Album Reviews of the 80s

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The Go-Betweens, "16 Lovers Lane" / 1989 Review by: Laurent Meese
Can you survive a broken heart? Back in 1989 when the Go-Betweens released their 16 Lovers Lane, their sixth and best album in their career I was a dreamy student constant in search for true love. So when I discovered this record, it was like finding the perfect soundtrack for my high ambitions. The romantic, bittersweet songs of this Australian band are all about love and failing relationships. Love as a comfort ("Quiet Heart"), an eternal ideal ("Love Goes On"), an inevitability ("You Can't Say No Forever"), and a vestige of beauty in a desolate world ("I know with you/ I've never seen the devil's eye").

The key track of the album is "Love Is A Sign". Here is love an eternal symbol found in art and routed in reality. Mandolins and a string orchestra (thanks to Amanda Brown) keep weeping while oboes and keyboards provide the quit and sophisticated atmosphere. Songwriters (or should I say poets?) Robert Forster and Grant McLennan continue to croon about sheltered and lonely places. Lindy Morrison's drums sound cooler than ever.

Best know song on the album is ‘Streets of your town’, a song that can make you smile even on a rainy Sunday afternoon. ‘Quit heart’ continues the emotionalism ‘I tried to tell you/ but I can only say when we’re apart / how I miss your quit, quit heart’ sings McLennan.

In 2003 there is a re-release of 16 Lovers Lane and now I know that you can survive a broken heart but it means that you have to move away and get on with your life. "If you spend your life looking behind you/You don't see what's up front." But being a foolish romantic soul I keep returning to 16 Lovers Lane. Humming along with ‘I’m alright’ and ‘You can’t say no forever’ laurent meese (Bruges, 14-nov-2003)

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