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The Age of Consent

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Album Review

To say The Age of Consent is a great album of dance-oriented synth-pop music is to sell it extremely short; this is simply a great album, period. Jimmy Somerville's soaring tenor may take some getting used to, but the songs, many of them dealing with homophobia and alienation (none more eloquently than "Smalltown Boy"), are compelling vignettes about the vagaries of life as a gay man. Cynics predisposed to dismissing entire genres of music based on trendiness or a limited appeal ("dance music is for dancing, not listening") miss the point in lumping this in with more mindless forays into techno or neo-disco. As the Pet Shop Boys (the world's greatest disco band) proved a few years later, you can have substantive content and wrap it up in a compelling, visceral, dance-oriented package. Few bands understood this better, or earlier, than Bronski Beat.

Biography

Formed: 1983 in London, England

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '80s, '90s

London's Bronski Beat will be remembered for a number of things. Anyone who has seen the video for "Smalltown Boy" — which remains gripping and sobering decades later — can likely recall at least one of its scenes in vivid detail. It was only Bronski Beat's first single, but it became the group's best-known, reaching the top of Billboard's U.S. dance chart while peaking at number three on the U.K. pop chart. More importantly, the song was typical for the group in that it centered on singer...
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The Age of Consent, Bronski Beat
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