Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Classic Albums Reviewed And Rated - Day 22

Throughout this month we are going to take a look at albums regarded as classics from the 80s and one or two from the late 70s and give you our comments, and our rating of each album.

Each day, during November, we will focus on one album.

To rate the albums we rate each track on the album as either 3 (Outstanding), 2 (Good), 1 (ok) and 0 (Hate it). Those points are totalled up and then divided by the maximum points the album could get (EG 10 tracks would equal 30 points, 10 x 3). Then times the figure by 100 and that gives you your percentage rating. This is a very good indicator of how you rate an album.


Today's album under the microscope, is "Please" by Pet Shop Boys, one of my favourite bands of all time, just don't mention the album "Electric" to me!!

I bought "Please" on release day but didn't get the chance to play it when I got home, as I was going to a party in Blackpool, for some strange reason I took the LP with me, maybe I was hoping the DJ would play it for me or I was worried someone would pinch it!!

I liked the single "West End Girls", although I thought "Love Comes Quickly" was a strange choice as a single. I bought the album having heard just those 2 singles, they were the days when you could buy an album without hearing hardly anything from it, now with the internet, music is plastered everywhere, which has taken the fun out of buying music.

The album came out in March 1986 and reached number 3 in the UK Album chart, I thought it got to number 1, it certainly should have done! The single "West End Girls" reached number 1 in the UK Singles chart, whilst the follow up "Love Comes Quickly" only made number 19.

Following the release of the album they released the track "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money)" as a single in May 1986 and that track reached number 11, the 12 Inch is brilliant as is the B Side "Was That What It Was" (a track that should have been on the album). The last single released from the album was "Suburbia", it was a new version and it made number 8 in the UK Singles chart, personally I have never been to keen on that track.

Why tracks such as, "Tonight Is Forever" and "Why Don't We Live Together" weren't singles I will never know, vastly superior to "Love Comes Quickly" and "Suburbia".

Our track recommendations for this album are, "Opportunities (Lets Make Lots Of Money)", "Why Don't We Live Together" and "Tonight Is Forever". There are no tracks I dislike on this album, with "Love Comes Quickly" being the only track to score 1 point.

I have more Pet Shop Boys CD's and Vinyl in my music collection than any other artist. "Please" is a fantastic debut album, well worth digging out from time to time to listen too.
Our overall rating for this album is 73/100

The album is available from Amazone here

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Classic Albums Reviewed And Rated - Day 21

Throughout this month we are going to take a look at albums regarded as classics from the 80s and one or two from the late 70s and give you our comments, and our rating of each album.

Each day, during November, we will focus on one album.

To rate the albums we rate each track on the album as either 3 (Outstanding), 2 (Good), 1 (ok) and 0 (Hate it). Those points are totalled up and then divided by the maximum points the album could get (EG 10 tracks would equal 30 points, 10 x 3). Then times the figure by 100 and that gives you your percentage rating. This is a very good indicator of how you rate an album.


Today's album under the microscope, is "Architecture & Morality" by OMD, arguably their finest ever album, although I have to say their new album "The Punishment Of Luxury" and previous album, "English Electric" would definitely give it a run for it's money. I remember going to see the band live at the Manchester Apollo on the A+M tour, I think this was the last tour their tape machine, Winston, graced the stage, he didn't behave himself, as Andy McCluskey announced that "this next track is called "The New Stone Age", the tape machine played the intro of "Georgia"!! OMD are the band I have seen most live and they always put on a good show and are one of those rare bands that connects so well with it's fan base.

Prior to the release of the album they released "Souvenir" as a single, which featured Paul Humphreys on lead vocals and is their highest charted single, when it made number 3 in the UK singles chart. A month before the album came out they released a second single from it called "Joan Of Arc",which made number 5 in the UK singles chart.

The album was then released in November 1981, to great critical acclaim, and it made number 3 in the UK album chart. Another single "Joan Of Arc (Maid Of Orleans)" was released in early 1982, which reached number 4 in the UK singles and made number 1 in both Holland and Germany, it is a track that features in most concerts they play and is loved by their fans, including me, because of the rousing drum patterns in the song, superb live!

They did release a 4th single "She's Leaving" in some parts of Europe but not in the UK.
Our track recommendations for this album are, "She's Leaving", "Souvenir" and "Joan Of Arc", "She's Leaving", "Joan Of Arc (Maid Of Orleans)", "The Beginning And The End" and "Sealand", this album features no less than 6 tracks that all got the maximum score of a 3. "The New Stone Age" is the only song that got a zero rating, i've never liked the track, and it seems totally out of place on this album.

A wonderful album that is always a pleasure to listen too.

Our overall rating for this album is 77/100

The album is available from Amazon for under £6 here

Monday, 20 November 2017

Classic Albums Reviewed And Rated - Day 20

Throughout this month we are going to take a look at albums regarded as classics from the 80s and one or two from the late 70s and give you our comments, and our rating of each album.

Each day, during November, we will focus on one album.

To rate the albums we rate each track on the album as either 3 (Outstanding), 2 (Good), 1 (ok) and 0 (Hate it). Those points are totalled up and then divided by the maximum points the album could get (EG 10 tracks would equal 30 points, 10 x 3). Then times the figure by 100 and that gives you your percentage rating. This is a very good indicator of how you rate an album.


Today's album under the microscope, is "Vienna" by Ultravox, the debut album that featured Midge Ure on vocals, after he replaced the departed John Foxx. Now this album I was really looking forward to, as I did not know what to expect, I really didn't, the first single released was "Sleepwalk" (a very underrated single for me), this single has a unique place in my 7 inch vinyl single collection, it has the honour of being the most warped 7 inch single in my collection, by a long way, whenever I played it, it was like being on a rollercoaster, why I didn't take it back and get a replacement god only knows, but I don't think I have played the 7 inch much, since I bought it in 1980, for fear of damage to my record deck!

The single made number 29 in the UK singles chart.

Thankfully, the next single off the album I bought, "Passing Strangers" was in pristine condition. I always felt this was the wrong choice as a second single, they should have released "New Europeans", the fact it only made number 57 in the UK's singles chart would seem to back thoughts. Just when things were beginning to look bleak for the band, they released the title track as a single, which was a massive hit all over Europe and held the number 2 spot in the UK singles chart for 4 weeks (which might actually be a record??). It was prevented from reaching number 1 by a crap novelty record called "Shaddup Yer Face" by Joe Dolcie, one of the biggest travesties in popular music history! They made a superb video for the track as well. Ultravox were in the big time (I wonder what John Foxx made of it all?)

The final single released off the album was "All Stood Still", which also made the top 10 in the UK singles chart.

I've always loved the monochrome sleeve design for the album cover and for me it is one of my favourite album covers ever, very european, as was the music. A stunning album with quality from start to finish, I always enjoy listening to it, it still sounds ahead of it's time.

Our track recommendations for this album are, "New Europeans", "Private Lives" and "Sleepwalk" and "Vienna", I love every track on this album and the songs scored a 2 or 3.
Our overall rating for this album is 81/100

The album is available from Amazon here

The Electronic Music Hour #30

Welcome to edition #30 of our series "The Electronic Music Hour", which features some of the best electronic and synthpop music from the last 40 years.


These shows not only include well known artists from the last 4 decades but new and emerging bands on the electronic music scene from around the world, a lot of which are either unsigned, or on a small independent label, or self release their material.

So the shows will feature old and new tracks that fit in the electronic/synthpop genre.

Listen On Mixcloud

Listen On Hearthis.at

Playlist:

Ultravox - The Thin Wall (Single Version)
Heaven 17 - Let's All Make A Bomb
Deutsche Bank - Cities
OMD - Stay With Me
Metroland - Synthetic Sound (Seven Inch Alternate Version)
Epic Dreams - Hopeless Dreamer
Gary Numan - Love Needs No Disguise
Electro Spectre - Beautiful Lies
Kraftwerk - Metropolis
The Twins - I Died For You
John Foxx & The Maths - September Town
Marsheaux - Tonight
Pet Shop Boys - Flamboyant
Mr Jones Machine - Visions In Motion
New Musik - Living By Numbers

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Classic Albums Reviewed And Rated - Day 19

Throughout this month we are going to take a look at albums regarded as classics from the 80s and one or two from the late 70s and give you our comments, and our rating of each album.

Each day, during November, we will focus on one album.

To rate the albums we rate each track on the album as either 3 (Outstanding), 2 (Good), 1 (ok) and 0 (Hate it). Those points are totalled up and then divided by the maximum points the album could get (EG 10 tracks would equal 30 points, 10 x 3). Then times the figure by 100 and that gives you your percentage rating. This is a very good indicator of how you rate an album.


Today's album under the microscope?, well following Joy Division, we have the New Order album "Power Corruption & Lies", which was released in May 1983. This was New Order's second album, the follow-up to the disappointing debut "Movement". Like so many of their early albums the album included no singles, that said "Age Of Consent" should definitely have been a single. Of course, the album did follow the release of the best selling 12 inch single of all time "Blue Monday".

This album came out at a very low point in my life, for reasons I won't bore you to death with and I always saw this as a positive upbeat album and a line in the track "Your Silent Face", "You Caught Me At A Bad Time, Why Don't You Piss Off" resonated with me quite a lot during this period! One of Bernards best lyrics without a doubt.

The album reached number 4 in the UK album chart and for me I see this album as the first proper New Order album and what an album it is. Heavy use of synths but with the trademeark Hooky basslines and Bernards guitar, one of their most electronic albums, which is what appeals to me. It has also stood the test of time really well and is probably the most played New Order album in my collection, and I have everything they have ever released, the same applies to Joy Division.

Our track recommendations for this album are, "Age Of Consent", "Your Silent Face" and "The Village", as with Joy Division's album "Closer", there are no tracks I dislike, all tracks scored 2 or higher. Another essential album you should have in your music collection.
Our overall rating for this album is 79/100

The album is available from Amazon here

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Classic Albums Reviewed And Rated - Day 18

Throughout this month we are going to take a look at albums regarded as classics from the 80s and one or two from the late 70s and give you our comments, and our rating of each album.

Each day, during November, we will focus on one album.

To rate the albums we rate each track on the album as either 3 (Outstanding), 2 (Good), 1 (ok) and 0 (Hate it). Those points are totalled up and then divided by the maximum points the album could get (EG 10 tracks would equal 30 points, 10 x 3). Then times the figure by 100 and that gives you your percentage rating. This is a very good indicator of how you rate an album.


Today's album under the microscope is "Closer" by Joy Division, an album I rate as one of my all time favourite albums.

I discovered Joy Division, via a local newspaper in Manchester, where I am from, they had an article about the lead singer of Manchester band Joy Division had taken his own life. I felt compelled to find out about their music and bought their debut album "Unknown Pleasures" without actually listening to any of their music!!

That was the start of my passion for Joy Division and of course New Order, as they subsequently became.

I bought the single "Love Will Tear Us Apart", which came out in June 1980, around that time I bumped into Anthony H Wilson (Factory Records) in Manchester, and got chatting to him about the new single and the band in general. the passion and belief he had in Joy Division was quite staggering and the chat we had, has stayed with me ever since. "Love Will Tear Us Apart" has become my favourite single of all time.

"Closer" was released in July 1980, 2 months after the death of Ian Curtis, the album cover was amazing, it was a picture of a family tomb, which I suspect had already been designed and signed off before Ian Curtis died, so it was quite fitting in the cicumstances, as for the music, well what can I say, it is an outsanding album, and when you listen to the lyrics, Curtis was definitely reaching out to people about his personal problems and trauma, yet nobody in the band realized this, until after his death and the release of the album.

No singles were released by the record company off the album and "Love Will Tear Us Apart" wasn't included either, but that doesn't mean the quality of the album was affected, by this time the band started using synthesizers and they were put to good use on tracks like "Isolation", "Decades" and "The Eternal"

The album reached number 6 in the UK album chart.

By the way if you haven't seen the film "Control", which is about the life of Ian Curtis is superb and highly recommended.

Our track recommendations for this album are, "Isolation", "Heart And Soul" and "The Eternal" and "Decades". As you would expect there are no tracks I dislike. In a word a masterpiece.

Our overall rating for this album is 77/100

The album is available from Amazon here

Friday, 17 November 2017

Classic Albums Reviewed And Rated - Day 17

Throughout this month we are going to take a look at albums regarded as classics from the 80s and one or two from the late 70s and give you our comments, and our rating of each album.

Each day, during November, we will focus on one album.

To rate the albums we rate each track on the album as either 3 (Outstanding), 2 (Good), 1 (ok) and 0 (Hate it). Those points are totalled up and then divided by the maximum points the album could get (EG 10 tracks would equal 30 points, 10 x 3). Then times the figure by 100 and that gives you your percentage rating. This is a very good indicator of how you rate an album.


Today's album under the microscope is "The Luxury Gap" by Heaven 17, a band I have admired for a long time, especially as a live outfit, they are a brilliant band live. Their output over the years has been disappointing, aside from their debut album "Penthouse & Pavement" and of course "The Luxury Gap" their albums have been very poor. Certainly "The Luxury Gap" is the essential Heaven 17 album. This was a superbly produced album with an orchestra, it cost a small fortune to make, so it was a good job it was a successful album!


The album was released in April 1983, some 5 months after the first single from the album "Let Me Go" was released, I bought it on 12 inch vinyl and still have it, that single, for me is their finest piece of work, that bassline......"The Luxury Gap" went on to sell 300,000 copies and made number 4 in the UK Album chart.

In all 5 singles were released from the album, including "We Live So Fast", which was released in the USA only, "Let Me Go", amazingly only made number 41 in the UK Singles chart, "Temptation" made number 2, "Come Live With Me" made number 5 and "Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry", made number 17.

"The Luxury Gap" is rightly regarded as a classic, it is a quality album and stood the test of time, and from interviews I have seen of Martyn & Glenn from the band they are a couple of warm hearted, friendly blokes.

Our track recommendations for this album are, "Let Me Go", "Come Live With Me" and "Temptation". All the tracks scored a 2 or a 3 except "Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry", which I loathe, it grates me everytime I hear it, for me should have been a B side and not on the album.

I was lucky enough to find the 3 disc deluxe edition, about a year or so ago, at HMV for £9.99, a bargain, if you can find that box set, definitely go for it.

This is the album that is as good as The Human League's "Dare" album and not the debut "Penthouse & Pavement", in my book.

Our overall rating for this album is 70/100

The album is available from Amazon here