This sampler CD was included in the first issue of Electronic magazine that I picked up last year at a local newsstand. I've seen the issue labeled as both "Issue One, Autumn 2012" and as a "Special Issue" but there hasn't been a second issue, so I'll go with the latter. The writing isn't that good in the magazine, but I enjoy this CD compilation. For more on the magazine, click here and/or here.
The CD was compiled by Mark Jones, a British DJ and founder of the Wall Of Sound record label. I only have 3 of the 14 tracks elsewhere in my collection, so this was a good pickup for me. The Ultravox track even fills a hole in my collection that I had lamented in an earlier post. Considering the rest of the tracks aren't that common, I'm surprised to see the inclusion of the more familiar Whip It and Situation.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart
- Ladytron by Roxy Music (from the band's 1972 self-titled debut). Except for their classic Avalon album, I'm not much of a Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music fan, but this electronic glam rock experiment is entertaining enough in a time capsule sort of way. If I had heard this song in 1972 when I was 6 years old, it would have freaked me out, particularly the introduction.
- I Want More by Can (from the 1976 album Flow Motion). I was previously unfamiliar with this band, but I dig this song's mix of Krautrock and disco.
- TVOD by The Normal (1978 single). I've heard the flip side to this single on Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the '80s, Vol. 1. I just don't get it. "Now is ze time on Sprockets ven ve dance!"
- Nag Nag Nag by Cabaret Voltaire (1979 single). Early industrial music; reminds me of a harsher Joy Division. A little grating for my taste, but I can kinda appreciate it from a historical electronic perspective and can understand its inclusion on this compilation.
- Electricity by OMD (from the band's 1980 self-titled debut). Proof that OMD's music was more interesting (and better) before they had a big US hit.
- Ricky's Hand by Fad Gadget (1980 single). Simple but insistent electronic music with earnest lyrics about drunk driving. Right up my alley. If 15 year old Mark had known about this single, he would have not only listened to it constantly, he would have mercilessly subjected his friends to it.
- Whip It by Devo (from the 1980 album Freedom of Choice). Previously on the blog here and here. Here's what I wrote earlier: "No explanation necessary. Pass me my Energy Dome, please."
- I Travel by Simple Minds (from the 1980 album Empires And Dance). I think the band was still in the process of finding their sound here, but it's still good. I remember listening to this album as a teen. I didn't appreciate it then, but now I enjoy it. The band would later re-purpose this tune's melody on their later song, Ghost Dancing
- Marianne by The Human League (from the 1980 EP Holiday '80). Mediocre at best. Hard to believe the group of guys that recorded this bland (but progressive) single would split then go on to record the classic Dare! album and form Heaven 17. I try to keep in mind that these musicians were interested in programming and sequencing, but it's hard not to wish for a melody hook somewhere. Marsh and Ware would re-purpose the drum programming from this track on Heaven 17's We're Going To Live For A Very Long Time.
- Gentlemen Take Polaroids by Japan (from the 1980 album Gentlemen Take Polaroids). I haven't had good experiences with Japan songs in the past, but this is a surprisingly catchy song. Good enough to make me check out the entire album it came from.
- Mr. X by Ultravox (from the 1980 album Vienna). I don't know why this silly song with a disjunct electric violin solo captured my adolescent imagination, but it did. I had an import copy of Vienna on vinyl. I'm so glad to hear this one again.
- (We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang by Heaven 17 (from the 1981 album Penthouse And Pavement). This is the 6th or 7th time I've come across a version of this classic in my collection. And whenever it appears, it is welcomed.
- Situation (Extended Version) by Yazoo (1982 U.S. single). Immediately recognizable. Even though it didn't reach the U.S. Top 40, this is a New Wave classic that gets better with age, due in part to its constant sampling and as background music on TV ads.
- Join In The Chant by Nitzer Ebb (from the 1987 album That Total Age). I'm not digging it today, but I'm sure if I had been in a dance club in 1987-88, I would have loved it. In fact, I can't be sure that didn't happen.