Kim Wilde – It’s Here
The 1980s felt like a very long decade – in a way that few since have – and they got off to a lovely scruffy start, with Bananarama arsing about on Top of the Pops in dungarees, and The Jam being quite angry and shouty. By 1989, of course, things were a lot more polished and shiny: the ‘rams had been styled to within an inch of their lives (losing Siobhan along the way) and Paul Weller had discovered loafers without socks (losing any semblance of popularity along the way).
Party to all of this was Kim Wilde, who had quite the decade herself. The daughter of rock’n’roll legend Marty Wilde, Kim landed squarely in the public consciousness in 1981 with the gigantic hit Kids in America. Kim was just what British pop needed: a St Trinian’s Debbie Harry. She was the faintly surly, pouty troublemaker who always got detention for breaking uniform guidelines (our modern day equivalent is Charli XCX). By virtue of being rather easy on the eye she was also exactly what the pop press needed, but she never had a particularly easy ride of it, chart-wise. After her second single Chequered Love hit no.4 it would be a full five years before she visited the top 10 again with the Emergency Cover Version You Keep Me Hangin’ On. As career rescues go that one was a doozy, peaking at no.2 here and giving her a surprise US no.1.
By 1988 Kim hit a new peak – the album Close gave her three successive top 10 hits for the first time – You Came, Never Trust a Stranger and Four Letter Word – and she landed the support gig for the European leg of Michael Jackson‘s Bad Tour, exposing her to a massive audience (and goodness only knows what else). One thing was for certain – Kim’s next record would be HUGE.
Unfortunately, a couple of unfortunate things happened which prevented that. The first of these was 1990 itself, which saw Kim (and many others) become something of an ananchronism overnight, purely by virtue of having survived the preceding decade. The other thing was Poor Decision Making, which requires a little further inspection.
There’s a slightly odd phenomenon that occurs when pop stars have a huge hit album – they feel the need to come back with something meaningful. Invariably said pop star has travelled the world, seen a lot of hotel rooms and has had a bit of time to think about stuff, and so they want to say something; this is nearly always a Poor Decision. Good examples of this include Arms Around the World by Louise from out of Eternal and Escaping by Dina Carroll (even though that was a cover version) – songs which are given a sort of portentous production with a bit of World Music influence chucked in and are meant to show new artistic depth. Of course they do nothing of the sort and are often meandering tuneless doodles which nobody remembers.
Kim also clearly felt her own need to say something, and so she and brother Ricky came up with It’s Here, which I think is supposed to be a terribly important anthem of self-awareness but in point of fact manages to say nothing at all: “It’s here, looking me in the eye/It’s here, here all the time/It’s here, I’ve always tried to find a way to go/But now I know, it’s here.” Twenty-five years on I still have no idea what “it” actually is – for all I know Kim had mislaid her front door key. She certainly doesn’t say during the record, and she has three minutes and thirty-six seconds in which to do so. What wasn’t mislaid, though, was the tune, which is actually pretty lovely and gives Kim her best ever high-note at 2:02 where she goes “heeeee-eeeeeeeere.”
There’s a final Poor Decision associated with this particular era of Kim’s career – somebody at MCA clearly decided she was carrying a little too much weight, and so every photograph of Kim from this period shows her covering significant portions of her face with extravagantly gloved hands and gigantically unruly hair. So instead of capitalising on a huge success, they basically hid her away. I always wanted to add a question mark after her name on the Love Moves album sleeve because you can barely tell it’s her. Ridiculous.
Kim would never again trouble the UK top 10, despite the thoroughly sensible attempt to turn her into the British Belinda Carlisle with the Rick Nowels and Ellen Shipley penned Love is Holy a couple of years later. But thanks to a period of vitamin spokesmanship, telly gardening and that hilarious tipsy Tube video she’s still very much in the public eye, and remains one of Britain’s best ever pop stars. Hooray!
Entered chart: 14/04/1990
Chart peak: 42
Weeks on chart: 5
Who could sing this today and have a hit? Who had a huge hit album and is due back with something meaningful? Why, Emeli Sandé of course.
Love Moves could well be my favourite Kim album – or is that Close, or Teases & Dares or Love is. It certainly has a few of my faves (should have been first single) Love (Send Him Back To Me) (brackets), Can’t Get Enough (of your love) (more brackets) and Someday.
Everyone was raving in fields listening to the Happy Mondays (not I) – Kim left it too darn long to capitalise on Close.