The second album of the "Bangles Trilogy" continued with Different Light. This release is more refined than its predecessor, All Over The Place, with none of the raw Beatles sound present. Still, it has earned a place as one of the best 1980's albums.
The Prince-penned "Manic Monday", has become my favorite song here. OK, it was Prince under the pseudonym Christopher, but who's quibbling? He knows how to write a killer song and the Bangles know how to make it to a megahit! I loved it when it was overplayed on radio back in 1986, I loved the accompanying MTV video, and that song has a special place in the DJH pantheon. 1986 was the year I graduated high school so that too has something to do with it. I'll tell you, everytime I hear those opening keyboard notes followed by that keen bass, I feel myself tugged back through the mists of time to that glorious period called the 1980's.
"Walk Like A Egyptian," an 80's classic in its own right, became the Bangles' first #1 single. This is one of those songs that upon first hearing it, I thought, "Whoa! This deserves to be a single." It was their third from this album. From the shaking of the tambourine, to the frenetic rhythm and drum assault, to Vicki, Michael, and Susanna taking over lead vocal duties with each verse, and the rocking guitar solo inbetween Michael and Susanna's bits, it's magical.
The single I thought should've done better than merely cracking Billboard's Top 30 was the second single, "If She Knew What She Wants". Now there's a song that really deserved to reach the top spot. I'm still unsure whether I prefer this to "Egyptian". This song, with its splendid Rickenbacker guitar intro and Susanna's wistful voice, with backup harmonies by her bandmates, was penned by Jules Shear, Aimee Mann's then-beau.
Lead vocals distribution? "Let It Go" is the only song here where all four sing together. "Walk Like An Egyptian" has Vicki, Michael, and Susanna taking turns with lead vocals. By fate or design, Susanna sings three songs, namely three of the four singles. Michael Steele finally gets to sing on "September Gurls", a cover of the Alex Chilton song, and the ballad "Following." Her vocal is impressive and emotionally potent. That leaves Vicki with three--, the title track, "Return Post" and "Angels Don't Fall In Love", and Debbi with two--"Standing In The Hallway" and the album's closer, "Not Like You". Uh, that makes twelve songs then, and pretty much evenly distributed, I might add.
Other bits of honorable mention: "Walking Down Your Street" is another worthy single, with vocals by Susanna. And "Angels Don't Fall In Love" opens with a blistery guitar attack that are repeated after the chorus.
Michael's solo vocals on her two songs are impressive, and have a soft yet vital quality about them. "September Gurls", has a slight countrified feel to it, while "Following", a song about confrontation. Michael so effectively evinces sadness and bitterness in that song.
With the exception of the 4+ minutes "Return Post", all the songs range from 2:30 to 3:49. Hopefully, music listeners who are too much rooted in today's music will take time to see the Bangles in, well, a different light.