I was walking around in my local Cash Converters in summer 2010 looking at the music albums as there was a huge sale. I liked looking around there for the nostalgia and to discover something new. I ended up buying a lot of CDs from there, this album being one of the many. What attracted me to the product was the huge 75p sticker stamped above the girls' heads on the top cover.
There are many bands who share the name Eternal, it seems to be metal bands who like this name but this group is the most popular. Eternal started off as a foursome of girls, who went on to become a trio, then a duo then nilch! The band was formed in 1992 and consisted of sisters Easther and Vernie Bennett, alongside Kelle Bryan and Louise Nurding (now known as Louise Rednapp). I quite like this band because I find their songs really relaxing and I remember the time I was completely hooked on their song, "I wanna be the only one."
They were hugely successful in the ninety's although all the popularity seemed to be snatched away after the departure of Kelle Bryan. This left the sisters to produce one final album that was self-titled which wasn't a success and made them both decide it was best for Eternal to split up. They seemed to disappear without a trace after selling millions. In my point of view, I thought it was quite a shame because I owned and enjoyed all their albums.
The album is available to buy in a lot of online stores for quite a nice price. I've also seen it in a lot of charity shops and I've come across it quite a few times at the charity shop I'm doing voluntary work for.
Always And Forever is quite a generic album title, but one that grabbed my attention. This is the first album from Eternal. The album went platinum and reached number 2 on the album charts. It was one of the first albums by a girl group to sell over a million copies in the UK. The booklet includes lyrics, photos of the girls and the polite thanks from each member. The page of the booklet that stood out for me was the photo of Louise. I think the album cover could be a bit better though.
The album contains fourteen R&B and pop tracks and lasts around an hour. The album was released on 29th November 1993 under the label EMI.
Stay - *****
"It seems I have the strangest dream, I'm dreaming that you are gonna leave me."
What a smashing way to start the album. It's a mixture of gospel, pop and RnB blended with fantastic vocals that made this song garenteed to become a hit single. Which it did. It flew to the top ten. Number 2, if I recall correctly. The beat is catchy and feels so street like. The intro is a little band on the first few times of saying stay but once it was like STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY it becomes impressive. A great song that everyone can relate to. I am pleased to rate this fab song five stars.
Crazy - ****
"They say I'm crazy when it comes to you."
A very cheeky beat but promises to be a really fun beat. Perfect 90's cheese. The little bit of talking in it makes it even more fun. The middle from the end is amazing. Not the best track on the album but I think it's a fun song.
Save Our Love - *****
"Do you remember all of the joy we found last spring?"
A wonderful introduction. The vocals at the start a little off at the start but they make up for it in the first verse. I managed to save my love for this song. I love the bell chimes that can sometimes be heard in the chorus.
Oh Baby I... - ***
"Oh baby I need you so you know that I can't let go."
A bit outdated for the 90's in my opinion, not a bad thing really because it reminded me of the 80's. It's such a sweet song. The harmanising is wonderful. My only problem with it overall that it goes for a bit too long than it needs to. Sometimes I skip this halfway because of that.
I'll be there - ****
"I'll be there when things are blue I'll be there to comfort you."
Such a sweet song. Similar to the other songs from the album. The song opens with a whispering promise that a woman will be their for her lover. The I'll Be There's get a bit repetitive, but it's still got a nice flow to it. I think it's a shame I can't here the trumpets very well.
Sweet Funky Thing - *****
"Sweeeeeeeet funky thing tell me you're the one."
Wonderfully catchy. I like the Soul and jazz elements added in the vocals. It's a sweet funky song. Some excessive use of simulies and metaphors in this track such as cherry kisses, and I need you like a flower needs the rain.
Never Gonna Give You Up - ***
"Mama says someday that I'll meet someone who will take me away from you."
The beat to this is just pure amazing the vocals work amazing together. It is a little bit simular to Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up but it is not a cover. Although at first I thought it was going to be a cover of his song. It didn't stand out, but it's still got a nice shade of soul.
Just A step from heaven - *****
"Soon you'll find that our faith will take us higher "
Another fantastic tune from this album. Just a perfect pop song the chorus is just totally magical and truly 90's style. Don't let go this album is just a step from heaven. The lyrics are very good in this one. Everything about the song just pulls me in. Another great hit.
Let's Stay together - ***
"Let me say that since, since we've been together."
A good song, not as good as the others, but still a cool song. It sounds like a christmas song because of the shimmy beats. A very typical Eternal song.
If You Need Me Tonight - ****
"There's a distance in between us and I don't exactly know."
This song is ahead of it's time. I think it has potential to be a really popular hit in the late 2000's.
This Love Is For Real - ****
"Baby you're the one I need tonight and I wish upon a star."
I think this is a cool song. The vocals might not be as strong as they are in Stay and Just A Step From Heaven, but it's still quite a funky song.
So Good *****
"If there's a place in your heart we could share we could both be there together."
Very groovy. If it was remixed today it could be an instant smash in the disco.
Don't Say Goodbye - ***
"I can remember the time when I first tasted love it tasted so good there just wasn't enough."
Great disco tune. Love the intro and lyrics. A very unique pop song. It's got a sensational jazzness to it as well.
Amazing Grace - ****
"Amazing grace how sweet the sound."
Beautiful song covered by a great band. It's a very peaceful way to end the album and it's also the shortest song of the album. It's a song I've seen featured on many albums, participially classical albums.
Stand-out tracks: Stay, Sweet Funky Thing and Just a step from heaven.
Weaker Tracks: Let's Stay Together and Oh Baby I...
The album is somewhat original, the powerful vocals from the sisters give each songs a nice song. Although similar to the style of Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera and Whitney Houston, there is still some distinctive styles there. The lyrics are quite nice for me, but can be unoriginal and cheesy at times. Perhaps they tried a bit too hard to be romantic and cute, but it worked for me.
The vocals are the highlight of this album and my value for money has been fantastic. Overall, it's plain to see that I enjoyed this album and I found it very diffulcult pinning some bad points. If you were a fan of the 90's music this is an essential album. I'm impressed at how 75p worth of music could get me. At one point this was one of my favorite albums. It's old, but the age of an album shouldn't effect the quality of the music. Eternal can appeal to gospel, R&B, pop, Louise and girlgroup fans.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
3 Save Our Love
4 Oh Baby I
5 I'll Be There
6 Sweet Funky Thing
7 Never Gonna Give You Up
8 Just A Step From Heaven
9 Let's Stay Together
10 This Love's For Real
11 So Good
12 If You Need Me Tonight
13 Don't Say Goodbye
14 Amazing Grace