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Wire 1985 - 1990: The A List
Wire 1985 - 1990: The A List
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1

The same folks who turn cartwheels over this English art-punk ensemble's first three albums are left cold by material cut after the 1985 reunion. This second-phase best-of permits an objective reassessment--so done, we'll ...  more »


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All Artists: Wire
Title: Wire 1985 - 1990: The A List
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Mute U.S.
Original Release Date: 5/18/1993
Release Date: 5/18/1993
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Styles: Hardcore & Punk, New Wave & Post-Punk
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 724596149928, 094638649953, 5016025611164, 724596149942

The same folks who turn cartwheels over this English art-punk ensemble's first three albums are left cold by material cut after the 1985 reunion. This second-phase best-of permits an objective reassessment--so done, we'll stick with Pink Flag and 154, thanks. --Jeff Bateman

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CD Reviews

A Functional Compilation of Wire's Marginal Second Phase.
Alan Koslowski | Seattle, WA | 11/10/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I want to offer a different perspective on this compilation. As a disciple of Wire's first late 70s art-punk phase (though I do think '154' is overrated) I was curious about their reformation in the mid-80s to early 90s. I read this democratic compilation (songs were selected by fans and assorted music writers, then sequenced in descending order) represented the best material from that period.In a sense Wire, phase II is a natural progression from it's first incarnation. On each of their first three albums, Wire's sound and song-structures became increasingly more elaborate. This material follows that same blueprint; Wire experiment with a variety of sonic effects and studio treatments. They've also dulled the sharp edge of their early work in favor of more palatable, less intense pop structures.The A-List contains some fine alternative/techno pop songs, similar to more well known artists like Joy Division and The Cure (though Wire is considerably more light-hearted). "Ahead", "Kidney Bingos", "A Serious of Snakes", and "In Vivo" are all catchy, likeable tracks. Even if they aren't as artistically credible or substantive as the best material from Pink Flag, Chairs Missing, and 154, they're worth hearing. Unfortunately, since the tracks on The A-List are sequenced in descending order, most of the second half isn't terribly captivating. Part of the problem with Wire's second phase was their obsession with sonic experimenation to the detriment of songwriting. Too often these "songs" aren't songs at all but pointless, sterile soundscapes. In a sense, this material is necessary to provide a more accurate representation of Wire's second phase, but it's really not worth hearing. It's ironic that even though Pink Flag is much more primitive sonically, it sounds fresher today than most material on The A-List. Many tracks contain low-fi (by modern standards) instrumenation such as choppy synthetic bass, and cheesy electric percussion (both staples of the 80s) that make the music sound dated.The A-List serves it's intended purpose. For advocates of Wire's later albums, it presents the best of Wire, phase II. For fans of Wire's late 70s art-punk who are curious about their later output, this compilation will more than satisfy your curiosity. However, writing as one of the latter, even if you decide to skip The A-List, you won't be missing much."
Truly the best of 80's era Wire. | Chicago, IL. USA | 06/25/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There are two era's in Wire's history, the Punk/Art School of the 70's, and the Beat Combo/Electronic era of the 80's. This album presents the best from Wire's releases from the 80's. Songs from singles, and the albums 'The Ideal Copy', 'A Bell is a Cup', 'Ibtaba', and 'Manscape'.If you prefer a harder edged, short, sharp, punk shock, go with the 70's stuff. If you prefer experimental music that hasn't forgotten the 'fun' of pop music, try 'The A List: 1985-1990'.Try the dance-able proto-techno of 'Ahead', the lyrical pop beauty of 'Kindey Bingos' and 'Madman's Honey', or the excursions into 'Dugga' - repeated rythmic sequences pieced together in a melange of frenetic excitement, as featured on 'Drill'.There is something for everybody on this album, so unless you are a techno-phobe and/or a luddite who can't understand why good ol' punks like Wire would work with synthesizers, give it a shot!"
Best of the rest
Alan Koslowski | 07/02/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This compilation summarizes what the second period of Wire's existence was all about; good pop songs with a twist, using modern electronics. The four members of the band let their fan club vote for what they regarded to be the best Wire songs of that period, and this record is the result of that; here compiled you will find the best songs of the reformed Wire. It is an excellent compiltaion, making all the uneven albums unncessary. If you have all the first three albums and this one, you own everything you need to own of Wire. There's only two minor drawbacks of this compilation; firstly, these songs just aren't as elemental as the work on the first three albums, secondly, the cd begins with the number 1 as voted by the fan club and works its way down the list, thus becoming gradually weaker over the course of the cd. These are futile remarks, however, as it is a perfect way of appreciating latter-day Wire."