Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)


RCA, 1982


REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith


The second release by the British duo Eurythmics also happens to be their best. It captures both David A. Stewart and Annie Lennox at their early experimental prime -- and contains their breakthrough hit single “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This).”

What this title track proves is that you don’t need a lot of words to convey a message or make an impression. From its stark imagery and serious subject matter, the entire album isn’t for the meek or the faint of heart. Nevertheless, I can’t help but admire how it explores the dark side of human nature, especially when it comes to speaking the truth in how we have the tendency to be abusive to one another -- often without even realizing it.

The album’s second single, “Love Is A Stranger,” is an equally compelling and hypnotic listen. Eurythmics have always used synthesizers and drum machines in the best of all possible ways, though Lennox’s voice is the real revelation here. That unmistakable voice sounds like it comes from heaven or another world entirely. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Eurythmics couldn’t have come at a better time. MTV was still in its infancy and execs were looking for striking images to make as much impact as the music. With her orange crew cut and pale makeup, Lennox’s extreme appearance was about as shocking as you could get at the time. It’s no wonder she and Boy George would be put side by side on the cover of Time magazine for its story on gender-bending musicians and the second British invasion.

What I like most about Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) is the fact that it best represents Eurythmics the way they were first intended to sound. It’s got an aggressive, edgy tone throughout and the themes are all about daring and duality. On “I’ve Got An Angel,” Annie makes use of her impressive upper register over a loose flute arrangement, before she changes gears and begins singing in a menacing, manly style. From one moment to the next, you don’t quite know what is coming..

Other memorable cuts include the controlled chaos of “I Could Give You A Mirror” and the haunting jazz number “The Walk,” where Annie’s command of “let’s just close our eyes” comes through loud and clear. There’s even more chill and sparkle to be found in the album’s second half, most notably on “Jennifer,” one of the many Eurythmics songs to feature female names in their title.

Since becoming a solo artist, Annie has released three albums and has contributed songs for movie soundtracks like Bram Stoker’s Dracula. She’s even won an Academy Award for writing and performing “Into The West” for The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King. She certainly has carved out quite a remarkable reputation for herself and has matured into such a dynamic vocalist.  David A. Stewart has had a decidedly lower profile, though he and Annie do still get together for the odd gig or benefit show. Much like Mick Fleetwood not wanting to let Fleetwood Mac die, there must also be a big part of David that doesn’t want to let Eurythmics go. With an album as classic as Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) you can hardly blame him.

Rating: A

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© 2007 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of RCA, and is used for informational purposes only.