Holly Johnson - Dreams That Money Can’t Buy

Second solo release, with extended mixes and promos

There’s an argument that
Johnson’s initial solo career
mirrored that of his time with
Frankie Goes To Hollywood; ie,
a debut album full of ideas
and vitality followed by a
second with very little going
for it. Certainly, 1991’s
Dreams… was lacking the
joyousness of Blast from two
years earlier, though that may
be partly due to the singer’s
deteriorating relationship with
his label.

Johnson had split from
MCA by the time the record
hit the shops, citing a lack of
financial or promotional
support, and the album
proved to be a lacklustre
swansong. Both Across The
Universe and Where Has Love
Gone? come across as half-formed
synth dance workouts,
their elevation to single
status baffling. Johnson is
said to have wanted Penny
Arcade as a 45, and its
staccato energy (shades of
ABC) is infinitely more suited
to daytime radio play.

There’s little variation in
the overall sound, the drama
of Johnson’s voice struggling
to find comfort in the
soulless, mechanical
rhythms, only ever making a
strong impression on the
tropical pop of Boyfriend ’65,
a fun duet with Kirsty

2 stars 2 stars

Cherry Red | SFE 010 T (2-CD+DVD)

Reviewed by Terry Staunton
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