After the departure of vocalist Siobhan Fahey, Bananarama attempted to break into the Hi-NRG dance genre with "Pop Life." Produced by Steve Jolley (Alison Moyet, Spandau Ballet, Wang Chung), who also produced "Bananarama" and "True Confessions" - their second and third albums, the songs on this release have a uniquely different flavor than those of their earlier albums, with more of an emphasis on synths and drum machines.
Entertainment Weekly - 7/12/91
"..you can always count on them for a couple of perky singles....but this album takes us to an eerier place than we'd ever expect.." - Rating: A
Bananarama: Jacquie O'Sullivan, Keren Woodward, Sarah Dallin.
Personnel: Andy Caine, Paul Inder (guitar); Johnny Mars (harmonica); Youth (keyboards, drum programming); Nigel Butler, Guy Pratt, Danny Schogger (keyboards); Paul Cooke (drums); Linda Taylor, Zo?, Carol Kenyon (background vocals).
Additional personnel: Johnny Marr (guitar); Robin Goodfellow, Andy Caine, Youth, Paul Inder (bass guitar); Paul Cook (drums); Crispen Robinson (percussion); Nigel Butler, Guy Pratt, Danny Schogger, Johnny Mars, Linda Taylor, Zo?, Carol Kenyon.
Photographer: Ellen Von Unworth.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Keren Woodward; Jacquie O'Sullivan; Sarah Elizabeth Dallin.
1991's POP LIFE, the only Bananarama album featuring Jacqui O'Sullivan (who replaced original member Siobhan Fahey when Fahey married Eurythmics' Dave Stewart and left to form the more experimental Shakespear's Sister), is an all-out dance record in the tradition of Soul II Soul and other then-fashionable UK dance outfits. POP LIFE downplays the disco-style Hi-NRG beats and somewhat brittle sheen of the trio's Stock-Aitken-Waterman days. It's a looser, more bass-heavy album, named after but not featuring the Prince hit.
O'Sullivan's voice is throatier than Fahey's, effectively changing the trio's sound. She and original members Keren Woodward and Sarah Dallin mostly sing actual harmonies, rather than the unison vocals familiar from Bananarama's early hits. POP LIFE is considerably different from Bananarama's earlier albums, but it's a satisfying example of post-acid-house/pre-trip-hop UK dance music. Guests include dance maven Youth, ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, and Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook-who originally discovered the trio.