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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Dalbello - 1984 WhoManFourSays
Dalbello - 1984 WhoManFourSays

ARTIST: Dalbello
ALBUM: WhoManFourSays
SERIAL: ST-12318
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 1984, Capitol (Canada), C2 48991


LINEUP: Dalbello - vocals, bass, keyboards, drums * Mick Ronson- guitars, bass, keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Gonna Get Close To You * 02 Devious Nature * 03 She Pretends * 04 Wait For An Answer * 05 Animal * 06 Cardinal Sin * 07 Guilty By Association * 08 Path Of Least Resistance * 09 Target (My Eyes Are Aimed At You)


Born Lisa Dal Bello, the Canadian singer released three R&B influenced pop albums between 1977 and 1981 with a fair amount of success, including a coveted Juno award her first time out. From the outside looking in Lisa's future looked bright although lurking behind the soulful diva facade was a tortured artist yearning to break free from the image and musical path she willingly pursued. After the 'Drastic Measures' album which didn't exactly set Canada on fire; Dal Bello took a couple years off to reassess her career and focused on writing poetry. Meeting up with former David Bowie cohort Mick Ronson, the creative flood gates opened and dropping Lisa for the shortened Dalbello (this was the era of Madonna after all) the one eighty degree transformation the music had taken with 'Whomanfoursays' (Human Forces) was stunning.

The Songs
I always fall head over heels for women who stretch the boundaries of popular music and whatever you want to call this album-art rock or avant pop; Dalbello elevated her stature to the level of Kate Bush, Laurie Anderson, Nico, Catherine Ribeiro and other groundbreaking femme fatales. Yes, 'Whomanfoursays' is not an album based solely on the AOR template but is typical of its time with heavy use of synth and 80's production techniques while the music is jagged, at times abrasive, filled with dark layers of mood, shade and really comparable to no one. Queensryche thought enough of the opening track 'Gonna Get Close To You' to cover the song for their 1986 opus 'Rage For Order', upping the tempo a notch but still holding true to the original. Take your pick, both versions are excellent. Next up 'Devious Nature' and a prime example of Dalbello's profound experimentation with an unusual bridge featuring music box sounds, haunting children's voices and a catchy chorus that's wonderfully disturbing. Further into the album I have to wonder if Alanis Morissette modeled her own mid-career change on 'Animal' as the vocal similarities are uncanny. There is guitar present although Ronson's role is more about texture than out-and-out soloing as keyboards are used beyond just filling space and provide enough size and colour to dominate what is a 'must own' for those who like their music left of center.

In Summary
1987 saw the release of 'She' which is equally outstanding and gave Dalbello a couple hit singles with 'Black On Black' and 'Tango' although all was silent until 1996 with 'Whore' which took a darker alternative turn, but still very much worth owning. In recent years Dalbello has concentrated on producing, writing for other artists and voice-over work for television.

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#1 | gdazegod on February 02 2013 13:23:10
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#2 | richardb on January 06 2014 21:57:12
I found this a little bit too experimental for my tastes compared to "Drastic Measures"

There's no denying the quality of her vocals though and the latent power of "Gonna get close to you"
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