Wednesday, September 12, 2012

EBTG Week: The First Album

You may be asking yourself the following questions: "Why in the world didn't this guy just call this post 'Eden,' and where is the Jane Fox artwork?" There is an explanation. Here in America, Everything But The Girl's first album was self-titled and released by Sire. That's the cover for it you see above. 'Eden' was released by Blanco Y Negro in the UK and other parts of Europe. The differences in name and physical look was nothing compared to the tracklists. For me, this was all moot.

I imagine there were quite a few in-the-know American college students that knew there were two vastly different EBTG albums in 1984, but I was a 14 year old who knew of the band only because Tracey Thorn was that wonderful voice on the Style Council's "The Paris Match." It was several years before I would see 'Eden' for sale as a very expensive import at a local record store. "What in the world is this," I asked myself. By the second time I saw it, I realized what 'Eden' was and that any self-respecting American fan needed both versions of their debut. So, although most fans call 'Eden' the band's debut, I see things differently. I have always preferred 'Everything But The Girl' because, for years, I didn't know any better. The American version stuck.

Of the 12 songs on the self-titled debut, half of them appeared on 'Eden.' Since 'Eden' also had 12 songs, you can seen the albums were like "night and day." (Get it, old-school fans?) The major inclusions to the American version were the UK singles "Mine" and "Native Land." Back in the day, in my opinion, it was important to have both versions. With the 2012 reissue campaign by Edsel, this no longer matters. If you buy the new 'Eden,' you can have all of the songs (and more) as a two-disc deluxe edition.

EBTG's debut was quite successful. 'Eden' went Gold and spawned its first Top 30 hit with "Each and Every One." It could have been even bigger. The album was shelved for a year during the label switch, and this was during the height of the sophista-pop movement. The jazz-infused sound that took the music scene by storm was already winding down by the time the record was finally released. Let's also not forget the duo was still busy at university when the album came out. When BBC television came calling for a performance of "Each and Every One," they had to decline because it was time for exams. Can you imagine?

This is my favorite moment in the EBTG canon. It's a tremendous extension of the duo's solo albums, but the production and instrumentation was a huge move forward. The lyrics are complex and often sad... just the kind of thing a melancholy teen from the cow pastures of Illinois would gravitate to.

Everything But The Girl - Each and Every One (mp3)

Up Next: My favorite EBTG songs from the rest of the '80s


Echorich said...

BIG UP for picking the eponymous American debut over Eden. I whole-heartedly agree. For me the must have track is the b-side of Each and Everyone - Laugh You Out The House. It fused their sophisti-pop jazz and singer/songwriter solo sounds perfectly and clocks in at well under 3 minutes. PERFECTION!
I didn't pick up Eden until 1986 when I was in London and Baby The Stars Shines Bright was getting a major push in HMV, Virgin and Tower. I have nothing bad to say about Eden, but I also have the American release imprinted in my brain.

Brian said...

Ooh, good call Echorich. I like that one, too.