Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time – #500: Eurythmics – Touch (1984)

The countdown begins with me discovering that I have, in fact, been a bit of a closet Annie Lennox fan all this time.

Touch

Let’s start with the obvious: Annie Lennox is a badass – I mean, just look at the album cover.  And with Dave Stewart composing behind her, she is nearly unstoppable.  This thing went platinum in 1984 and got as high as #7 on the Billboard charts.  While most of the music on this record is not at all my scene, her vocal delivery and the ominous feel of this work hooked me.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew the Eurythmics songs that all of us do: “Sweet Dreams” (not on this album) and “Here Comes the Rain Again” (which is), but I had never really been exposed to their music beyond that.  After giving this thing a few spins, I now have more than a few songs from it saved to my master Spotify playlist.  I recognize that I am about 35 years late to the party -and no, I am not turning into a new-wave/synth rocker, but I can see why this was selected as an important and relevant work.

“Here Comes the Rain Again” is pure 80s, through and through.  Everything about this song screams post-disco pop dance music, and even I am a sucker for it.  The music behind Annie on “Regrets” reminded me immediately of Trent Reznor’s masterpiece double-LP “The Fragile”, and Eurythmics are clearly an influence on his work.   The way her voice scream/echoes “regrets” as if she is passing through the mic is still interesting more than three decades later.  Even the island-infused “Right By Your Side” isn’t nearly as horrible as it would be if Lennox wasn’t delivering the message of desire.

The haunting slow-burn of “Who’s That Girl?” might be the highlight of the tracks on Touch, thanks to a chorus that evokes sadness and pain as well as any blues guitarist or whining emo kid ever has.  “Don’t touch me, don’t talk to me about it; don’t touch me, don’t talk to me ever again” is commanded more than sang on “Aqua”, which stands out on an album with so much yearning and longing.  “No Fear, No Hate…” is not a song I particularly enjoy but I swear I can hear Florence Welch and a few other contemporary ladies in this one.  And “Plus Something Else” is a delightful instrumental journey that I don’t only like because it reminds me of Seinfeld; the horns don’t hurt either.

At the end of the day, this is still a style of music that I generally detest, and there are a few songs that I just can’t get behind; namely “Cool Blue”, “The First Cut” (which makes me feel like I am back at Mom’s Jazzercise as a child), “You Take Some Lentils…”, and “ABC (Freeform)” (which is some “Fitter Happier More Productive” before Radiohead were even in high school).  For me this is an uneven but important album, and I don’t have to strain too hard to see why so many people love it.

Worthy Tracks: “Here Comes the Rain Again”, “Regrets”, “Who’s That Girl?”, “Aqua”, “Plus Something Else”

Final Verdict: Solid effort worthy of inclusion on this list mainly due to the obvious influence it had on the next generation of artists.

Spotify album link: https://open.spotify.com/album/4pGwe5BW8GVtIP8ruoa1jB?si=CGpRPsfJQReKC3hK4czvWw