Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Gang of Four|
Songs of the Free (Reis)
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
2008 digitally remastered edition of this album from the British Post-Punk/Funk band, originally released in 1982. Songs Of The Free, the band's third album and first to feature Sara Lee following original bassist Dave All... more »
2008 digitally remastered edition of this album from the British Post-Punk/Funk band, originally released in 1982. Songs Of The Free, the band's third album and first to feature Sara Lee following original bassist Dave Allen's departure in 1981, was the closest they'd come to conventional Pop, thanks to Mike Howlett's crashing but crisp, shiny production and guitarist Andy Gill and singer Jon King's increasing ability to sugar their bitter messages with candy-coated melodies. There's even, in the Falklands-anticipating 'I Love A Man In Uniform', a near-hit single - only a ban by the BBC prevented this clubland favorite from charting higher. Elsewhere, on 'Call Me Up' and the Joseph Conrad-referencing 'We Live As We Dream, Alone', GOF continue to fuse feedback and Funk to startling effect. EMI.
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Don't believe the (negative) hype...
Wordybirdy | NYC | 03/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"...from the reviewers that seem to only want to hear the Gang Of Four that recorded Entertainment! While that's definitely an awesome record, Gang Of Four took their angular, bass-driven and totally original sound to a more radio-friendly level on Songs Of The Free. And that's OK, people!
If The Human League had never tightened their chops to make Dare, if Nirvana had never hooked up with Butch Vig to create Nevermind, they'd still be remembered...but as beloved cult bands. And while Gand Of Four never reaped the hoped-for commercial success with Songs Of The Free, I believe it remains their best album. Check it out for yourself! But do get Entertainment, too. I bet you'll toss your Franz Ferdinand CD out the window."
Their finest achievement
Ed | 01/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am always amused when I hear what others think are the best albums of a particular group, or the best tracks of a particular album.
I really liked "Entertainment" and "Solid Gold" when they were released, but "Songs of the Free" is in a whole other league. The sophistication of the sound is light years ahead of the other two albums, and the songs are at least as well developed, both lyrically and structurally. Listening to it today, the music doesn't sound dated at all, unlike the earlier albums. The inclusion of the two bonus tracks (tracks number 10 & 11) are unfortunate because they detract from the overall flow of the original release.
I freely admit that the albums following "Songs of the Free" are really bad. My cringing last memory of Gang of Four is seeing them at the Palace in Los Angeles after "Hard" was released, and seeing Andy Gill playing guitar while simultaneously holding a beer bottle and a pick, spraying the beer around while he played. How did they go from artists to rock star poseurs so quickly?"
Great evolution of a great band
kevin | SoCal | 09/16/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have to write in to stick up for this album. As a fan of GOF since their Entertainment! days, I owned this album on vinyl back in the day (in fact, most of the tunes selected for their greatest hits compilation from this album were all on one side of the LP, which I played to death!). This album is slower and funkier than Entertainment! and a bit of Solid Gold, but the formula of King's anguished voice over Gill's creatively distorted and sustained guitar sounds over a funk-rock beats is still there, though the funk beats evoke a bit more of dance music than before. In fact, at times Gill's multiple guitars, which are less scratchy than the early recordings, are huger than ever. It's a good and frequently great album; the best of this album really holds up well. Last thought: this album was recorded after the death of punk, the death of disco, and during a general backlash toward "black music" (and a couple of years before Michael Jackson's barrier breaking "Thriller" album) and rise of new wave/MTV culture. It was also fully into the Reagan/Thatcher government years and accompanying tough economic times. Moving away from the punkier, edgier sounds and faster tempos of Entertainment! and toward the smooth, dark sounds of Songs of the Free made a lot of sense back then; it seemed like a natural evolution to keep the angst and hopelessness and powerlessness and the comfort of surrender set to a smooth and funky groove. Today, listening 25 years later (how the hell did THAT happen!), the best songs on this album are among my most favorite by GOF (along with a healthy dose of Entertainment!, select few from Solid Gold, and the two from the To Hell with Poverty EP). This was a great move by GOF that made sense then and sounds good now."