Still now, over 30 years later, I can clearly recall the excitement of unwrapping this album (on cassette) at the breakfast table before school on my 14th birthday. It was a gift from my Aunt, who was cool and bought me music that I asked for, unlike my parents, who didn’t. I remember being particularly taken by the cover, even before I played the music contained therein. Annie Lennox appears to be completely naked next to a fully-clothed Dave Stewart, but clearly doesn’t give a rat’s arse either way.
This 1986 album is a turning point for the Eurythmics, towards rock stadiums and away from the electro synth-pop of their first four albums. I was very big on the Eurythmics at the time. Along with Queen, the Pet Shop Boys and Prince (and yes, I admit, a little bit of A-ha too) they were one of the few bands I followed in ‘real time’. The rest of my listening material was made up of discovering Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Genesis and David Bowie.
Revenge was a big commercial success at the time, and its easy to hear why, there’s some great songs on here, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it again after a long hiatus, surprised to find that I still know ALL the words. Missionary Man is undoubtedly one of the sexiest, most subversive songs you’ll find about a preacher (Dusty Springfield notwithstanding) and clearly the raw mix of sex and religion appealed greatly to me at that age (still does tbh). Lennox has never sounded sexier and more dangerous, her vocal style and lyrics during the Eurythmics were always that of a strong powerful woman. She only ‘did vulnerable’ in her solo work, perhaps because it was safe then to do so, she’d already proved herself.
The first side contains all the hit singles – Thorn in My Side, When Tomorrow Comes and Miracle of Love, which was all over the radio in 1986 – but the second side isn’t filler. The Eurythmics never really did filler, some of their more interesting songs and inventive music is on the non-single fare. Even the throwaway Let’s Go – simply about jumping in a car with your lover and going for a drive – is sublime in Annie and Dave’s hands.
However, it’s always the soft slow ones that get me the most, and at the time I was particularly taken by the last track, I Remember You. It came to represent a confused not-quite-love-yet-too-close-friendship at the tender age of 13 with a boy at my athletics club. We used to walk home together afterwards, bike handlebars not quite touching.
Forgive me for a moment of nostalgia including most of the lyrics here: “And I remember you, you were the back-yard boy, hiding in the wreckage of broken dreams, standing by the railway line, standing. Oh – we were so young, we didn’t realise just what we’d done. Oh – we were too young. And all the sweetness has been taken out of this place, so many memories are knocked down or replaced. And I can’t stand to see the shifting time, taking me further – leaving you behind.”
Best Bits: That opener! ‘Well I was born an original sinner, I was born from original sin, And if I had a dollar bill for all the things I’ve done, There’d be a mountain of money piled up to my chin. Hey!”
Genre: Pure Pop
Like This, Try This: Standing by the railway line, just standing, listening to the closing track play out – the soundtrack to your life…