Sunday, 11 October 2009

1989 Lisa Stansfield: All Around The World

A former child star who'd previously charted with dance guru's Coldcut, 'All Around the World' was and remains Lisa Stansfield's biggest solo hit, the one song everybody knows her for. Lisa's man has done a bunk after a quarrel and now she intends searching to the ends of the earth to find him. Well ok, but I'm afraid I find it impossible to listen to 'All Around the World' anymore without remembering Caroline Aherne's clueless teenage mum 'Janine Carr' analysing the lyrics extremely literally on The Fast Show: 'She's like, lost her little baby yeah? And now she's looking for him'.

'All Around the World' is a slab of smooth latter day wine bar R&B which rocks no boats and would have worked far better at half it's length. From the skipping hopscotch beat of the sequenced drums and the drenching of Fisher Price strings, it's too little spread too thinly and the headshot to the air of sophistication (look at that cover picture) it's striving for is the distinct lack of anything going on or, dammit, any sort of tune beyond the chorus that's returned to as constantly as an learner swimmer breaking surface to get air. It's a strong hook on first hearing, but even that's too bland to hold the interest over almost five minutes.

Stansfield can sing, of that there's no doubt, and her voice is the star turn here, but her continuous repetition of the title's refrain
"Been around the world and I, I, I I can't find my baby" bores a little more with each telling, like the ramblings of a freshly dumped, pissed mate up crying on your shoulder to the point where empathy and sympathy curdles to 'snap out of it' annoyance. At 3:50 Stansfield changes key to forcefully re-state "I've been around the world, lookin' from my baby. Been around the world, and I'm gonna, I'm gonna find him" and each separate word is enunciated like someone poking their finger in your chest just in case you weren't clear what her intentions are. But Christ, we've got the message by now girl. And as you've already been around the world once, maybe he doesn't want to be found and it's time to ease up on the obsession, what do you say? One of her friends really should have a word.

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