Kim Wilde - Here Come The Aliens (Review)

Martin_Canine KIM WILDE
Here Come the Aliens

Well, who’d have thought that? When she left us off in 2011 with a lackluster cover album whose new interpretations of classic pop music didn’t quite ooze with imagination, it seemed as if the bite that the duo Ricky and Kim Wilde, better known by the latter’s name (ever since her debut, her brother Ricky was the driving creative force, later on they worked as a songwriting duo), that brought us new wave masterpieces such as the war themed Cambodia or the dramatic View from a Bridge, next to such rockers as Chequered Love or their all time signature song Kids in America, has been gone forever. Wilde’s 2000s works were a solid afterglow of her brilliant successes in the 20th century, but it already hinted at the fact her heydays, from her self titled album to Now and Forever, may be over.

But then, Here Come the Aliens comes along. Unexpectedly. Without much advertisement. But at least in the countries she’s most popular in it worked, at number 21 she got herself a decent chart position in the UK, and just barely missed the top ten in Germany, and that without a hit single or overwhelming media presence. And you know why? Because it’s freakin’ new wave. And it’s sounds just as strong and energetic as in the good old ‘80s.

Wilde always had a punk rather than a pop vibe. The dynamic percussion, the way instruments were used and the singer’s rock-ish vocals resembled the feel of Blondie rather than that of her later collaborator Nena. All that comes back on Here Come the Aliens, but sometimes more ambitiously. On some songs, there’s a chorus backing up the singer, and throughout the entire experience there’s this feeling the The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders of Mars album was stuck on replay during the writing process. And that surely had positive effect on the result: the album is just as good as Kim Wilde’s output from 35 years ago. In fact, at parts it beats some of her classics. The main difference between this record and Wilde’s 2000s output is that it has her going back to the roots, without trying to adapt a modern sound that is likely to enter the international charts. The percussions and synths are not only just as dazzling as on her debut, they are used in the exact same fashion, and play structures and sound pattern we know best from nostalgic compilation box sets. Many albums of the 21st century drew inspiration from the ‘80s, but this is the first modern album that truly feels as if you’re holding a 30 year old work in your hands, starting from the cover art that resembles ‘50s scifi flicks (we remember Nena devoting an entire song to cinema of that era on her debut), and ending with the video game and computer keyboard sound effects that come straight from another period of time, when words like “cyberspace” sounded cutting edge.

But that’s not to say that the album only works for lovers of nostalgia, although it is best suited for them. Cyber. Nation. War. for example aims at how the internet’s anonymity increases hatred and bullying, a topic that’s perfectly suited for modern times, and while 1969 starts off as a cool ode to old black and white TV, it actually digs deeper under the surface in the second verse and lays open the message many of these films actually had in store for us that are now often forgotten. Gort and Klaatu weren’t just there for fun, they actually had a meaning. I am not sure whether Kim and Ricky Wilde actually do believe in aliens or only use them for aesthetic reasons, and to be honest, I don’t care. There are more worrisome conspiracy theories than that, and if the outcome is THAT magnificent and electrifying, then please, write an entire science fiction rock opera and be dead serious about it. I’ll dig it.


NOTE: I upgrade the rating to 5 stars. - Martin_Canine