Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Singles Rarities & Remixes (Chi)
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Two CD set by the British New Wave quintet who, throughout their career, dabbled in Funk, Blue-Eyed Soul, Synthpop and Guitar Rock with great success. Although they didn't quite reach the heights of their former New Romant... more »
Two CD set by the British New Wave quintet who, throughout their career, dabbled in Funk, Blue-Eyed Soul, Synthpop and Guitar Rock with great success. Although they didn't quite reach the heights of their former New Romantic clubbing mates Duran Duran, their musical output remains both classic and classy. Disc One features 15 of their biggest hit singles including 'To Cut A Long Story Short', 'Gold', 'Paint Me Down', 'Highly Strung' and the almighty 'True', quite possibly the finest ballad of the '80s. Disc Two features a few more hits as well as extended versions of five tracks including 'Lifeline' and 'Only When You Leave' plus live versions of 'Pleasure', 'True', 'Gold' and 'Lifeline'. EMI. 2006.
A Good Collection Of Remastered Hits And Favourites
Jason W. Bellenger | Byron Center, Michigan, USA | 03/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 2006 2-CD release from EMI includes what the title suggests -- singles, rarities, and remixes -- but with a number of album tracks as well. Besides including a handful of different tracks, one could look at this release as perhaps a more simplified version of the 2002 EMI/Chrysalis 3-CD anthology Reformation.
Including the 12" versions and the Saddler's Wells live cuts that appear on the former 'Reformation' retrospective may make this release a bit redundant for fans of the band. I was a bit hesitant to purchase this set because of the repeated tracks. Do I really need them again?
Thankfully, this 2-CD collection features a number of tracks not presented on the former release, including original and 12" versions of "Musclebound", "Round And Round", "Paint Me Down", and "Through The Barricades". Even though the back sleeve tends to list the versions featured, not every version is accurately noted. Featured below is a revised, accurate tracklisting, noting specific versions other than the original LP versions.
01 Gold [7" Edit] (3:48)
02 Round And Round (5:26)
03 Chant No. 1 (I Don't Need This Pressure On) (4:04)
04 With The Pride (5:22)
05 Highly Strung (4:08)
06 Musclebound [12" Version] (5:06)
07 Communication (3:24)
08 I'll Fly For You (5:32)
09 Heaven Is A Secret (4:23)
10 Paint Me Down (3:43)
11 Instinction (4:45)
12 To Cut A Long Story Short [12" Version Edit] (5:58)*
13 Reformation (4:52)
14 The Freeze [12" Mix #2] (6:30)
15 True [Extended Version Edit] (6:00)**
*A longer version of "To Cut A Long Story Short", but not quite as long as the official 12" version, which clocks in at 6:32.
**Note that, although not listed as such, "True" is an early faded version of the official "Extended Version", which clocks in at 6:36 and can be found on the 2003 True remaster. It is faded quite poorly as well, cutting off at 6 minutes before properly fading to silence. You can hear where it cuts off! I have no idea why neither the original "LP Version" nor the full "Extended Version" were presented. Surely, it wasn't an issue of disc capacity since disc 1 clocks in at 73 minutes.
01 Gold [12" Version] (7:13)
02 Lifeline [12" Version] (5:24)
03 Communication [12" Version] (4:25)
04 Only When You Leave [12" Version] (6:36)
05 Highly Re-Strung [Extended Version] (5:28)
06 Pleasure [Live At Sadler's Wells - May 1, 1983) (4:02)
07 True [Live At Sadler's Wells - May 1, 1983) (6:21)
08 Gold [Live At Sadler's Wells - May 1, 1983) (4:54)
09 Lifeline [Live At Sadler's Wells - May 1, 1983) (4:14)
10 Through The Barricades (5:47)
11 Only When You Leave [Early Fade] (5:01)
12 Always In The Back Of My Mind (4:26)
13 Revenge For Love (4:15)
14 Mandolin (4:05)
15 Gold [Instrumental] (2:41)
Disc 2 clocks in at 74 minutes.
The tracklisting is pretty much all over the place, repeating some tracks two or three times between extended, edit, live, and LP versions. Note that "She Loved Like Diamond", a #49 U.K. hit, is completely missing from this release. The only licensed track from the band's time with Sony Music is "Through The Barricades", but since this is an EMI release I expect only tracks from EMI.
I think that the live tracks drag this release down, since they seem a bit out of place and are already avaialble on 'Reformation'. Also, including the original and extended versions of "Communication" on the same disc seems a bit odd. Was the short instrumental version of "Gold" necessary as well? And why do we get the single edit of "Gold" over the LP version when most of the other tracks are presented in their full versions? Wouldn't the 12" versions of "The Freeze" and "To Cut A Long Story Short", which are not listed as being the 12" versions on the back sleeve, have been more appropriate next to the 12" cuts on disc two? These problems only make the compilation look like it was thrown together quickly.
Fans looking for a remastered 'Parade' album may be surprised to realize that 8 of the 9 tracks featured on that album are presented here. Only "Nature Of The Beast" is missing from that album! Perhaps a bit too much weight was given to the album, but since a remastered version of the album is not currently in print, as I write this, I put all complaints aside.
I think that this 2-disc retrospective could have been better executed by including all the band's Chrysalis singles in their original single versions from 1980 to 1985 on disc one with the CBS-licensed "Through The Barricades" (1986) to close the disc. Disc two should have featured key album cuts and select 12" versions from the Chrysalis era, completely eliminating any unnecessary live cuts.
Is this 2006 Spandau Ballet compilation really worth owning? Well, despite the downfalls with the tracklisting, all songs have been BRILLIANTLY remastered by Ray Ang, giving each and every track the sound quality that it deserves! The music is even more crisp and clean than the music featured on the 2002 'Reformation' 3-CD anthology, which sounds fantastic already. In comparison to the Gold: The Best of Spandau Ballet 2000 release the mastering has been brought up quite a few notches, giving the songs added punch and bass over the already great-sounding compilation.
In my opinion, the recordings featured here have a warmer presence and louder edge over all previous masters and remasters. Take a listen to the 12" of "The Freeze", for example. The combination of synth, drums, and Tony Hadley's joining vocals sounds absolutely amazing for a 1981 recording. The synth line jumps out! The drums are heavy! Tony's vocals soar! Wow! What a listening experience! ... especially at 3 minutes in. The spacial separation among the instruments is remarkable!
The 12" of "Musclebound" sounds absolutely incredible as well. 1981?! No way! I love to blast this one on my car sound system just to feel the kick of the drums! They roar across my speakers! It's like the music has a 3-D effect! Overall, the mastering has reached new standards here, highlighting, as far as I know, by far the best audio quality available for a Spandau Ballet compilation.
For years I only knew of the band's triple U.S. Top 40 hits -- "True" (#4), "Gold" (#29)", and "Only When You Leave" (#34). Thanks to 'Reformation' and this release I was able to discover U.K. Top Ten hits such as "I'll Fly For You", "Instinction", "To Cut A Long Story Short", "Chant No. 1", "Through The Barricades" and others which never broke the U.S. market. The anthemic U.K. Top 10 hit, "Musclebound", with it's pounding drums and sing-a-long chorus, has quickly became one of my favourites on this set. This should have been a hit in the States! With it's funky guitar riffs and clever synths, the U.K. Top Twenty hit, "The Freeze", is one of my favourite new wave tracks. It's a shame that this stuff never gets airplay on American radio.
The band has so much more to offer than "True", from it's new wave beginnings to it's soulful gems and pop classics. Much of it is showcased here. If you are open-minded give these guys and this release a chance! They played their own instruments and wrote their own music. Tony Hadley has a one of a kind voice. Surely, they were a "boyband" ... but a "boyband" with talent.
Additional notes: I wanted to give this release only 3 stars originally, but with the excellent mastering and enjoyable music I couldn't bring myself to give it fewer than 4 stars. The mastering alone would merit a 5-star rating. I updated and edited this review with additional commentary on 3 June 2009 in order to reflect further on the brilliant audio mastering and the 'Parade' album.
And for you fans, Spandau Ballet have reformed in 2009! This double disc set is a great place to catch up!"