Erasure: Classic Or Dud?

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Codpiece classic or codswallop dud?

Tom, Sunday, 16 September 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Scarier than Depeche Mode, catchier than the Pet Shop Boys, but not vice-versa. One trick.

dave q, Sunday, 16 September 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

i just can't get enough...well, actually, i can...one horse pony.

Geoff, Sunday, 16 September 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

A one-trick-pony, yes, but it's a good trick. "Sometimes" is my favourite. Erasure's hits hits were often extremely catchy and I find that

hard to resist...

JoB, Sunday, 16 September 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

And since the review Job linked to was, well, mine, you can guess where I stand. ;-) From 1985 to 1992, perfect; after that they hit a rut with only occasional flashes of brilliance. A pity.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 16 September 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

An absolutely ghastly cliche at NYC gay bars during the mid-nineties. That and "Just Another Night" by...who were they, again?

Michael Daddino, Sunday, 16 September 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

The Ambiguously gay duo strikes again! You're not sure where you've heard it or who sings it... but it's always playing in the background at some bar... I preferred Jimmy Sommerville and the Communards - they didn't mess around and got down to business.

jason, Sunday, 16 September 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

the only famous people from Peterborough My mate Max's sister went out with Andy briefly before he decided to be gay

tom, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

I think this discussion should be Erasure + Yazoo, (or Vince Clarke COD) since effectively both bands were Vince + blue eyed soul singers, especially in the early years. Yazoo were a truly fine singles band (the albums had too many cod-experimental tracks) - 'situation' 12" is still one of my favourites whilst Erasure produced more consistent albums - the first one was particularly fine. Like the Pet Shop Boys, Yello & New Order, they struggled to stay relevant through acid house (which didn't really favour melody or lyrics but was rhythmically and structurally more thrilling than synth pop). I lost touch with erasure at that time (stopped hearing them in clubs) though I do know that their fan club kept teen gay culture going through the dark days of late Thatcherism and for that alone they surely deserve classic status.

Guy, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

"Catchy", well oh yeah sure, but the sound of that voice is so very, very GAY it just makes my skin crawl. And the arrangements are cheesy.

Sean, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

The only album you need is the greatest hits compilation. Everything else is superfluous.

Dan Perry, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

come on, "wild" is ace! "ooooooh estamos en la gloria!" : CLASSIC

fernando, Tuesday, 18 September 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

4 years pass...
what's half a decade between posts?

i can't find the only pick one thread so i'm guesing there hasn't been one. none of the erasure threads seem to be very long which is weird.

pisces (piscesx), Wednesday, 30 August 2006 09:14 (8 years ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...
They do seem to fall into some sorta dead zone these days. That said, as muttered elsewhere, I drug out The Two Ring Circus by impulse the other day and I have to say that the three orchestral songs on there are actually probably the most contextually adventurous they ever got, just because it was such an unexpected move for the time, specifically 1987. Still like the live part too, especially for the bit where they introduce every element of the song on the Oberheim Xpander.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 20 September 2006 04:36 (8 years ago) Permalink

They were at their best in the early 90s, when they dug out those old analogue synths and stuck to them only for a couple albums. Never got better than on the "Chorus" album, which is classic all the way through and one of the best synthpop albums ever.

Otherwise, they have always been a great single band while debut album "Wonderland" is also great and underrated. A singles compilation is always worth checking out nevertheless, not at least because they often contained new and better mixes.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Wednesday, 20 September 2006 07:35 (8 years ago) Permalink

WEIRD. I played Pop!: The First Twenty Hits last night. The immediate post-"Chains of Love" hits sound the best: "You Surround Me," "Blue Savannah."

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Wednesday, 20 September 2006 10:12 (8 years ago) Permalink

best album still a toss up between WILD (surely the most adventurous and eclectic number one electropop album of all time) and INNOCENTS.

i think CHORUS is a bit weedy production wise in parts, lacks the general punch and thwack of the other two classics. incidentally the cd packaging of the CHORUS album (cliched advertsing images of 2.4 famillies on beaches and bike rides and so on) had a massive effect on me at that age. i wondered *what they were getting at* with it all for a very long time.

in the early 90's NME and the like decided they were brilliant and there was a lot of ecstatic praise for the POP! singles comp.

also they were a *fantastically* under rated b-sides act.

if you can watch their live dvd THE TANK THE SWAN AND THE BALLOON without being thrilled most of the way through i'd seriously consider checking your pulse.

pisces (piscesx), Wednesday, 20 September 2006 11:01 (8 years ago) Permalink

They were a great singles band indeed, though I never paid too much attention to their albums. For some reason "Saturday Night" isn't included in any of the hit collections, but it's one of my favourite synth pop songs of all time.

Tuomas (Tuomas), Wednesday, 20 September 2006 11:06 (8 years ago) Permalink

Wild! is amazing. I love Erasure.

Curt1s St3ph3ns, Wednesday, 20 September 2006 15:56 (8 years ago) Permalink

The lack of specificity in Bell's lyrics has always bothered me, but then again, I've always accepted Erasure as the hearts-and-flowers Pet Shop Boys anyway. There's a coming-out track on one of their early albums (someone remind me) that refutes me, though.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Wednesday, 20 September 2006 16:11 (8 years ago) Permalink

"Hideaway." Which I mentioned in my thread revive, to turn it all back around.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 20 September 2006 16:24 (8 years ago) Permalink

"The lack of specificity in Bell's lyrics"

Do you mean that they do not particularly specify homosexual relationships?

everything (everything), Wednesday, 20 September 2006 16:58 (8 years ago) Permalink

He's vague about a lot of things; we don't parse scenarios as we would in a good PSB tune, for instance. But Bell nails it just as often ("Ship of Fools," "Chains of Love," "Blue Savannah," "Love to Hate You," "Always").

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Wednesday, 20 September 2006 17:10 (8 years ago) Permalink

He's a romantic. I like that.

I just gave their latest covers album a spin this week. Although covers albums are generally a bad idea I gave them a pass here because Erasure's glory days are long gone anyway and they've usually picked idiocyncratic tunes to cover, picking the most obvious (the Abba stuff) or the most unusual (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Ave Maria, Hall of the Mountain King). It starts off quite well with Solsbury Hill, Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometimes and Come Up and See Me Make Me Smile. Then it gets really blah until it ends with a really redundant Video Killed The Radio Star. Worth hearing the first three if you are an Erasure fan though.

everything (everything), Wednesday, 20 September 2006 17:18 (8 years ago) Permalink

...and you are not sick of hearing those tunes. I accept they may be making a crass pitch for radio play by covering those totally overplayed tunes that everyone knows.

everything (everything), Wednesday, 20 September 2006 17:21 (8 years ago) Permalink

i think CHORUS is a bit weedy production wise in parts, lacks the general punch and thwack of the other two classics.

I don't like digital synths. Way too much "punch" and "thwack".

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Wednesday, 20 September 2006 18:40 (8 years ago) Permalink

7 months pass...
loving INNOCENTS *right now*.

pisces, Monday, 7 May 2007 20:40 (7 years ago) Permalink

loving "Stop!" *right now*.

Curt1s Stephens, Monday, 7 May 2007 20:44 (7 years ago) Permalink

"Innocents" has several good songs, which is the reason why it has held up rather well. Its weakness still being Stephen Hauge's production that lost some of the most typical Vince Clark-sound. It sounds a bit too much like an archetypical 1988 album rather than the synthpop masterpiece that was "Chorus" three years on.

Geir Hongro, Monday, 7 May 2007 21:50 (7 years ago) Permalink

What do people think of Light At The End Of The World? It's the most uptempo set they've delivered in years, although it does progressively mellow out.

mike t-diva, Tuesday, 8 May 2007 09:02 (7 years ago) Permalink

with every album, i find myself caring less and less. i think i listened to "union street" once. i don't remember a thing about it.

grimly fiendish, Tuesday, 8 May 2007 09:25 (7 years ago) Permalink

I had more or less stopped caring when I discovered that "Nightbird" was a GREAT comeback album. "Union Street" was a pointless concept though.

Geir Hongro, Tuesday, 8 May 2007 09:27 (7 years ago) Permalink

couldn't have cared less after the 86-91 peak but GODDAMN that peak.

i agree with the gentleman upthread who said WILD was 'surely the most adventurous and eclectic number one electropop album of all time' although that sorta sounds like faint praise.

pisces, Tuesday, 8 May 2007 15:40 (7 years ago) Permalink

Wild! is fantastic.

Curt1s Stephens, Tuesday, 8 May 2007 20:07 (7 years ago) Permalink

Not at all a fan of "Wild!". My least favourite of their first five albums.

Geir Hongro, Tuesday, 8 May 2007 21:07 (7 years ago) Permalink

couldn't have cared less after the 86-91 peak but GODDAMN that peak.


Yeah pretty much. The sole album I stick with after that period is the self-titled one for being a classic prog indulgence.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 8 May 2007 21:09 (7 years ago) Permalink

"Nightbird" is great. The self-titled one deserves props for trying, but partly failed what it aimed to achieve.

Geir Hongro, Tuesday, 8 May 2007 21:11 (7 years ago) Permalink

I'll second the praise for their "imperial phase."

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Tuesday, 8 May 2007 21:20 (7 years ago) Permalink

You're a poet etc.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 8 May 2007 21:20 (7 years ago) Permalink

"Catchy", well oh yeah sure, but the sound of that voice is so very, very GAY it just makes my skin crawl. And the arrangements are cheesy.

-- Sean, Sunday, September 16, 2001 8:00 PM (5 years ago)


bizarre

Surmounter, Wednesday, 9 May 2007 00:52 (7 years ago) Permalink

BLUE SAVANNAH.

Curt1s Stephens, Sunday, 13 May 2007 05:20 (7 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

http://music.guardian.co.uk/pop/story/0,,2134860,00.html

andy bell. god bless him.

pisces, Friday, 27 July 2007 02:11 (7 years ago) Permalink

Has anyone else said the new album is excellent?

If not, I'll do. Hadn't it been for "Nightbird", it would have been their best since "Chorus".

Geir Hongro, Friday, 27 July 2007 22:16 (7 years ago) Permalink

i still haven't heard it yet :/

grimly fiendish, Saturday, 28 July 2007 16:41 (7 years ago) Permalink

3 years pass...

"Ship of Fools" is a little spooky, isn't it? This make s me feel bad at words, but "Ship of Fools" freaks me out a little.

Peter Pepsi (Abbbottt), Tuesday, 15 February 2011 20:51 (3 years ago) Permalink

Hmm, never thought of it as spooky -- nicely atmospheric, though. (Helps that that's still my favorite album of theirs.)

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 15 February 2011 20:54 (3 years ago) Permalink

It is. The music sort of sounds like wind howling. or something. lol. I am also bad at words. I feel like there are other songs on The Innocents that have a spooky vibe to them but tbh it's been a while since I've listened to them.

ENBB, Tuesday, 15 February 2011 20:54 (3 years ago) Permalink

1 year passes...

Toppermost of the poppermost: The Innocents, Chorus, I Say I Say I Say

Excellent and worth a listen but not-quite-there: Erasure, Nightbird

Good-to-great singles and one or two decent albums tracks, but otherwise patchy: Wonderland, The Circus, Wild!, Cowboy

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!: Loveboat, Light At The End Of The World, Tomorrow's World.

The Jupiter 8 (Turrican), Saturday, 7 April 2012 21:22 (2 years ago) Permalink

Ultimately though, my favourites are the analogue-synthfests of Chorus, I Say I Say I Say and Erasure, and the lovely-sounding softsynths of Nightbird.

The Jupiter 8 (Turrican), Saturday, 7 April 2012 21:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

Chorus is my favourite single

Master of Treacle, Saturday, 7 April 2012 22:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

Andy Bell's excellent performance in Peter Hammill's opera The Fall of the House of Usher is often overlooked. Here he is duetting with Lene Lovich:

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Saturday, 7 April 2012 23:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

8 months pass...

Everything about that interview is amazing

GIMME SOME REGGAE (DJP), Saturday, 22 December 2012 16:49 (1 year ago) Permalink

At least he got into Boy George, doesn't seem to have got round to 'Pop!' yet

'Separate Lives', by Phil Collins & Marilyn Manson (PaulTMA), Saturday, 22 December 2012 17:13 (1 year ago) Permalink

He probably wishes he could get into Boy George, if you know what I'm saying.

I saw three shi*s come sailing in... (snoball), Saturday, 22 December 2012 18:09 (1 year ago) Permalink

"I would give everything I own... not to be a Tory fuckwit homophobe."

I saw three shi*s come sailing in... (snoball), Saturday, 22 December 2012 18:10 (1 year ago) Permalink

1 year passes...

I gave up listening to new Erasure albums quite a long time ago, but on a whim I decided to stream the new one and it's quite good. Maybe they're not self-conscious anymore now that no one's paying attention?

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 23 September 2014 21:55 (1 month ago) Permalink

that's what Vince Clarke said.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 23 September 2014 21:56 (1 month ago) Permalink

I wasn't even aware that Erasure had a new one out, and probably would have ended up overlooking it completely if it hadn't been mentioned here, so thanks! I haven't heard it yet, but I'll at the very least be giving it a spin. I'm not expecting anything other than an Erasure record that comfortably sounds like an Erasure record, but I hope that it's better than that Tomorrow's World heap of dung that they put out a couple of years back.

Welcome To (Turrican), Tuesday, 23 September 2014 22:21 (1 month ago) Permalink

It's called The Violet Flame and I actually didn't realize it had just come out today, so good timing on my part.

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 23 September 2014 22:38 (1 month ago) Permalink

xpost:

...and it is! I'm halfway through it now, while it obviously doesn't touch anything from their "classic" period, it's leagues better than the likes of Tomorrow's World and Loveboat (which to me are the worst two albums they ever made), and I prefer it vastly to The Light at the End of the World. So I guess this is their best album since the turn of the millennium that isn't called Nightbird, which is a pleasant surprise to me given that I wasn't expecting much.

Welcome To (Turrican), Tuesday, 23 September 2014 22:50 (1 month ago) Permalink

Love the Gareth Jones mix of You Surround Me has caused an argument between me and my friend. I say it's gorgeous, he says it's ruined.

brotherlovesdub, Tuesday, 23 September 2014 22:57 (1 month ago) Permalink

With all the praise Nightbird has gotten in this thread, I'm giving it a go right now.

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 23 September 2014 22:58 (1 month ago) Permalink

Andy's not really belting it out much on this album (Nightbird), huh?

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 23 September 2014 23:20 (1 month ago) Permalink

Yeah, he's not really belting it out as much as he'd done on previous albums, but I do think it suits the Nightbird material. Andy's voice has obviously changed over the years, and it's hard to say whether this is down to age, or down to the cocaine habit he had in the '90s (which had apparently got so bad that when they were making the self-titled record from '95, he was snorting lines in between vocal takes in the studio - there certainly has been a difference in his voice from then onwards), or whether he's consciously trying to take more care of his voice these days. Then there was his HIV diagnosis in '98, too.

But yeah, it does suit the Nightbird material, I think. I find his voice absolutely unbearable on Tomorrow's World, though... it's like a massive advert for autotune, mostly done on purpose (as an "artistic" decision), but it sounds like absolute shit.

Welcome To (Turrican), Tuesday, 23 September 2014 23:42 (1 month ago) Permalink

For me 'Nightbird' is their best since 'Chorus', though the self titled was a very interesting diversion - not sure how much it harmed them commercially given it came out at the height of britpop, but was probably artistically a great way to start a commercial decline.

Haven't listened to the new one yet, but it is waiting for me when I get home. I don't mind 'Tommorrow's World' but I rarely go back to it.

michaellambert, Tuesday, 23 September 2014 23:45 (1 month ago) Permalink

I enjoy quite a lot of the self-titled album and appreciate it for its indulgence, even if it is a bit on the long side. I'll admit that not all of it is successful in what it's attempting, but when it works it works really well, and I find it probably the most interesting album they ever made. It's definitely one of those albums that divides fans... some can tolerate the ambient section in the middle of 'Rock Me Gently' with Diamanda Galas vocalising throughout, and some can't.

Interesting, the first track on it ('Intro: Guess I'm Into Feeling') is a shortened/slightly different version of a track called 'True Love Wars', which was slated to go on the album, but instead was relegated to the B-side of 'Stay With Me'. I'm not quite sure whether it was bumped because they didn't think the song was good enough to be on the album, or whether it was bumped because of space reasons (the album is long enough as it is!)

Welcome To (Turrican), Wednesday, 24 September 2014 00:14 (1 month ago) Permalink

*Interestingly

Welcome To (Turrican), Wednesday, 24 September 2014 00:14 (1 month ago) Permalink

Welcome To (Turrican), Wednesday, 24 September 2014 00:14 (1 month ago) Permalink

I reckon 'Stay With Me' could have been their biggest hit overall had it just been released at an earlier point in their career

PaulTMA, Wednesday, 24 September 2014 00:52 (1 month ago) Permalink

myself and NI made one of the remixes that's on the single (the Club Clique mix). seems to have had a pretty good reaction so far.

https://soundcloud.com/erasureinfo/elevation-club-clique-remix

piscesx, Wednesday, 24 September 2014 01:41 (1 month ago) Permalink

I reckon 'Stay With Me' could have been their biggest hit overall had it just been released at an earlier point in their career

― PaulTMA, Wednesday, September 24, 2014 12:52 AM (1 hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

It could have been a bigger hit than it was even if it had only been released three or four years earlier, I reckon. Prior to 'Stay With Me', Chorus and the ABBA Esque EP had been quite successful, and then 'Always' was quite a big hit from I Say I Say I Say. By the time the self-titled record came out, the UK had gone Britpop crazy and pretty much every band deemed "'80s electro" that was still active struggled apart from Depeche Mode and Pet Shop Boys (but even then, Bilingual got a mixed reception). I think everything from The Innocents up to I Say I Say I Say made it to #1 in the UK album chart, whereas the self-titled record made it to #14. People were still very much buying a lot of albums at the time, so they were very much selling to their hardcore fanbase from that point onwards.

Very odd choice of first single, though... 'Fingers & Thumbs' probably would have been my pick.

Welcome To (Turrican), Wednesday, 24 September 2014 02:48 (1 month ago) Permalink

Haven't heard the new album yet. I got my hopes about it being good as they'd work with Richard X but the single didn't do a lot for me. Agree that the last album was terrible and that Loveboat was a low point in their career.

Nightbird is a wonderful album. I loved it when it came out and almost 10 years later it's definitely my favourite Erasure album, ahead of Chorus. A great set of understated and beautiful songs with perfect production. It was such a great moment when Breathe game them another top five hit. I just didn't see it coming at the time. It makes it more of a shame that the two albums after were so weak.

I think the problem with the self titled album was it was released too soon after I Say I Say I Say. It came out less than 18 months after an album that did spawn a couple of big hits and made number one but also did sell much less and didn't stay in the charts for long at all. They needed to give the public a bit more time to miss them. I remember them saying they thought it was going to be their Dark Side of the Moon. It's not a bad album but fairly forgettable. Fingers & Thumbs is an incredible song, defiantly should have been the first single.

Kitchen Person, Wednesday, 24 September 2014 04:26 (1 month ago) Permalink

I can understand what you mean. Plus, if they'd held off releasing it for a while, they could have lived with the material a bit more and might have gone back and made further adjustments and/or come up with additional songs that may have improved it. But as it stands, really there's only 'Grace' and 'Love The Way You Do So' that I'm not keen on from that album.

Welcome To (Turrican), Wednesday, 24 September 2014 04:41 (1 month ago) Permalink


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