 80s revival scene but I want to see a Kim Wilde gig in London in which she plays the new songs from 'Come Out And Play' and 'Never Say Never' as well as the classics and the new covers. What an incredible set that would be. C'mon Kim, you were brave stepping onto that first Top Of The Pops stage all those years ago, you can do it again with your name blazoned across the stage and a Pop Star badge on display. You were after Debbie Harry and before Madonna - a great place to stand in history.
Here's 'It's Alright':