British supergroup Electronic was the intermittent collaboration formed by Joy Division/New Order vocalist Bernard Sumner and ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. Also featuring the Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant, the band was an influential taste-making force that released three groundbreaking albums throughout the '90s before its members moved on creatively. For the time that these dynamic artists came together as Electronic, their dance-flavored sound pulsed with the freedom they experienced making music outside of their other, higher profile groups. Though their first gig was performing for 70,000 people at L.A.'s Dodger Stadium, Electronic's collective spirit was personal and independent-minded. Infused with spirit and innovation, it made for some of the '90s most compelling U.K.-centric altrock.
Nina Hagen is a unique vocalist, ranging from a coloratura soprano to a guttural alto and phrasing in surprising, dramatically changing ways, so that her performances are musical roller coasters, full of sudden shifts in mood and volume. Singing alternately in German and English, Hagen is backed by rock tracks leaning toward punk on some songs, and by producer Giorgio Moroder's signature Euro-disco synth-dance sounds on others on this 14-track, 74-minute compilation. Want to hear a German-language version of the Tubes' "White Punks on Dope"? How about a performance of "My Way" (also in German) that rivals Sid Vicious' for outrageousness? Ultimately, Nina Hagen may be a period novelty act of the early '80s, a mixture of Toni Basil, Falco, and a hyena. But she gets your attention.
The Best of Gary Numan 1978–1983 is a double disc compilation album of Gary Numan's singles and selected album tracks released on the Beggars Banquet Records label. It was promoted by the remixed re-release of "Cars". The contents of the enclosed twelve page booklet are identical to the one included with the previously released Exhibition compilation album. It contains various pictures from the years in question and an extensive chronological essay by Francis Drake.
The Very Best of Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band compiles the highlights from the group's first two albums, which featured the kitschy, big band-influenced disco group at the height of their powers. All of the group's hits -- "I'll Play the Fool," "Whispering/Cherchez La Femme/Se Si Bon," "Sour and Sweet/Lemon in the Honey" -- are included on the collection, as well as a number of first-rate album tracks, making it not only the perfect place to start, but also the only Dr. Buzzard album any fan needs to own.
Blancmange is a perfect band for a compilation: it was only around for three albums, so there's not a lot of material to pick and choose from (meaning that many fan favorites will fall by the wayside), and all three albums are spotty enough that buying Second Helpings: The Best of Blancmange is a quick and neat way to get pretty much all of the high points. (That said, it would have been nice if the atmospheric instrumental "Sad Day" from 1982's Happy Families had made the cut.) The duo's three best singles, the propulsive "Blind Vision" (featuring Neil Arthur's most manic vocals), the boppy and Erasure-like "That's Love, That It Is" (the closest the duo ever got to a U.S. hit), and the hypnotic, Middle Eastern-flavored "Living on the Ceiling" (an '80s weekend radio staple even though it wasn't much of a hit at the time), are all present and accounted for, as are their other singles and a smattering of quality album tracks. A simple "all meat no filler" compilation, Second Helpings: The Best of Blancmange is just about all the Blancmange most people will ever need.