With World of Hurt, Dutch music star Ilse de Lange sold more discs nation-wide than Madonna’s simultaneously released Ray of Light, or ABBA with their last production. A little more than a year after the issue in 1998, the marker rested at 300,000 copies retailed in the Netherlands. It was one of the highest selling debut creations in Dutch pop history.

Her debut album consequently made her famous in the whole of the kingdom. The now more than five times platinum sell-out silenced the few critics who described her as the female Al Bundy. But her shoe-selling career lasted shortly as her country songs found solid ground in the Netherlands.

Under the label of American record company Warner Brothers, the then 21-year-old recorded the album in Nashville, the Mecca of the country music world. American Barry Beckett, who worked with Bob Dylan and Joe Cocker, produced the album.

The songs are best described as pop leaning towards country. It’s not entirely Nashville material, but Ilse de Lange did and does not fall for the all too sweet bona fide country tunes. “Because there are so many sugary and soft songs in country, I like to sing songs with a Bo Diddley-beat, something in which you can lay venom and character. Publishers often tell us that we pick out the songs that no one else asks for. But I am not going to perform a song I don’t like, in the hope I will in the future. Suppose it becomes a hit. Then I would have to sing this dreadful song for the rest of my life. That would be awful.“

The most striking about World of Hurt is Ilse de Lange’s voice. It’s pure, it’s natural, it’s surprisingly soulful, it’s emotional, and it’s gentle yet raw at the same time. The same goes for the perfect collection of songs. Although it is quite hard to pick out a top song out of all the quality pieces, the true Ilse de Lange is best heard in I’d Be Yours and I’m Not So Tough. Out of all three albums by the Dutch singer, this debut album is definitely the best. It was only topped by the exceptional live concert I went to last year.

List of tracks on World of Hurt, officially released on July 31, 1998:

  1. Flying Blind (3:52, written by Rob Crosby, Shelly Bauerly and Ilse de Lange) – also released as single
  2. Lonely Too (2:56, Bruce Robinson)
  3. Just Like The Moon (3:50, Tia Sillers and Kim Richey)
  4. What Does Your Heart Say Now (3:07, Rob Crosby and Ilse de Lange)
  5. I'd Be Yours (2:45, Philip Coleman) – also released as single
  6. World Of Hurt (3:57, Bill Lloyd and Beth Nielsen-Chapman) – also released as single
  7. All The Woman You'll Ever Need (4:24, Eric Silver and Stephanie Bentley)
  8. If You Had The Heart (3:14, Bob Morrison, Michael Huffman and Donny Kees)
  9. Flying Solo (4:05, Robin Lerner and Stephen Allen Davis)
  10. Old Tears (3:37, Allen Rich, Doug Millett and Beth Nielsen-Chapman)
  11. I'm Not So Tough (4:29, Hillary Lindsey, Bruce Bouton and Robert Ellis Orrall) – also released as single
  12. When We Don't Talk (3:01, Rob Crosby and Ilse de Lange) – also released as single
  13. Tap Dancing On The Highwire (3:07, Georgia Middleman)
  14. You Are The Dream (2:57, Liz Hengber, Rob Crosby and Ilse de Lange)

Performing musicians: Eddie Bayers (drums), Mike Brignardello (bass), Brent Rowan (electrical guitar), Blue Miller (acoustic guitar), Tony Harrell (keyboards), Barry Beckett (Hammond B3, DX7, piano), Paul Franklin (steel guitar), Jerry Douglas (dobro) and Bob Mason (cello). Background vocalists: Vince Gill, Harry Stinson, Tim O'Brien, Rob Crosby, Jonell Mosser, Yvonne Hodges, Vicki Hampton, Duane Hamilton and Kim Morrison.

All songs can be listened to in Real Audio format at Ilse de Lange’s impressive official web site: http://www.ilsedelange.com.

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