The year 1987 was a transitional year for music. New Wave was no longer ‘new’, Prince had changed the Soul, R&B and Funk landscape and Rock ‘n’ Roll was in the clutches of the big hair brigade (Glam Metal). For some, it was depressing, but if you were the adventurous sort, you could find so many bright lights between all the nooks and crannies. Mark Rogers (AKA Hollywood Beyond) was one of those artists whose musical output shone brighter than most. His blend of Pop and R&B walked the thin line between both genres yet didn’t fall victim to either. Released in 1987, Hollywood Beyond’s only full-length album, IF, was an album that should have appealed to those that adored Terence Trent D’Arby and other like-minded artists that forged their own paths while paying homage to their influences.
The album’s hit single “What’s The Colour Of Money” brought Hollywood Beyond a lot of attention, and the album became one of the most anticipated releases of the year. However, IF was so varied that it caught people off guard. Working with some of the era’s finest producers – Bernard Edwards (Chic), Marcus Miller (Luther Vandross, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis) and Stephen Hague (Pet Shop Boys, OMD) – the album was a mix of Soul and Pop with plenty of Synthpop influences (the intro of “Shadows I Remember” could have come from a Thompson Twins album!). The songs are all top notch, the production is flawless and Rogers’ vocals are passionate. And while it is unfair to compare this album to D’Arby’s, it seems that INTRODUCING THE HARDLINE ACCORDING TO TERENCE TRENT D’ARBY stole IF’s thunder. And that is a shame because IF still sounds great today. It is melodic, moody, and confident and sounds as smooth as silk. If you missed this album 31 years ago, this Expanded two CD edition on Cherry Red gives you the opportunity to make things right…
This expanded edition adds a bonus disc that contains a few non-album tracks, 7” edits and 12” extended mixes.
Keep on truckin’,
Stephen SPAZ Schnee