Eurythmics-Sweet Dreams (1983)
|Year Of Production||1983|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Derek Burbidge|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, closing titles over music video|
Ahh, which child of the eighties would not remember the Eurythmics? In a decade of gender-bending featuring pop stars/groups such as Marilyn, Boy George/Culture Club, and Pete Burns/Dead or Alive, along came Annie Lennox to prove that if boys could be girls, well girls could also cross the gender divide. Accompanied by laid-back Dave Stewart (who looked as if he was permanently out of it - later on it turned out he was stoned most of the time!), the duo crafted some of the most popular and memorable pop tunes that resided in many an aging baby boomer's CD collection.
Annie and Dave were unusual in that they did not, as one might expect, fall in love and then decide to form a band. In fact, they fell in love, broke up, and then decided to form a band. Although they had been performing since the late 70s (in a band called The Tourists) it was not until they reformed into a band called Eurythmics that they achieved fame and success through their second album Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) - including the single of the same name. The video of the single featured Annie with a haircut that would make a US Marine drill sergeant proud - except for the shocking red colour - and a look and feel that blended surreal euro-pop with a pulsating dance beat and an extremely hummable melody.
Annie's gender-bending experiments continued with "Who's That Girl" (with a video clip featuring her kissing a male version of herself) - MTV reportedly demanded to see her birth certificate so that she could prove that she was female. A number of other hits followed including "Love Is a Stranger," "Right by Your Side," and "Here Comes the Rain Again" and viewers were treated to bizarre images of Annie wearing wigs to look like Marilyn Monroe (and somehow inexplicably looking like a girl trying to look like a guy trying to look like a girl). However, by the early 90s the duo had all but disappeared from the music scene. In 1998, the duo surprised everyone by reuniting and even released an album called Peace in 1999.
This video, entitled the "Sweet Dreams Video Album," was originally broadcast on MTV and partly filmed at a night club called "Heaven" in London in May 1983. It features Annie and Dave with a relatively new band line-up:
Reportedly the video was released against Dave and Annie's wishes as they weren't pleased with the performance - Annie had been ill and the new band did not have enough rehearsal time.
The video opens with a surreal scene involving a music agent (Norman Bacon) being confronted by a tall man (Stephen Calcutt) who looks like he is straight out of the Black Lodge in Twin Peaks. The video then segues into the "concert" at Heaven, featuring Annie and Dave in a very eighties environment - full of pulsating disco balls, laser beams, lots and lots of fat analogue synth sounds, and big bouffy frizzy hairstyles. Dave looks like he's in another world as usual and Annie looks striking in her two piece suit complete with garters.
The band performs dance versions of 5 songs (including an almost unrecognisable "I've Got An Angel") for about half an hour. We are reminded of Annie's classical training when she picks up a flute during "Never Gonna Cry Again". Then we get two music videos (presented in 1.66:1 letterboxed) of "Love Is a Stranger" and "Who's That Girl". After that, we get the band performing a few songs in a loft studio with a Gospel choir and a grand piano (played by Howard Hughes), and we're back in the second half of the concert again. The video ends with the music video of "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" and the closing credits.
|1. This Is The House|
2. Never Gonna Cry Again
3. Take Me To Your Heart
4. I’ve Got An Angel
5. Satellite Of Love
6. Love Is A Stranger
7. Who’s That Girl?
8. This City Never Sleeps
10. Sweet Dreams
11. I Could Give You (A Mirror)
12. Somebody Told Me
13. Wrap It Up
14. Tous Les Garcons Et Les Filles
15. Sweet Dreams
This is a full frame transfer from an old analogue video source.
The usual composite analogue video artefacts such as dot crawl, chroma noise, colour bleeding and cross colouration are present, as well as a substantial amount of MPEG compression artefacting including Gibb's effect ringing, pixelization and macro blocking (particularly in any scenes which are predominantly in black and white). There is also a fair amount of low level video noise present.
Detail levels are low but consistent with the video source and the low lighting levels in the night club. Sometimes, though, I wish there was less detail, such as the fillings in Annie's mouth which are clearly visible in extreme close ups. Colour saturation is at the garish end of the scale - lots of it but not particularly accurate. Black levels are fairly poor.
There is an optional subtitle track that provides MTV-like credits at the beginning of each song. The disc itself is single sided and single layered.
There is only one audio track on this disc, but surprisingly it is in English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded (192Kb/s). I did not expect surround encoding technology to be widely in use in 1983, so the surround encoding flag was probably turned on in error. Using Dolby Pro Logic, I can definitely detect faint traces of musical ambience in the rear channels, but this could be due to out-of-phase information created by tape head misalignment.
The audio track is listenable, but only just. Let's just say it is consistent with the quality you might expect from a videotape recorded in the early eighties. The sound is slightly "phasy" but sounds reasonably full-bodied. Both low and extreme high frequencies have been attenuated.
I did not notice any issues with audio synchronisation. Dialogue at the beginning of the video (particularly that spoken by the tall man) sounds rather muffled and difficult to understand but I did not have any problems understanding Annie's lyrics.
|Surround Channel Use|
This disc does not have any extras, although the menu offers a "random play" option which is somewhat unusual.
Full frame and static.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
As far as I can tell, this disc has yet to be released in Region 1.
Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams Video Album will certainly bring back memories to those of us who grew up in the eighties, but this video is not representative of their best performances - by their own admission. The video and audio quality is mediocre but consistent with the analogue video source. There are no extras.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-626D, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Front and rears: B&W CDM7NT; centre: B&W CDMCNT; subwoofer: B&W ASW2500|