Afternoons in Utopia

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Afternoons in Utopia
Studio album by Alphaville
Released June 5, 1986
Recorded September 1985 – May 1986
Genre Synthpop
Length 46:36
Label Warner / Atlantic
Producer Wolfgang Loos, Peter Walsh, Steve Thompson, Michael Barbiero
Alphaville chronology
Forever Young
(1984)
Afternoons in Utopia
(1986)
Alphaville Amiga Compilation
(1988)
Singles from Afternoons in Utopia
  1. "Dance with Me"
    Released: March 1986
  2. "Universal Daddy"
    Released: June 1986
  3. "Jerusalem"
    Released: November 1986
  4. "Sensations"
    Released: December 1986
  5. "Red Rose"
    Released: April 1987

Afternoons in Utopia is the second album released by Alphaville in 1986, by Warner Music. The album was recorded between September 1985 and May 1986, and Alphaville employed no less than 27 guest musicians and singers to record the songs.[1] 500,000 copies of the album have been sold.

Reviews[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[2]

Reviews for this album were again generally positive, with one reviewer saying "at points things are just bad yup-funk for wine bars, but a couple of misfires aside, Afternoons in Utopia holds up well" and "in retrospect it's actually a successful endeavour, perfectly evocative of a mainstream style."[3] The album finished in the Top 20 in five European countries, and while its #174 placement on the US charts may be considered a disappointment, that was actually better than its arguably better-well-known predecessor, Forever Young fared. Another reviewer points out that "by the time of this album's 1986 release, synth-pop was no longer a chart concern,"[4] which may explain Alphaville's poor showing in the charts from that point forward in their careers.

Album notes[edit]

The album's lyrics make several references to cosmic entities ("sci fi" as one reviewer called it[3]), including comets (in general), the planet Mars and its landscape, and a starship. When the word "smile" is used in the songs "Afternoons in Utopia," "Lassie Come Home," and "Red Rose," it's printed in the liner notes as the acronym S.M.I².L.E., a reference to Timothy Leary, which stands for "Space Migration, Increased Intelligence, [and] Life Extension."[1]

Marian Gold, singer and songwriter for the band, acknowledged that the message of their music was different from their previous album with this comment, which accompanied the song "Sensations" in the liner notes for the 1992 release First Harvest 1984-92:

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "IAO"   0:42
2. "Fantastic Dream"   3:56
3. "Jerusalem"   4:09
4. "Dance With Me"   3:59
5. "Afternoons In Utopia"   3:08
6. "Sensations"   4:24
7. "20th Century"   1:25
8. "The Voyager"   4:37
9. "Carol Masters"   4:32
10. "Universal Daddy"   3:57
11. "Lassie Come Home"   6:59
12. "Red Rose"   4:05
13. "Lady Bright"   0:43

The first song, "IAO" (which stands for International Aquarian Opera), begins with the word "night" and fades into the short IAO chorus (which itself is just a lyric from the song "Afternoons in Utopia"). The album ends with the song "Lady Bright", a limerick about relativity, wherein the lady Bright leaves one day and returns "the previous ...[night]", with the word "night" omitted. Thus the album loops back to its beginning.

The song "Afternoons in Utopia" is dedicated "For Inka" in the liner notes for the album.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1986) Peak
position
Germany Albums Chart[6] 13
Italy Albums Chart 41
Norway Albums Chart[7] 8
Sweden Albums Chart[8] 7
Switzerland Albums Chart[9] 12
US Billboard 200[10] 174

Album credits[1][edit]

Afternoons in Utopia was composed by Marian Gold, Bernhard Lloyd, and Ricky Echolette. All songs produced by Peter Walsh except where noted.

  • "IAO"
    • Children's Choir: Stephanie Cooling, Peter Docherty, Louise McKenna, Jenny Troy, David Walround
  • "Jerusalem" (produced by Wolfgang Loos)
    • Denice Brooks: Backing vocals
    • Turhan Geza: Percussion
    • Roger Linn: Drums
    • Wolfgang Loos: Keyboards
    • Gustl Luetjens: Guitars
    • William "Kooley" Scott: Backing vocals
    • Jocelyn B. Smith: Backing vocals
  • "Dance with Me" (produced by Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero)
    • Michael Barbiero: Backing vocals
    • Dave Lebold: Keyboards
    • Roger Linn: Drums
    • Jimmy Maelen: Percussion
    • Jimmy Ripp: Guitars
  • "Afternoons in Utopia" (produced by Wolfgang Loos and Peter Walsh)
    • Children's Choir: Stephanie Cooling, Peter Docherty, Louise McKenna, Jenny Troy, David Walround
    • Wolfgang Loos: Keyboards
  • "Sensations"
    • Guy Barker: Trumpets
    • Stuart Brooks: Trumpets
    • Andy Brown: Bass guitar
    • Judy Cheeks: Backing vocals
    • Roger Linn: Drums
    • Victoria Miles: Backing vocals
    • Phil Palmer: Guitars
    • Frank Ricotti: Percussion
    • Neil Sidwell: Trombone
    • Robin Smith: Brass arrangements
    • Phil Todd: Saxophones
  • "20th Century"
    • Roger Linn: Drums
    • Robin Smith: Keyboards
  • "The Voyager"
    • Guy Barker: Trumpets
    • Stuart Brooks: Trumpets
    • Andy Brown: Bass guitar
    • Judy Cheeks: Backing vocals
    • Bob Jenkins: Additional drums
    • Roger Linn: Drums
    • Robin Smith: Keyboards and Brass arrangements
    • Phil Todd: Saxophones
    • Peter Walsh: Keyboards
  • "Carol Masters"
    • Andy Brown: Bass guitar
    • Bob Jenkins: Additional drums
    • Roger Linn: Drums
    • Phil Palmer: Guitars
    • Frank Ricotti: Percussion
    • Peter Walsh: Keyboards
  • "Universal Daddy"
    • Guy Barker: Trumpets
    • Stuart Brooks: Trumpets
    • Andy Brown: Bass guitar
    • Judy Cheeks: Backing vocals
    • Bob Jenkins: Additional drums
    • Roger Linn: Drums
    • Victoria Miles: Background vocals
    • Phil Palmer: Guitars
    • Frank Ricotti: Percussions
    • Neil Sidwell: Trombone
    • Robin Smith: Keyboards and Brass arrangements
    • Phil Todd: Saxophones
  • "Lassie Come Home"
    • Andy Brown: Bass guitar
    • Bob Jenkins: Additional drums
    • Janey Klimek: Guest vocal performance
    • Roger Linn: Drums
    • Phil Palmer: Guitars
    • Frank Ricotti: Percussion
    • Robin Smith: Keyboards and Brass arrangements
    • Phil Todd: Saxophones
  • "Red Rose"
    • Guy Barker: Trumpets
    • Stuart Brooks: Trumpets
    • Andy Brown: Bass guitar
    • Judy Cheeks: Backing vocals
    • Roger Linn: Drums
    • Victoria Miles: Backing vocals
    • Phil Palmer: Guitars
    • Frank Ricotti: Percussion
    • Neil Sidwell: Trombone
    • Robin Smith: Keyboards and Brass arrangements
    • Phil Todd: Saxophones

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Afternoons in Utopia Liner Notes
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ a b "All Music Guide". answers.com. 
  4. ^ "MusicFolio". musicfolio.com. 
  5. ^ First Harvest 1984-92 liner notes
  6. ^ "German chart". Charts-Surfer. Archived from the original on 28 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-01. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Norwegian albums chart". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  8. ^ "Swedish albums chart". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  9. ^ "Swiss albums chart". Die Offizielle Schweizer Hitparade. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  10. ^ "Artist Chart History: Albums". Billboard charts. Retrieved 2009-07-01.