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Close To Seven Audio CD – 2014
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Import-only pressing of this 1992 release from the fetching Europop vocalist best known for her work with her husband's band Enigma. 10 tracks including 'I Need Love', 'Mirrored in Your Eyes' and more. EMI.
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Sandra was still trying to score a big hit single to match her early successes when it came to this album, but she was too far off the world's music radar by this time, which is a real shame because this is probably her best album. Nearly all the songs on it are serious affairs with no silly girlishness and poppy froth at all. The opening track is very strong, although I think it was inspired by Massive Attack's hit song of the time, "Safe From Harm" - the bubbling bassline in "Don't Be Agressive" echos the one used in that great track quite closely, and luckily it works here pretty well too.
All the songs on this album, are produced to a highly polished degree, and they have a mature air about them. There are no songs like "Hi! Hi! Hi!" or "Midnight Man" any more, and the performances finally succeed in getting Sandra to sound impassioned rather than just whiny. She still sings rather nasally but on the better tracks like "I Need Love" she delivers the required urgency, and is in league with the talents of her husband/producer Michael Cretu far more comfortably at last. The slow ballad "Seal It Forever" is a good one - not as impressive as "One More Night" on her album before this, but still comfortably accomplished.
It's unfortunate for Sandra's solo career that Michael Cretu's skills were heavily diverted into the Enigma project by this time. The "Close To Seven" album was released after Enigma's "MCMXC a.D.", and it's clear that Cretu has injected a lot of the maturer atmosphere from Enigma into this work. Sandra also sang and contributed to the Enigma albums herself, so at least she wasn't left to starve (hey, they were married by this time as well, so she was pretty much set for life!), but this was really the end of the road for Sandra's modest success as a solo artist. If you try any of her albums after this one (the next one being "Fading Shades"), they have lost much of their sparkle and seem to be just going through the motions. But a five album career is better than a lot of people manage, so "Close To Seven" and the four albums that precede it should be treated as Sandra's musical legacy. I would rate "Close To Seven" as being the most mature, and therefore probably the best...so why is it the hardest to obtain...? Grr!!
I always found Sandra's voice as amazing. My heart always leaps when I hear it.
This album, as with all her other albums, I can listen to it from beginning to end.
The best track would have to be Seal it Forever that is of course my favorite but there are others that do stand out as well, for instance all of them. When I first heard of Enigma everybody had a cd by the Enigma except me, so I got one and loved the feel and ambience of the music and harmonies. There is such a relaxing, soothing peaceful calm effect with this music that it cannot be denied. This is one of the best modern works of real pop that is happy without being immature and dramatic without being sad. I would like to know when touring will start again. Overall, this is an excellent collection of hit songs so I will rate it the best I can. Recommend :)
"Steady Me"(note the "Africa" from Toto backbeat-like drum sound) are a relief. I give this album more than 5 stars!
Armando in Arizona