17 Again


1999: RCA 74321 726262

  1. 17 Again
  2. Gospel Medley Recorded Live on the Peacetour
    (includes Ball & Chain, Would I Lie to You? & Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves)

17 Again


1999: RCA 74321 726272

  1. 17 Again
  2. Here Comes the Rain Again Recorded Live on the Peacetour
  3. Why Recorded Live on the Peacetour
  4. 17 Again The Video

Of all the tracks on these two singles, the “Gospel Medley” is the best, and it’s especially fine if you’ve watched it on the Peacetour concert video (or saw it live, as I had the wonderful experience of doing the week before this was filmed/recorded thanks to two generous friends, thank you again a million times over Cathleen & Peter). Not only is it a fine semi-“acoustic” set of three songs, it’s also a tremendously fun and exuberant one. “Ball and Chain” isn’t recognizable until Annie starts singing its lyrics, “Would I Lie To You” sneaks in sideways so slickly that the audience’s collective scream of recognition swells into the largely-stage-level mix, and “Sisters” gets not only a boisterous and thumping delivery from all involved (Joel Campbell notably thunderously hammering away on the grand piano in fine style) but also a delightful closing sequence where Annie goes all punk.

Plus which, despite (or because of) this being recorded on the final night of the Peacetour, Annie certainly goes all-out and memorably nails some of the higher notes she sometimes avoids in concert that are staples of the studio versions; she’s clearly having fun throughout the bulk of the concert (it’s hard to tell if she is when she’s playing part of a song melod-or-otherwise-dramatically, but it’s always good). “Sisters” therefore is freshly strong, benefitting not only from a four-woman vocal but also Annie bustin’ for every bit of it at full bore.

This recording of “Why” (which was a surprise to us at the concert I saw, given that it was a solo-career-Annie song) is awfully intense and intimate, showcasing both Dave & Annie (and the audience, sometimes, when they can’t help it), but its most arresting and thrilling moment is when they approach the second chorus and Annie sings “…turning inside out…tell me…why…” and there is almost dead silence in the audience in anticipation of what’s to come (which is more angrily frank than they expect, when it comes).

As for the title track, I was intrigued by it via its lyrics first, as Eurythmics preceded the release of Peace (and their momentary reappearance as a creative nucleus) with a website featuring teasers from the lyrics of “17 Again” (specifically the final verse, in three stages), and when I finally got to listen to the song itself I was impressed more by its personal heft than by its musical appeal. As Annie says in the filmed Peacetour concert introduction to this song, “this is a loovely song about the two of us.” And it truly is, with slight adjustments to the story to accomodate better lyrics (the reference to the airplane, for example, in which they “should have jumped out of that airplane after all,” whereas it’s a specific reference to worthless-stain-on-the-planet Julie Burchill’s exhortation that it would be best if Eurythmics died in a plane crash (the implication being “…soon”).

The song may or may not work for you as recorded, whether on the LP or on the Peacetour video, but believe me (I’ll make it, make it) it worked in concert: not only was it frankly acknowledged and intimately-if-cagily worded as being autobiographical of the two who were presenting it, it was solidly and delightfully underlined by the display on the big video screens above and behind the stage, which showed a slowed-down and slightly tweaked version of the gloriously relentless video montage which opens their Greatest Hits video. Thus during the concert you got the live individuals, an assortment of their video-history visuals, and the context of the immediate concert, all at once, wherever you looked. It was a little surreal, and I liked the effect very much.

I saved the “other-best” for last, that is “Here Comes the Rain Again,” which mostly got a straighforward “acoustic” presentation by just D&A on guitar and vocals respectively. But just when it seems the song’s going to progress predictably toward its end, however artistically, suddenly D&A break into a stuttering, rhythmic remix for just four bars—enough to startle but still within the flow…which is a delicious demonstration of their artistry and their subtle command of the music they’ve created, in my book. I love it when they take their own works and spin them around on unexpected axes; they haven’t shown us that side of Eurythmics in a long time, but I know it’s there and I *LOVE* it. MORE!!!