In 1990, when young Australians came to the UK, they didn’t head for the nearest pub in search of employment, they called Pete Waterman who would throw a few songs and a recording contract their way and chart domination followed.
We used to wind my brother up by saying he looked like Jason Donovan. He had blonde hair and that was the only resemblance. He was lucky! I got “Jack” because they claimed I looked like the bloke who played Jack in the lovable Scouse sitcom “Bread”…and I did, but that’s neither here nor there.
I never took to Jason Donovan. There’s a moment in the video for “Especially For You” where he’s got Kylie Minogue in his arms and he shoots a look to camera which says ‘look at this, how embarrassing’. Seriously! Even at the time I thought if you think you’re cooler that having a clinch with Kylie Minogue on camera then you REALLY have ideas above your station.
I met Jason Donovan a few years ago when my colleagues and I interviewed him about a play that no-one went to see in Bristol. He was not as forthcoming as we’d have liked, actually he was quite rude! He shot down every attempt to inject fun into the proceedings and I found him to be humourless, dull and very much presenting himself like he just didn’t want to be there. (In his defence, my colleagues were singing “Especially For You” at him during the interview.) So revisiting “Between The Lines” was always going to have an image of a lacklustre singer at the mic.
Now, at the age of 44, I’m finally ready to admit that I can be a musical snob. I like my music to have some attitude and a fire in the belly, and to be authentic.
Thinking back to the late 80’s and early 90’s I remember PWL records being crap, but “Between The Lines” surprised me, because I don’t remember them sounding so cheap.
The music sounds like a backing track in a karaoke bar that couldn’t be bothered to buy the Sunfly CD’s but knocked something vaguely like the same song up on a free app.
The whole 34 minutes just stinks of “can’t be arsed”, get it done and get it out, especially “Rhythm Of The Rain” and “I’m Doin’ Fine”.
I know they say that no-one goes out to make something bad, but all too often people are happy to make something that will “do” and that they know people will buy. That’s not good enough for me and this album feels like fans are being cheated but who cares, get the next one out.
Jason left the PWL factory after this and went to the West End to become Joseph…which I imagine he got bored of quite quickly as well.