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 MacColl.