Thursday, May 17, 2012

The The - 45 RPM: The Singles of The The (2002)

45 RPM is a collection of songs by The The. 45 RPM was released in 2002. All the songs were 24 bit digitally remastered to, as the slipcase tells us, "reveal the full richness and complexity of the original recordings". The album was also released as a limited hardback 2 CD set. The second CD contains eight extended remixes.

Like Steely Dan, The The wasn't so much a band as a personal musical conceit/alter ego, this one for English writer-performer Matt Johnson. While Johnson's "band" came of age during the English synth pop boom of the early ‘80s, electricity was about the only common denominator between Johnson and his fashion slave contemporaries. Indeed, the sense of conscientious outrage that informs many of the two decades worth of singles collected here fostered a perception of Johnson as something of a prickly malcontent. But fashion was never an end in itself for Johnson, even on early pop fare like "Uncertain Smile" and "Perfect." Johnson's restless creative bent has led him to remix many of these tracks anew, ensuring that this set would never be seen as mere artistic obituary. Johnson's reputation as a socio-political crank reached its zenith on tracks like "Heartland" (which decries the reverse cultural colonization of Britain by America) and "Armageddon Days" (a shotgun blast at pan-religious hypocrisy, here introduced by a hilarious parody of the Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz": "Are you ready Jesus? Yeah! / Budda? Uh-huh."), but subsequent history has only proven him sagacious. Pity that Johnson's "Armageddon" lineup was short-lived: The The was a real band in ‘89, with Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr adding his signature sound to "The Beat(en) Generation" as well. And if anyone thought they had Johnson pegged, his acclaimed 1995 Hank Williams tribute, Hanky Panky (represented here by a riveting reinvention of the country legend's "I Saw the Light"), surely set them scratching their heads again. The set is rounded out by three strong new tracks ("Decembersunlight (Cried Out)," a duet with Liz Horsman; "Pillar Box Red"; and "Deep Down Truth," a duet with Wild Colonial Angela McCluskey). The limited-edition two-disc set also includes a bonus disc of eight 12" club mixes previously unreleased in the U.S. on CD. -- Jerry McCulley

45 RPM: The Singles of The The (Hardback Edition) 



Track listing

Disc One: The Singles

1. Uncertain Smile (Original version)
2. Perfect (Original version)
3. Sweet Bird Of Truth (New Edit)
4. Infected
5. Heartland
6. Armageddon Days (Are Here Again)
7. The Beat(en) Generation
8. Dogs of Lust
9. Slow Emotion Replay
10. Love is Stronger than Death
11. This is the Day (Disinfected Version)
12. I Saw the Light
13. December Sunlight (Cried Out)*
14. Pillar Box Red*
15. Deep Down Truth*

 *Previously Unreleased


Disc Two: The Remixes

1. Uncertain Smile (12" Remix)
2. Perfect (12" Remix)
3. Sweet Bird of Truth (12" Remix)
4. Infected (12" Remix)
5. Armageddon Days (DNA Remix)
6. Violence of Truth (Remix)
7. Gravitate to Me (12" Remix)
8. Dogs of Lust (Foetus Spermicide Remix)


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