March 14, 2018 Kim Wilde – Here Come the Aliens (Album Review)
They were young, wild, and free. Well, not really that wild, we suppose; but certainly younger and freer… from adult responsibility. Yes, they were not only the kids of America… but also of practically any country in the civilized world whose respective government values the rights and freedom of its people. In the 1980s, any music fan who adored New Wave and Pop music and all the glitter and glamor that came with it must have surely adopted as part of the soundtrack of their youthful lives the song “Kids in America.” For sure, the singer behind this 1981 hit single was more than happy to oblige to be regarded as one of the icons of such hopeful, starry-eyed teens (and even the young-at-heart) of that generation. That artist was Kim Wilde.
Born on November 18, 1960, in West London, England, Wilde catapulted to worldwide popularity in 1981 with the instant success of her debut single, “Kids in America,” which climbed up to the number-two spot on the U.K. Singles Chart. In her long, on-and-off singing career, Wilde has released 13 studio albums – from her 1981 self-titled full-length to 2013’s Christmas-themed Wilde Winter Songbook. From New Wave to Pop, to Rock, to Electronic Dance and Rockabilly, to R&B and balladry, she explored various genres in flying colors.
Over the years since her rise to the limelight, Wilde has steadily released a string of chart-topping singles that made her a household name not only in the USA and in her homeland, the U.K.; but also in countries such as France, Germany, and Canada – where her songs became regular radio staples, such as “View from a Bridge,” “Love Blonde,” “The Second Time,” “Rage to Love,” and her Hi-NRG-styled rendition of The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.”
Now, five years after the release of her last album, Wilde is ready to unleash the follow-up that she had been working on since 2014 with Music Producer Sean J. Vincent and her brother/longtime collaborator Ricky Wilde.
Scheduled to arrive at the shops on Friday, March 16, 2018 via earMUSIC, Wilde’s 14th oeuvre, Here Come the Aliens, opens with a crashing bang, as the Pop Rock stomper “1969” blasts out of the loudspeakers like a freight train. The vibes then turn nostalgically New Wave with “Pop Don’t Stop,” which slides in sneakily like The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” and then changes clothes immediately as soon as the infectious chorus comes in. “Kandy Krush” returns the listener to Glam Rock mode, with guitar slashing and drums pounding like a barracuda’s exploding heart.
Another steely yet spacey track plays next in the form of “Stereo Shot,” whose flickering guitar flourishes and sinister bassline combo exudes a metallic sheen. Wilde then turns sentimental with the upbeat and hook-filled ballad “Yours ’til the End of Time,” which stands out with its beautiful guitar melodies and catchy vocal harmonies.
The highlight of the album, the piano-led, slow ballad “Solstice” conjures an image of a pale sun giving way to the glowing moon. “Birthday” and “Addicted to You” then kick up the energy again with their crunchy and swirling guitars and hard-hits on the snare; Wilde is certainly on a Rock-wild predisposition.
The synth-drenched “Cyber Nation War” is a change of style – aptly ominous, slightly Gothic, a bit Progressive, exuding an eclectic mix of Madonna (“Die Another Day”), Asia (“Heat of the Moment”), Evanescence (“Bring Me to Life”), and Paramore (“Decode”).
With “A Different Story,” Wilde reverts to the Pop Rock mood of the album, and then goes Glam again with the anthemic “Rock the Paradiso,” which sounds like a heavy version of “Kids of America.” Finally, Wilde finishes off Here Come the Aliens with the soulful swagger of the hypnotic and ethereal “Rosetta.” The aliens are indeed coming; but do not worry; that is only in musical terms – broad, expansive, diverse, surprising, yet familiar at the same time.
Sadly, many people seemed to have relegated Wilde unfairly to the status of “one-hit wonder” – just like how they usually do to bands or other artists whom they knew only for their respective hit singles – such as A Flock of Seagulls (“I Ran”), a-ha (“Take on Me”), Debbie Gibson (“Electric Youth”), Martika (“Toy Soldiers”), and Lisa Stansfield (“All Around the World”). What they don’t realize is that the derogation is, ironically, a reflection of their own willful ignorance, because there is so much more to the English Pop singer than her well-known single; and that the critics themselves are the ones who are out of the loop and whose knowledge is obsolete or outdated. That then makes them the “one-hit listeners!” Wilde, on the upper hand, has proven again her prolificness, diversity, and relevance with her new musical offering. CrypticRock gives Here Come the Aliens 4 out of 5 stars.