In Retrospect: Liza Minnelli - Results
A new addition to A Northerner Explores, “In Retrospect” takes a look at some of the greatest Pop albums of yesterday and looks back on them with fondness as we discuss how they stand up in comparison to some of the more modern classics. We start the series with ninth studio album from stage and screen legend; Liza Minnelli.
Released in September 1989, Results was Liza’s first, and only foray into the world of Pop and was created and produced by non-other than the iconic British duo, the Pet Shop Boys. It’s not a combination that you would put together, Liza and the Pet Shop Boys, and on paper, it doesn’t sound like it works. However, what was born was one of the most creative, and sonically impressive albums of its time. Producing four singles, and a number six entry on to the Official Chart in the shape of Losing My Mind – the Sondheim torch song, reinvented into a nightclub, Hi-NRG banger.
The idea of Liza and the Pet Shop Boys working together was born in 1988, when Liza signed with Epic Records in the US. PSB, had recently been signed to the same label. The story goes that Minnelli had heard their song Rent on radio and loved it. She was thrilled to hear that PSB may be interested in working with her. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, who were already big fans of Liza, began working on songs that would eventually become the album; Results. Minnelli was open about how she found working with the boys challenging. With Tennant and Lowe pushing her vocals into ranges that she was normally used to.
The name of the album, Results, continued the PSB’s theme of Single-Word Album Titles, and was named after they had heard an off-hand comment by their friend, Janet Street-Porter regarding her some of her clothes. “I call it my results wear, ‘cause when I wear them, I always get results”.
Upon its release in September 1989, Results was preceded by a decidedly electronic and Hi-NRG recording of the Sondheim torch song; “Losing My Mind” which featured in his musical Follies. Released in the August, Losing My Mind went on to hit the UK Singles Chart at #6. Performed by Liza and PSB on various TV Shows, the single was backed with a number of dancefloor ready remixes. “Putting a donk on Sondheim” is not something that you wouldn’t think to do, however, the finished product is a timeless piece of dance music, which would not sound out of place in the clubs of today.
Other highlights from the album include covers of Tanita Tikram’s; Twist in My Sobriety, Yvonne Ellman’s “Love Pains” and a gut-wrenching performance of “Rent” from one of PSB’s early albums. One thing that really stands out for me is Minnelli’s theatricality which really shines through. Adding a heightened sense of drama to the songs brings them alive even further and also allows for a vulnerability rarely heard from Liza. This theatricality is mirrored by the inclusion of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 94, which Minnelli recites in the final minute of “If There Was Love’.
One of my personal favourites from the album is the song; “So Sorry, I Said”. With inspiration again drawn from Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim, the song was initially conceived to be a duet between Liza and Frank Sinatra, whom Liza was touring with at the time. The songs lyric addresses the fact that sometimes it’s much easier to stay in a difficult relationship, rather than deal with the pain of ending it, therefore when issues arise its music easier to just apologise.
Results has sold over eight hundred thousand copies since its release – a respectable seller. Achieving success in the United Kingdom, Spain and Sweden, unfortunately not having a spectacular effect in the US, it is widely regarded by critics as being one of Minnelli’s and PSB’s finest pieces of work. Standing the test of time today, Results continues to be the soundtrack to many of my Saturday’s nights getting ready to out for a night on town, and a reflective afternoon lamenting over past relationships. It’s my opinion that Results is one of the best pop efforts for the 1980’s and still as relevant in modern music today ait was at the time