“By the time that Colour by Numbers (1983) hit store shelves in the fall of 1983, Culture Club had become one of the hottest pop acts in both America as well as their native England. The momentum that began on the debut long-player, Kissing to Be Clever (1982), continued to crest on this effort with a quartet of sides that charted within the Top 15” (Planer), making this “Culture Club’s most successful album, and…one of the most popular albums from the 1980s” (Planer). “The songs were infectious, the videos were all over MTV, and the band was a media magnet” (Promis).
“Their collective success verged on mania and was in large part due to central figure ‘Boy’ George O' Dowd (vocals), who not only fronted the combo's primary instrumentalists Jon Moss (percussion), Roy Hay (guitar/keyboard/sitar), and Michael Craig (bass), but also provided a healthy contribution to the content” (Planer).
“Culture Club’s music was matched only by the equally vivid visual styles, which seemed to be in a perpetual state of metamorphosis. The tunes remained as accessible as ever with a perceivable shift into a more blue-eyed soulful sound” (Planer).
“Boy George sounded as warm and soulful as ever, but one of the real stars on this set was backing vocalist Helen Terry” (Promis). She “was concurrently working with Phil Collins on his equally successful solo efforts. The pair blend well together, especially on Terry’s gritty inflections during” (Planer) “the album's unforgettable first single” (Promis), “the rambunctious Church of the Poison Mind” (Planer).
The “interminably catchy It’s a Miracle” (Planer) “also featured Helen Terry’s unmistakable belting” (Promis). A hit in its own right, it also “became a gargantuan hit in dance clubs and discos worldwide” (Planer) when coupled in a medley with the “more rock & roll Top Five” Miss Me Blind on the 12” mix of the single.
Of course, most significant of the singles was “the band’s biggest (and only number one) hit, the irresistibly catchy Karma Chameleon” (Promis).
“Although criminally overlooked, George's affective balladry shines on Black Money and the pseudo torch song That’s the Way (I’m Only Trying to Help You)” (Planer)
“The original LP concludes with the emotive and ironically foreshadowing Victims” (Planer), “a big, dark, deep, and bombastic power ballad that was a huge hit overseas but never released in the U.S.” (Promis).
“In the 1980s music was, in many cases, flamboyant, fun, sexy, soulful, colorful, androgynous, and carefree, and this album captured that spirit perfectly. A must for any collector of 1980s music, and the artistic and commercial” (Promis).