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Forty - Live

Thomas Dolby

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Album Review

A darling of early MTV (it seemed like you couldn't escape the channel's nonstop airing of his humorous "She Blinded Me with Science" clip circa 1982), Thomas Dolby subsequently carved a niche for himself, despite never replicating his initial commercial success. Originally issued as a limited-edition, home-packaged, signed and numbered release (of which only 1,000 were pressed), Dolby's 2003 effort, Forty, was later issued as a more readily available import. Recorded live over a pair of performances in California, this seven-track set shows that Dolby still has a knack for quirky performances — even 20 years after he first burst onto the new wave scene. Although the aforementioned "She Blinded Me with Science" is nowhere to be found here, several other of Dolby's all-time favorites are, including the moderate MTV hit "Hyperactive," the Danny Elfman-esque "The Ability to Swing," and "One of Our Submarines." While hardcore fanatics will welcome just about any release that has the Thomas Dolby name stamped on it, it's obvious that admirers would have much preferred receiving an all-new studio album (of which Dolby hasn't issued since 1994) than a live set.

Customer Reviews

"Forty" is Not Dolby at His Best

This is a nice enough collection of songs performed live ... I think in Whistler BC. The mood is intimate and friendly but I can't quite get the picture out of my head of two old guys playing Hammond Organs. The electronics - including the drums, for example - are so sophisticated on Dolby's studio albums that they sound almost real. But here they don't always come off as well. The worst thing, however, is the singing. Thomas Dolby has an excellent voice, but on this night it was wobbly and occassionally off-key. If you really want every Dolby recording, then you'll want this one, too. Otherwise I would suggest some of the other albums (or build your own collection from the original studio versions).


Born: October 14, 1958 in Cairo, Egypt

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Though he never had many hits, Thomas Dolby became one of the most recognizable figures of the synth pop movement of early-'80s new wave. This was largely due to his skillful marketing. Dolby promoted himself as a kind of mad scientist, an egghead who had successfully harnessed the power of synthesizers and samplers and used them to make catchy pop and light electro-funk. Before he launched a solo career, Dolby had worked as a studio musician, technician, and songwriter; his most notable work as...
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Forty - Live, Thomas Dolby
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