Alf (album)

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Alf
Alison Moyet - Alf.jpg
Studio album by Alison Moyet
Released 9 November 1984[1]
Recorded 1984
Genre
Length 37:47
Label CBS/Columbia
(re-released on CD in 1990 by Sony Music Entertainment and 2000 by Sony-BMG)
Producer Steve Jolley & Tony Swain
Alison Moyet chronology
Alf
(1984)
Raindancing
(1987)Raindancing1987

Alf is the debut studio album by British singer-songwriter Alison Moyet, released in 1984. The album launched Moyet's solo career following the disbanding of synthpop duo Yazoo (also known as Yaz). The album reached No. 1 in the UK and features the singles "Love Resurrection", "All Cried Out", "Invisible" and "For You Only".

A deluxe edition of Alf was released by BMG on 25 November 2016.[2]

Background[edit]

In 1983, shortly before the release of their second studio album You and Me Both, Yazoo announced that they were splitting up. Deciding to become a solo artist, Moyet soon received various offers from different record companies. Moyet ended up signing to CBS for £1 million later that year. However, after signing the contract, Yazoo's American record company Warner Bros then put an injunction on her. The legal issues took a year to be resolved by settlement in 1984. When Moyet was able to start working on her debut album, a meeting was held with CBS. As both Spandau Ballet and Bananarama had been recently successful in the charts, the label suggested Moyet team up with their producers Tony Swain & Steve Jolley.[3]

The collaboration with the two producers proved successful and the three began writing songs for an album. Moyet later recalled: "I was simply in a space with two accomplished and encouraging blokes who were saying, 'Let's write some songs', and we didn't find it hard." However, writing and recording sessions had to done with haste due to Swain and Jolley's other commitments as producers. The recording sessions took three months to complete. CBS suggested the album be named "Alf", which had become Moyet's well-known nickname since before Yazoo.[3]

Alf was released in November 1984 and was a commercial success in the UK and worldwide. The album topped the UK chart, and by the beginning of December, the album had achieved a double platinum certification. In April 1985 it had gone triple platinum and in February 1987 it went quadruple.[4] In 1985, the success of the album led to Moyet receiving her first Brit Award for Best British Female Solo Artist.[5] Alf also reached No. 1 in New Zealand and would go eight times platinum there. In the United States, the album would prove to be Moyet's most successful commercially, peaking at No. 45.[6] It was later reported by Billboard magazine in February 1994 that Alf had sold three million copes worldwide.[7]

The lead single "Love Resurrection" preceded the album. It was released in June 1984 and had reached No. 10 in the UK, also becoming a hit across Europe and beyond. The second single "All Cried Out" was met with similar success when released in September 1984. It reached No. 8 in the UK. "Invisible", the third single, was released in November 1984 and reached No. 21 in the UK. In the US, it became Moyet's highest-charting single, reaching No. 31. In October 1985, "For You Only" was released as the fourth and final single from the album.[8] When CBS first suggested releasing a fourth single, Moyet spoke against the idea and suggested she record a cover of "That Ole Devil Called Love" in order to give fans something new. Her version of the song was then recorded and released in March 1985, becoming a big hit, including in the UK where it reached No. 2. Despite this, CBS later decided to release "For You Only" as a single but in Europe and America only. For its release as a single, "For You Only" was remixed and partially re-recorded to create a new version.[9][10] The song was a success in Germany, peaking at No. 7 in late 1985.[11]

The success of Alf would soon make Moyet resentful as she felt the album's mass market appeal had defined her before she had the chance and experience to properly decide the direction she wanted to take her solo career in. Furthermore, she felt the album and her weight-gain at that time "presented an image of unthreatening cosy womanliness".[12] Speaking of the album, Moyet later recalled in 2016:

"I have, in the past, distanced myself from Alf. Because there were things about me at 21 that I could no longer relate to and it's slightly odd singing the lyrics of a 21-year-old as you age. But distance creates a love. I fell out with Alf because I felt like that, after making subsequent records, it was like walking down the street and being told, 'I liked you better when you were going out with him.' When you're older you can see that your first love was actually a really nice soul."[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[13]
Cash Box favourable[14]
Louder Than War 7.5/10 stars[15]
Number One 3/5 stars[16]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[17]

Upon release, Deanne Pearson of Number One said: "If you want genuine, heartfelt love songs, cries of passion without cliche, look no further than Alf. With a heart as big as her voice, Alison Moyet is one of the singer/songwriters of the '80s. Commercial but uncontrived. Unlike Wham, you don't feel you're being taken for a ride."[16] Christopher Connelly of the American magazine Rolling Stone noted: "Alf too often founders because of its disappointingly unimaginative arrangements. Throughout the record, Moyet's voice rings out vigorously enough, but Swain and Jolley have cloaked it in layers of dinky-sounding keyboards and dopey percussion. Their woefully banal instrumental accompaniment doesn't smother Moyet's voice but neither does it provide any support for her gutty warbling. Alf doesn't grasp or accommodate its vocalist's strengths. In the end, Moyet has to pull much of this record out of the fire all by herself."[17] Cash Box commented: "Another in the latest breed of vocalists from the United Kingdom, Alison Moyet features a more powerful delivery than Sade, and the new wave dance slant of such cuts as "Love Resurrection" and current torch-song single "Invisible" should make Moyet a prime candidate for crossover success."[14]

In a retrospective review, Stewart Mason of AllMusic summarised: "Hooking up with Bananarama's producers, Tony Swain and Steve Jolley, Moyet delivers an enormous, walloping mid-'80s pop sound that constantly threatens to overwhelm both the songs, which are a mixed bag, and occasionally even the formidably voiced singer herself. Several tracks make it through the production mill unscathed, notably the singles "All Cried Out" and "Love Resurrection," but the album's pinnacle is the remarkable "Invisible," a soulful shouter that's among the great R&B pop singles of the '80s. Some of the other tracks would benefit from less-overbearing production, most notably the chilling "Where Hides Sleep," making Alf one of those albums that sounds better once the listener has mentally undressed the songs a bit."[13]

Speaking of the 2016 deluxe edition, Attitude magazine writer Josh Lee stated: "Switching from the synth-pop she'd made with Vince Clarke to a mainstream pop sound fashioned by the writing/producing duo of Steve Jolley and Tony Swain, Moyet sang the hell out of hits like "Love Resurrection", "All Cried Out" and "Invisible" on a long-player that sounds just as fresh and bright today. The deluxe edition remastering helps, but three-plus decades later the songs still stand up as pop classics."[18] Gay Times magazine writer Darren Howard wrote: "Listening to Alf now, it still holds up. As with any Alison Moyet record you expect amazing vocals and you definitely get that here, the quality of the song-writing is high and the production hasn't dated, it's still a classic album and is only enhanced by the extra tracks included on this deluxe edition."[19]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Alison Moyet, Steve Jolley and Tony Swain, except "Invisible" by Lamont Dozier.

No. Title Length
1. "Love Resurrection" 3:52
2. "Honey for the Bees" 4:12
3. "For You Only" 4:01
4. "Invisible" 4:00
5. "Steal Me Blind" 3:17
6. "All Cried Out" 6:49
7. "Money Mile" 3:43
8. "Twisting the Knife" 3:27
9. "Where Hides Sleep" 4:18

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1984-85) Peak
position
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[20] 9
Canadian Albums Chart[21] 12
Dutch Albums Chart[22] 3
German Albums Chart[23] 5
New Zealand Albums Chart[24] 1
Norwegian Albums Chart[25] 3
Swedish Albums Chart[26] 11
Swiss Albums Chart[27] 2
UK Albums Chart[28] 1
US Billboard 200[6] 45

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1985) Position
Australian Albums Chart[29] 33
New Zealand Albums Chart[24] 7
UK Albums Chart[30] 11

Personnel[edit]

Production[edit]

  • Produced by Steve Jolley & Tony Swain
  • Recorded, engineered and mixed by Richard Lengyel (at Odyssey Studios, London, England; assisted by Roger Dobson)
  • Mastered by Vlado Meller (at CBS Recording Studios, New York City)
  • Simon Fowler – photography
  • Rob O'Connor (Stylo Rouge) – artwork (design/art direction)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Record News". NME. London, England: IPC Media: 42. 10 November 1984. 
  2. ^ "Alf Deluxe". Retrieved 2017-03-17. 
  3. ^ a b c Alf - 2016 deluxe edition CD booklet liner notes
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 September 2016. Retrieved 2017-05-13. 
  5. ^ "The Brit Awards". everyHit.com. Retrieved 2017-04-05. 
  6. ^ a b "Alison Moyet - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-04-05. 
  7. ^ "Billboard - Google Books". Books.google.com. 1994-02-19. Retrieved 2017-11-03. 
  8. ^ "Alison Moyet - For You Only / Money Mile - Columbia - USA - 38-05614". 45cat. Retrieved 2017-04-05. 
  9. ^ "Billboard - Google Books". Books.google.com. 1985-11-02. Retrieved 2017-11-03. 
  10. ^ "Alison Moyet - For You Only (New Version) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2017-04-05. 
  11. ^ Steffen Hung. "germancharts.com - Alison Moyet - For You Only". Germancharts.de. Retrieved 2017-04-05. 
  12. ^ "Alf –". Alisonmoyet.com. 1984-11-05. Retrieved 2017-04-05. 
  13. ^ a b AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason. "Alf - Alison Moyet | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-04-05. 
  14. ^ a b Cash Box newspaper - 23 March 1985 - Album Reviews - page 10
  15. ^ "Alison Moyet: Alf | Raindancing | Hoodoo | Essex Deluxe Editions - album reviews". Louder Than War. 2016-11-30. Retrieved 2017-04-01. 
  16. ^ a b Pearson, Deanne (10 November 1984). "Album reviews". Number One magazine. 
  17. ^ a b Alison Moyet (1985-04-25). "Alison Moyet: Alf : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Archived from the original on 2007-12-10. Retrieved 2017-04-05. 
  18. ^ "Album review | Alison Moyet: 'Alf', 'Raindancing', 'Hoodoo' & 'Essex' Deluxe Editions | Attitude Magazine". Attitude.co.uk. 2016-11-25. Retrieved 2017-04-01. 
  19. ^ "Review: Alison Moyet Special Editions". Gay Times. 2016-11-15. Retrieved 2017-04-01. 
  20. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). St. Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 306. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.  N.B. the Kent Report chart was licensed by ARIA between mid 1983 and 19 June 1988.
  21. ^ "Results: RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 2017-04-05. 
  22. ^ Steffen Hung. "Alison Moyet - Alf". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 2017-04-05. 
  23. ^ Steffen Hung. "germancharts.com - Alison Moyet - Alf". Germancharts.de. Retrieved 2017-04-05. 
  24. ^ a b Steffen Hung. "Alison Moyet - Alf". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 2017-04-05. 
  25. ^ Steffen Hung. "Alison Moyet - Alf". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 2017-04-05. 
  26. ^ Steffen Hung. "Alison Moyet - Alf". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 2017-04-05. 
  27. ^ Steffen Hung. "Alison Moyet - Alf". hitparade.ch. Retrieved 2017-04-05. 
  28. ^ "ALISON MOYET | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. 2017-03-31. Retrieved 2017-04-05. 
  29. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  30. ^ "Top Albums of 1985". everyHit.com. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Hits 1 by Various Artists
UK number one album
19 January 1985 – 26 January 1985
Succeeded by
Agent Provocateur by Foreigner