Nik Kershaw - The Riddle (Expanded Edition)
If you hate eighties music, stop reading right away. In fact, why did you even click that link? If you’re still here then wallow in the beauty of that album cover - the amazing bouffant hair, the oversized coat and high belted trousers - and drift off back to another time. Although he released a new album in 2012 to very little fanfare, it’s easily forgotten just how successful Nik Kershaw was in the mid eighties, with two top ten albums, numerous top ten singles (when single sales meant something) and a prime spot at Live Aid. Now newly remastered, The Riddle was his follow-up to 1983’s hugely successful Human Racing, and contains some of his ‘forgotten’ hits. As you’d expect from a remaster, this 2013 version boasts better clarity and definition to each instrument. There’s also a second disc of live and extended tracks, nothing particularly spectacular.
For a successful mainstream pop artist Kershaw was certainly a little quirky, referencing ‘Don Quixote’ (“Don Quixote / What do you say? / Are we shooting at windmills like you?”) on a song that became a top ten hit. As did ‘The Riddle’, another demonstration of his ability to write catchy, chart-friendly fare. And there’s the key to his success: his knack for writing brilliant melodies. ‘Wide Boy’ could have been written about any one of the reality TV ‘celebs’ that fill our newspapers, and ‘Save The Whale’ is an environmentalist's dream, both as relevant now as when they were written. Let's be honest, it all sounds a bit dated now but underneath the Casio keyboard and drum machine, you have melodies and lyrical themes that shine through. A certified eighties classic.