Album Review: Wham! – The Final (25th Anniversary Edition)
Who can forget the eighties! Ok so it was a time that saw far too many fashion casualties, offered not only acceptance but also encouragement to some of the worst hair styles of all time and brought us some of music’s most displeasing however the decade also paved the way for synth based electro pop that has once again taken over today’s charts, filling the current music market. The eighties also gave us some of today’s most elite stars including a man who is responsible for some of the most moving ballads, iconic jazz standards and infectious pop records of the past 30 years – George Michael. But before the superstar became the iconic voice behind hits such as Fastlove, Jesus To A Child, Too Funky and Faith he was in a band that set the mark pretty high in terms of how pop records should sound and they went by the name of Wham!.
Wham! began back in 1982 and catapulted its members, vocalist George Michael and guitarist Andrew Ridgley, into the international spotlight with a catalogue of hits that created the soundtrack to a generation. Who can forget the swaying vocals and sultry sax melody of Careless Whisper or the bands infectious bubblegum pop loving Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. Guilty pleasure or diehard follower, Wham! touched the lives of everyone who had access to a radio, television or tape player for a solid five years. Unfortunately in 1986 Wham! decided to part ways and following the bands final iconic performance at London’s Wembley Arena they released a collection of greatest hits from the bands years and entitled it The Final.
Twenty five years on and Wham! are re-releasing The Final in a brand new glossy packaging which sees all of the bands hits put together once again in remastered form and this time the collection comes hand in hand with the videos to each of the bands singles throughout their time in the spotlight.
I’m sure back in the day nobody would have expected that these two hedonistic youngsters from Bushey would go on to become one of pops most iconic and era-defying musical staples but what they went on to achieve in their time is brought together once again in this remastered hits package. The Final stands as a collection of the bands worldwide successes and proves that the duo still remain one of the UK’s most acclaimed musical acts of all time.
Everything that you could wish for in a pop record is here. From the infectious pop thumping of Everything She Wants and Wake Me Up Before You Go Go with its ‘Choose Life’ mantra and the funky filling vocals of backing singers Pepsi and Shirley through to the seasonal standard Last Christmas, undoubtedly one of the greatest Christmas songs of all time and this time round in its ‘Pudding Mix’ form. It’s an expansive and exceptional collection that sees the classic Club Tropicana and the hook laden I’m Your Man sitting comfortably alongside classic ballads like Careless Whisper and A Different Corner showing off the bands talents at penning not only some of pops most candy coated additions but also some of the industry’s most sentimental and powerfully moving balladry.
The Final is the perfect addition to anyone’s music collection, in fact it is a must have for anyone with an appreciation for top quality pop whether it be for the happy melodies of Ridgley’s well crafted musicianship, the flawless, range and genre defying vocals of Michael or the incredible catalogue that the pair have penned and presented to us here in this collection. A perfect addition to anyone’s Christmas stocking this year.