27 June 2008

"strange but true" || times two || 1988

This is a lost gem from the era of late '80s power-pop.

Times Two evidently hit it big with their cover of the Simon & Garfunkel song "Cecilia," but after hearing this track I'm not really sure why this wasn't a bigger success. It's a much better song, with a catchier hook and a sound that was more fitting to that time. This has powerful bass & synth and sounds more like a rock song than "Cecilia," which leans toward a poppy reggae sound.

The songs on this album were very obviously written with a lot of care. The songwriters and producers really took their time to produce something special, and for that reason it stands out to me as more than a silly pop album. They were trying to appeal to several different crowds of listeners, and the result that they created is somewhat of a pop music smorgasbord. In addition to the power-pop of this track, "Hey Mr. D.J.," and "3 Into 2," and the reggae tones of "Cecilia," we hear glorious pop ballads that are quite soulful in "Only My Pillow Knows" and "L.O.D." They even tap into youthful electro energy on "Romeo," which could have easily been a floorfiller at school dances.

The album is very obviously geared toward emotional youth, but that doesn't make it any less brilliant. It's incredibly well written and well produced, and I'm sad that we never got to see a followup.

Maybe "Strange But True" was a big radio hit on the coasts, as I hadn't ever heard it until I got this single in a lot of 7-inch singles that I bought on eBay about a year ago. I'm honestly surprised that it's not heard on the radio today on '80s flashback stations, as it seems like a perfect sign of the times, in addition to being a quality pop song.


Available On:
X2Reprise9 25624-2CD


kevinduran said...

"Strange But True" was actually their only Top 40 hit, and can still be seen on Vh-1 Classic. "Cecilia" was a single, but it wasn't a hit.

They did have a follow-up- an EP called "Danger Is My Business" that was released by EMI Records. A second entire album called "Hi Fi and Mighty" was recorded, but was never released when the duo broke up due to management issues.

Sebastian said...

Man, you guys are talking about one of my all-time favourite groups here. "X2" was so painstakingly written and produced; it's a real shame it didn't perform better.

My main reason for commenting is to let you guys know that some years back I happened upon a promo cassette copy of the 14-track album "Hi-Fi & Mighty." It has basic black-and-white artwork and says "Advance Cassette" on the cover. Inside the J card is some press-release-type info on the duo.

So apparently SOME promo copies were distributed. I feel lucky to have found this copy, as I've never seen another one before or since!

Melody said...

I am so thrilled that there are others that remember Times Two. I thought I was the only one. since most of my friends never heard of them. I still listen to their music today. I was lucky to stumble upon the japanese import of Hi-Fi & Mighty on CD, this was not released in U.S. I believe it is a very good CD, with alot of catchy songs.

It is sad that the duo broke up, since it would've been nice to hear what they couldive put out next. The main singer Shanti Jones, has put out several cds under the name "Sex and reverb" which has a 60's sound and is very good. You can find it on CD baby.

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