Box set: Eurythmics

Boxed, SONY BMG
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The Independent Culture

Like Abba, Eurythmics fronted their nerdish studio smarts with glossily distinctive female vocals, and for a while in the mid-Eighties seemed as though they might turn into a non-stop hit machine of similar consistency. But the rewards here are notably thinner the deeper one delves into their oeuvre: outside the run of singles that begins in 1983 with "Sweet Dreams" and ends three years later with "Thorn in My Side", there is an awful lot of filler on these eight albums (perhaps sensibly, they have omitted the soundtrack to 1984). It's a case of sharply diminishing returns, too: following the early peaks of 1983's Sweet Dreams and Touch, the rest of their career follows a gradual but steady decline through the full band arrangements and electro-soul stylings of Be Yourself Tonight and Revenge. And while they deserve credit for bringing a certain sophistication and soulful passion to the era's synth-driven techno-pop, their music has been less successful in transcending its period than Abba's: whatever their virtues, Eurythmics' songs will always be inextricably evocative of the queasy mix of New Romanticism, outsized shoulder-pads and unalloyed greed that constituted the Eighties. Ultimately, Boxed makes a good argument for the cherry-picking approach of their recent Ultimate Collection.

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