I first became aware of Kim Wilde on hearing her cover of The Supremes’ hit, You Keep Me Hanging On. I hadn’t actually heard the original, or, in fact, did I know that it was a cover version at all. But that was to be the start of a love affair that would stretch across the decades. Since then, her music has soundtracked my life. There’s a Kim Wilde song for every great family holiday, every night out, every break-up. Whilst that was the point of her career I came in, the hits, of course, stretched much further back than that. I came to hear all the earlier singles on her 1993 hits collection, The Singles Collection 81 – 93. Each one of those tracks are timeless classics that have been on repeat since making their way into my collection.
Her debut single Kids in America was released 40 years ago, and is still her biggest and most loved hit. Who can forget those images of a young spiky haired Wilde, in stripy top and blazer. She could never have known then how iconic that look would become, or how many hits would follow.
To celebrate her forty strong years in the business, Wilde releases a new hits collection. And what a collection it is. Pop Don’t Stop will be made available in two different versions; the two disc hits collection, and the seven disc collectors boxset. The latter is a truly comprehensive collection, featuring five audio discs and two DVDs. It covers songs from her debut self-titled album, right up to singles from her latest album Here Come The Aliens. There are radio edits, remixes, B-sides and videos galore. Everything a Kim Wilde fan could ever need is included. It also works as a great introduction to anyone wanting to hear more from this legendary singer’s back catalogue.
The hits flowed freely throughout the eighties and early nineties, with huge tracks like Chequered Love, Another Step and If I Can’t Have You making waves in the chart. But then the unthinkable happened, and Wilde retired from her music career, in favour of her other passion for gardening. But you can’t keep a good woman down. Her triumphant return to music came with her album Never Say Never, and she hasn’t looked back since. Still an actively touring and compelling live act, she’s had a string of new album since returning, with no signs of slowing down.
Throughout the years, she’s changed her sound to keep up with the times. From the dark electronic sound of her early hits, to the more rock flavoured sound of her latest album, with a few detours along the way.
Her album Close, from 1988, featured some of her biggest hits. You Came, Four Letter Word and Never Trust a Stranger gave her a string of top ten hits, an achievement that sadly didn’t continue on the other albums that would follow. But there were some killer tracks from those eras all the same. It’s Here and Time from 1990’s Love Moves should have been huge hits. Breaking Away and This I Swear were taken from the 1995’s Now & Forever, and took her down a more soulful, R&B route. They may not be well known songs to the more casual fan, but they deserve their inclusion on this collection just as much.
The big hits are split between the first two CDs, with an additional singles disc and B-sides collection as part of the collector’s boxset. There’s also an album of remixes, featuring the epic Oakenfold mix of Cambodia. If you only get the two CD edition, then it’s worth downloading this mix all the same – a true club classic, mixing the styles of two music legends.
There’s a couple of new tracks too, thrown into the mix. They’re both collaborations, but her duet partners couldn’t be more different. She’s teamed up with fellow eighties stalwart Boy George on the haunting Shine on. Kim recently contributed vocals on Tom Aspaul’s Black Country Discothèque, and he returns the favour by teaming up with her again on You’re my Karma; a more traditional, yet highly uplifting pop track. Both of which are far removed from the rockier sound of her last studio album.
Pop Don’t Stop serves as a wonderful reminder of the tracks that made Wilde such a huge star, yet also looks ahead to the future. If you’ve listened to any of her more recent releases, it’s clear that she is still an an artist a lot to offer. This collection covers the whole spectrum. It may have been forty years since the release of that iconic first single, but it still sounds as fresh today, and I’ve got the feeling there’s a lot yet more to come.
Pop Don’t Stop is out on August 6th, as a two CD Greatest Hits, of a seven disc collectors edition