From that much maligned genre, eurodisco, comes an amazing story of a young girl moving to the city. She has dreams of dancing and making it under the bright lights, but is confronted only by people who see sexuality in her dancing, not freedom. She is exploited; her ideals ruined.
People think I make too much of the genius of Penny. I can often be heard espousing, at length, her brilliance and analysing her songs (I tend to do the latter in my head - there's only so much friends can take). Penny was pretty famous in Germany and only vaguely so everywhere else, primarily for the disco classic Lady Bump. She is now a sci-fi/fantasy novelist but unfortunately her books have not been translated into English else I'd doubtless find social comment in those as well...
This song is absolutely full of class and confidence - over 8 minutes long, and over a minute at the start is without drums or bass, just to get you into the groove. Then, they don't pull out the best tunes straight away - instead, they build up to them gradually with variations on the theme before building into a bigger and bigger climax. The tunes are as simple as you expect from Kraftwerk - the confidence to just hold a single note for 8 beats without changing is just fantastic - but the cumulative effect is brilliant.
The song is both hypnotic and euphoric and I can't recommend it too highly. When I looked at the iTunes stats as to what songs I had listened to the most, it turned out I had listened to this a heroic four times as much as any other song.
This song has clearly been hugely influential on groups like depeche mode and new order, and yet it somehow sounds quite separate from the things it has influenced. For example, just can't get enough by Depeche Mode is clearly influenced by this, but Europe Endless is much less poppy and commercial.
This whole album is fantastic - there is a kind of sister song to this one later on the album called Franz Schubert.
from Trans-Europe Express (Capitol 7243 5 81685 2 5), available on CD
Ah, Sheila, resplendent in her purple sequined hotpants, is having such a good time on the cover of this record with her tight-trousered pals. And so she might - for her group have made a blinding record.
She's in love, you see, and it's making her feel ill (not sleeping, sweating etc.) but this is "good" and all the disco nation roars in approval.
Belle Epoque (or La Belle Epoque as they were billed in the UK, presumably to further Francophy them) get shoved in that black hole of Eurodisco, based on the evidence of their perky 1977 cover of Black Is Black. Were I not a Eurodisco weirdo who is more than happy to delve into the careers of various sequin-chested nobodies I would never have learned the truth.
This song is as glam-rock as they come. The sound of Miss Broadway is that of a female Noddy Holder, complete with that talking-over-a-hairdryer voice. The orchestration is crunching and stomps all over the disco beat holding it all together.
In short: Silver Convention's older sisters who secretly like Wanda Jackson.
19 Jul 04 ·umbrellasfollowrain: This song fast became the song of my summer nights. I play it to preen to in front of the mirror, before I step out for the night, then hum it as I my feet step out the door and into the night and the streets unspool before me. See, how lyrical the song makes me?! Belle Epoque is ferocious. Jeanette, I think you're so cool. Thanks for bringing dis track to my attention. You always have my attention.