Chen-Chen W. (CCC) from SARATOGA, CA Reviewed on 10/6/2006...
Hands down, Erasure's best
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Erasure has always released great singles, with good albums attached, but here they have released an album where every song could stand on its own as a single. Andy Bell's vocals perfectly suit Vince Clarke's gorgeous synthesizer washes and melodic hooks.Side one is anchored by "Chains of Love," a superb dance-floor evocation of gay life in the city. From the wistful, half-spoken opening line, "How can I explain / When there are few words I can choose?" the song takes off into a pounding synthesizer beat that can keep the listener dancing until the end. Also particularly effective on side one are the dance number "A Little Respect" and the pop-oriented "Heart of Stone." The preachy, socially-oriented "Hallowed Ground" is saved by a great melody. Side two has a grab-bag of interesting songs, from the off-beat rhythm of "Witch in the Ditch" to the soulful "Weight of the World." "Yahoo!" may be the best dance song, with it's gospel-type shout-along chorus. In addition, side two has a heart-breaking, haunting song, the bonus track "When I Needed You." The difference in quality and musicality between this stunning track and any other Erasure ballad is unbelievable. Finally, if Erasure's version of "River Deep-Mountain High" does not work as well as Tina Turner's, as so many critics have carped, how many bands or singers could possibly render a song as well as Ms. Turner? To their credit, Erasure did not try a straight cover of the song, instead adding synthesizer flourishes to create a more dance-oriented song.The Erasure fan most likely already owns this album. The novice Erasure listener would find this the best place to start. Just about every song would find its rightful place on an Erasure greatest hits album."
Russell Foster | usa | 10/31/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the only albums I know every word too. The best sing along album of all time. The new synth music is good but it will never be as good as erasure."
Almost 20 years later...
M. Lohrke | Provo, UT | 06/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"i honestly can't believe it's been nearly twenty years since 'the innocents' landed vince clark and andy bell in the american psyche. it was something of a mixed blessing for us fans who'd been with the band since the beginning. part of me loved having erasure to myself. everyone at my school was listening to metallica, rush, george michael, et al. all that changed when 'chains of love' burst on the scene. dispite an atrocious video, 'chains of love' was the perfect single to introduced erasure to hoardes of people who suddenly declared erasure 'my favorite new band.'
but i digress. 'the innocents' truly is one of erasure's best albums (i personally consider 'i say, i say, i say' their best moment), and it's easy to understand why it was so popular. the album was solid, in fact, that it almost plays as a greatest hits album. a lot of bands spend entire careers to get the same number of hits erasure had on one album. the erasure formula is fairly simple. vince clark pens the music, andy bell the lyrics. vince, the godfather of electronic pop music, was always light years ahead of his peers, both in constructing flawless melodies, as well as harnessing a rapidly evolving and improving technology.
after two relatively successful UK albums, 'the innocents' see the dynamic duo firing on all cylinders. the album opens with the impossibly catchy 'a little respect,' a song that, judging from the video, has as much to do with andy bell's flamboyent sexuality as it does vince clark's association with the band he started, depeche mode. 'phantom bride,' one of the finer songs, is another solid dance hit (and a perfect concert opener for the park city, ut show back in 1988--man, i am old). 'chains of love,' 'yahoo,' 'heart of stone,' and the weepy 'when i needed you' showed just how potent and prolific erasure had become in churning out top-quality pop songs. it seemed as though they barely had to try. i mean, really, is there a more perfect dance song than 'chains of love?'
sadly, erasure's popularity drastically fell after 'the innocents.' for those who didn't stick around after the duo hit their peak, you've missed a very impressive career (detractors be damned). sure, erasure weren't going to solve world peace, or make you think about anything extraordinarily deep, but i suspect they never wanted to. erasure was and is a dance bad. if their goal was and is to make unabashedly peppy dance music, they succeeded mightily and nowhere is that more apparent than in 'the innocents.'
whenever i listen to this album i'm immediately transported to a happier, care-free time when i didn't have a driver's license, bills, serious worries, college, etc--and that might might be the greatest compliment of all. thanks, guys."