Picks and Pans Review: Dare to Love
This Scottish pop singer became known as a gay activist in the '80s, after "Smalltown Boy," his ode to coming out, became a dance club staple. A string of European hits featuring his distinctive falsetto followed. Now, after four years, he's back with a musically uneven album that is full of angry reflections on AIDS, prejudice and forbidden love. The title track is about a lonely gay man who, after discovering "he wanted a man, not psychiatry," winds up in jail for having an affair with a teenager. Somerville makes few gender concessions here in his lyrics: on the soaring "Cry" he commiserates with a friend who grieves because "all you ever wanted in this world was that boy." Still, some songs have no deeper message than fun. "Come Lately" and "Lovething" are funky dance tunes reminiscent of the singer's thumping hits with Bronski Beat. Thankfully, Somerville still knows that it's also possible to dance through the pain. (London)
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