“I don’t miss you, but then again…”
Before FLO, before Little Mix, before Girls Aloud, before Sugababes, before All Saints, before the Spice Girls, before TLC, before En Vogue, before Eternal (and yes, before Mini Viva), there was Bananarama.
Pop history matters, and the legendary English girl group deserves their flowers: not only did the group break world records with dozens of hit singles over the years, which you already know and love – “Cruel Summer,” “Venus,” “Robert De Niro’s Waiting,” “I Heard a Rumour,” the list goes on – but they’ve barely skipped a beat after four decades and counting in the music industry.
Just this past summer, Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward delivered their 12th (!) studio album, an accidental full-length project born of the lockdown in honor of their 40th anniversary, in the form of Masquerade.
The effort was crafted with longtime collaborator and reliable dance-pop king Ian Masterson, maker of magic with The Sisters Minogue and Geraldine Estelle Horner née Halliwell, among many others. It’s Bananas on a Dance Floor, full of pulsing beats and haunting melodies full of longing, lust and nostalgia.
“We love electropop. We love dance music, so we try and combine it all on one album. I think because we did the album in a short space of time it hangs together really well,” they explained.
Among the standouts in the collection is “Running With the Night,” which was just released as the album’s third single on Friday (October 14), along with a new radio edit.
“It’s about a relationship that didn’t work out, sadly, but you remember the thrill of when you first met,” Sara explained of the track on TikTok. (Yes, they TikTok too!)
“Stopped believing, but then again / Our first kiss will always remain…”
The wistful tune is an instant banger with a dark undercurrent, fitting for the rapidly approaching chilly season. The sparkly synths (or, as a more technical-minded YouTube comment more pointed out, “hypnotic arpeggiators”) and nostalgic lyricism is perfectly suited for anyone with a fondness for forlorn feelings on the dance floor. (Guilty as charged.)
There’s also the added element of the song coming from seasoned legends who’ve actually lived life and have tales to tell, and I will always have a soft spot for an industry veteran.
“For me, why would you stop if you love doing what you do? Why would you think, ‘Oh, I’m a certain age and I should stop now.’ If you’ve still got the joy of doing it, I don’t think you could possibly put a date on when you should finish up, as long as people want to hear what you’re doing,” Keren told Billboard.
Masquerade is proof that Bananarama’s journey doesn’t have to rely on the greatest hits and dwelling on the past. Bananarama stays blazing their own trail, four decades deep. It’s an example to be set for all the girl groups with less than half of their experience, as they play the long game and stay running ahead through the night.