What a Life! (album)

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For the Gloria Gaynor album, see The Answer (album).
What a Life!
DivinylsWhatALife!.jpg
Studio album by Divinyls
Released 1985
Recorded 1983-1985
Genre Rock, new wave, pub rock, pop rock
Length 40:00
Label Chrysalis
Producer Mike Chapman, Gary Langan, Mark Opitz
Divinyls chronology
Desperate
(1983)
What a Life!
(1985)
Temperamental
(1988)
Singles from What a Life!
  1. "Casual Encounter"
    Released: August 1983
  2. "Good Die Young"
    Released: August 1984
  3. "In My Life"
    Released: November 1984
  4. "Pleasure and Pain"
    Released: 1985
  5. "Sleeping Beauty"
    Released: December 1985
  6. "Heart Telegraph"
    Released: May 1986

What a Life! is the second studio album by Australian band Divinyls, released in July 1985 by Chrysalis Records. The album is a genre of rock and new wave songs—written by Divinyls members Christina Amphlett and Mark McEntee.

History[edit]

After touring and promoting in the United States, Divinyls came back to Australia to begin the follow-up to Desperate, with Mark Opitz producing again. They produced three songs including "Don't You Go Walking" and "Motion" but Amphlett and McEntee were not satisfied so they returned to the road, replacing drummer Richard Harvey with J.J. Harris, and wrote more songs. A year later they again tried recording, this time with the producer Gary Langan who was the founding member of the band Art of Noise. He brought a sophisticated, high-tech edge to Divinyls' sound, but a full album failed to get done. Recording stopped once more.[1]

Eventually, Amphlett and McEntee made a journey to Los Angeles, where they asked pop producer Mike Chapman to come back with them to Australia and finish their second album. Chapman ended up producing only two songs: "Pleasure and Pain" (which he also co-wrote with Holly Knight) and "Sleeping Beauty". The album was released almost two years after recording began. It reached No.4 in Australia and No.91 in the US, while "Pleasure and Pain" hit No.11 in Australia and the lower reaches of the Top 100 in the US. Two later singles, "Sleeping Beauty" and "Heart Telegraph", charted moderately in Australia but did little in the US. Despite its Australian success, Chrysalis declared the album a failure.[1]

Reception[edit]

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

Rolling Stone described the music as "loud and hard-edged, as purely physical as any metal band, but tempered with ... swaggering rowdiness". Ram magazine noted the band's writing had a newfound maturity, "verbalising adult fears and lingering adolescent yearnings".[1] AllMusic's later review said many of the album tracks were hardly memorable and that the band's best strengths lay both in Amphlett's unique vocal delivery, and McEntee's bottom-heavy, grungy, guitar work.

Track listing[edit]

Australian release[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Pleasure and Pain" Mike Chapman, Holly Knight Mike Chapman 3:55
2. "Sleeping Beauty" Christina Amphlett, Mark McEntee Mike Chapman 3:38
3. "Good Die Young" Amphlett, McEntee Gary Langan 3:36
4. "Guillotine Day" Bjarne Ohlin Gary Langan 3:08
5. "Talk Like the Rain" Amphlett, McEntee Charles Fisher 3:07
6. "Heart Telegraph" Amphlett, McEntee Gary Langan 4:48
7. "Old Radios" Amphlett, McEntee Gary Langan 4:06
8. "In My Life" Amphlett, McEntee Gary Langan 3:43
9. "Para-Dice" McEntee, Rick Grossman Gary Langan 3:53
10. "What a Life!" Amphlett, McEntee Mark McEntee, Charles Fisher 4:03
11. "Dear Diary" Bjarne Ohlin Gary Langan 4:25

US release[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Pleasure and Pain" Mike Chapman, Holly Knight Mike Chapman 3:55
2. "Don't You Go Walking" Mark McEntee Mark Opitz 5:58
3. "Good Die Young" Amphlett, McEntee Gary Langan 3:36
4. "Sleeping Beauty" Christina Amphlett, McEntee Mike Chapman 3:38
5. "Motion" Amphlett, McEntee Mark Opitz 3:36
6. "In My Life" Amphlett, McEntee Gary Langan 3:43
7. "Casual Encounter" Amphlett, McEntee Mark Opitz 3:05
8. "Heart Telegraph" Amphlett, McEntee Gary Langan 4:48
9. "Guillotine Day" Bjarne Ohlin Gary Langan 3:08
10. "Dear Diary" Bjarne Ohlin Gary Langan 4:25

Charts[edit]

Chart (1985) Peak
position
Australian ARIA Albums Chart 4
US Billboard 200 91

Personnel[edit]

  • Christina Amphlett — vocals, writer
  • Mark McEntee — vocals, guitar, keyboards, writer
  • Richard Harvey — drums
  • Bjarne Ohlin — vocals, guitar, keyboards, writer
  • Rick Grossman — bass, writer
  • Rick Chadwick — keyboards, programming
  • Mars Lazaar — keyboards, programming
  • Mary Bradfield Taylor — background vocals
  • Simon Darlow — keyboards, programming
  • Charles Fisher — producer, mixer
  • Mike Chapman — producer, writer
  • Gary Langan — producer
  • Mark Opitz — producer
  • Tom Colley — engineer
  • John Bee — engineer
  • Richard Meuke — engineer

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Chrissy Amphlett & Larry Writer, "Pleasure and Pain: My Life", Hodder Australia, 2005.
  2. ^ Allmusic review