Monday, 2 March 2009

1982 Bucks Fizz: My Camera Never Lies

In which Bucks Fizz grow up. Or at least try to. It seems to be an unwritten rule that every pop band who achieve a level of success with some happy, harmless ramalama singalongs will at some point aspire to some artistic credibility in a bid to be taken seriously. Most end up falling flat on their face, and if Bucks Fizz don't exactly end up face down in the gutter, they stumble over their laces quite badly and bloody their hands and knees.

There's probably no better example of a pop band who grew up in public to successfully outgrow their roots than ABBA, and whoever was behind 'My Camera Never Lies' obviously had one eye on the Swedish model in a bid to crack the international market. This is no less apparent in the video that clearly apes the 'Take A Chance On Me' visuals with Jay in particular giving the camera the scary evil eye of a woman wronged.

Starting out with earthereal vocal 'Ahhhhsss' that builds into an urgent, acoustic guitar driven verse, the sound is very new wave, very American AOR and very, very eighties - think The Cars' 'Drive' giving a lift to Pat Benatar's 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot' and you won't go far wrong. Lyrically too we're in darker territory than previous with a theme of a would be lover stalking someone who doesn't want to know (
"I’ve been checking you up, I’ve been tracking you down. Funny all the things that I’ve found").

So far, so different, but then the chorus arrives from straight out of a cheap Christmas cracker and undoes all the good work that's gone before. All pretence of intensity and seriousness vanishes in a puff of smoke to be replaced by a shift in tone to a tacky white bread singalong that even Dollar would have rejected as being corny. By trying to appeal to a new, older market while not forgetting the millions who bought 'Making Your Mind Up', 'My Camera Never Lies' aims for two separate stools and misses both by a wide margin.

Ultimately, 'My Camera Never Lies' is all smoke and mirrors, making it rather apt that 'The Wizard Of Oz' is parodied in the accompanying video. It puts on a brave face to try and get in the ring with the heavyweights, but like some Scooby Doo episode where the mask is pulled off the scary ghost to reveal some harmless old woman underneath, it's all just a front to add some gravitas to what is essentially business as usual.

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