I don’t want to let jrmugz down so yet again here is another great album from the 80s.
This week I have chosen the album A Secret Wish by the band Propaganda. This was the 1985 debut album of German synthpop band, released by ZTT Records, it was produced by Stephen Lipson under the supervision of label boss Trevor Horn.
The singles "Duel" and "Dr. Mabuse" were both Top 30 UK chart hits. The track "p:Machinery" (a line from which gives the album its title) was also released as a single and was featured in an episode of the '80s TV show Miami Vice.
There seems to be many different variants of the album based on CD or Vinyl issue or on the remix album also released in 1985 called Wishful Thinking. The version for review has this track listing.
1 Dream Within A Dream 8:03 2 The Murder Of Love 5:13 3 Jewel 3:07 4 Duel 4:41 5 P-Machinery 3:50 6 Sorry For Laughing 3:27 7 Dr. Mabuse (First Life) Producer – Trevor Horn 4:57 8 The Chase 4:05 9 The Last Word / Strength To Dream
There is of course an ELO connection, Claudia Brucken from the band covered One Summer Dream a few years ago.
01. "Dream Within A Dream" - Very tripped out, soothing and dreamy, like it, like the buildup. Great stuff. 02. "The Murder Of Love" - Nice percussive and keyboard chord intro, after that doesn't offer too much unique, but it's OK. 03. "Jewel" - Straightforward mysterious instrumental. Works. 04. "Duel" - Catchy, nice arrangement, really good vocal. Not surprised it was a top 30 hit in the UK. 05. "P-Machinery" - Cosmic, sounds really good. Almost wish no vocal came in. 06. "Sorry For Laughing" - Good hook in the chorus, this one is a victim of it's genre, though, needs to be sung with an acoustic guitar. 07. "Dr. Mabuse (First Life)" - Sounds like Vincent Price singing the verses. A decent strong, can't easily see why it was a hit, like I can for "Duel". With all respect to Trevor Horn! 08. "The Chase" - Wow, really like this one. Best balance of instrumentation of any of the songs. My favorite so far. I can forgive that it reminds me of Madonna. ha ha. 09. "The Last Word / Strength To Dream" - Kind of like "Murder of Love" in strong opening chords, but needs to really take off and develop a little better and become something a little more original.
"One Summer Dream" by Claudia Brucken - Awesome ELO cover song for me to enjoy on this hot sweltering summer day. Poignant.
star rating: 4.1 out of 5 prime cuts: "The Chase", "Duel", "Dream Within a Dream", "Jewel" bottom line: A strong 80s group, sometimes held victim of their genre.
I like how they feel at liberty to have the long instrumental intros on a couple of the songs. When the songs work they work really well. Sometimes it felt like they were being held hostage from really cutting loose like they would like to. But it was a very cool and enjoyable listen, so thanks HW. Will mark you down for the next avaialable slot.
I've only heard a tiny bit from Propaganda, whichever single(s) hit the charts and thus the radio at the time. However there's nothing wrong with a bit of synth-pop and the German accent is the ideal starting point. Here goes:
Dream Within A Dream - I really like the way this builds up, and the rolling beat of it. Brings Pink Floyd to mind, in a very good way. Excellent opener, and even though it's quite long I didn't really notice until about 7 minutes in, when it began to be a bit samey.
The Murder Of Love - Great title for a start and it has a good, punchy, jackboot march beat. Loads going on here which is never a bad thing and her voice is fab. I can imagine Muse coming up with something like this a couple of albums ago. Love the twiddly guitar solo.
Jewel - Sounds like a tin box full of cutlery being shaken about, it certainly wakes you up when it kicks off. This one reminds me of Ultravox, is every song going to bring another band to mind? Must say that it doesn't detract from Propaganda's unique-ness at all. Huge sound, again with loads going on to keep your interest so the lack of a vocal doesn't matter.
Duel - Aha! I recognise this one, never realised this was the title. Giving it a proper listen, it's a really classy pop song well above the average at the time. Stuffed with win.
P-Machinery - Very industrial beginning (ie it sounds like a factory in full swing) Nodding along happily to this, it does sound a bit dated but the epic wall of sound and polished vocal do lift it out of the ordinary.
Sorry For Laughing - Another enormous slice of synth mayhem, it doesn't really stand out for me, having heard what's come before. I do like the churchy organ bits though, adding this to a song is always a good choice.
Dr. Mabuse (First Life) - Oooh, creepy whispering and a robotic extra vocal, I like it. Gopd drumming on this as well, but it does go on a bit too long for me.
The Chase - I like the bits where the background goes really quiet and the vocal is right up front here, also the spoken bits are nicely atmospheric, reminds me of Fade to Grey by Visage (yet another great Welsh production) The Last Word / Strength To Dream - This one creeps up on you, love the twangy bass sound and the thunderstorm. Great strings too, nice little book-ending finisher.
I would never have listened to this album without this thread, I rather enjoyed it though. I really like the big sound of it and the way loads of different sounds are piled in. They were also a dab hand at a chart single with class, and although some of the songs remind me of other bands they do have their own identity. I'd give it 7 out of 10, thanks for sharing Horacewimp
Edit: Nice version of One Summer Dream but I think Jeff does it better. I am impressed at the way she sings the low notes though
Last Edit: Jul 23, 2016 20:29:08 GMT by unomusette
It's all good entertainment, it doesn't cost a penny
Post by queenofthehours on Aug 2, 2016 16:38:27 GMT
1 Dream Within A Dream – I like it, it's a great opener. Not a proper song but an overture really to get you into the mood of the LP. I like the drums.
2 The Murder Of Love – Sounds a bit like New Order here. In fact the band sounds like New Order crossed with Joy Division with a bit of Aztec Camera style guitar in parts.
3 Jewel – I know this but I can’t remember where I heard it. It's very Prapaganda.
4 Duel – I know this too, I had it on a compilation cd and played it to death. Everything just gels well. The one of the best songs of the 80s maybe, at least in the electronic catagory.
5 P-Machinery – Very Kraftwerk which is no surprise being German.
6 Sorry For Laughing – Not my top track but not bad, just not as memorable as the others but I do love it whan I hear it.
7 Dr. Mabuse (First Life) – Like above not in my top list but good all the same. Like Kraftwerk on acid.
8 The Chase – A good track, not the strongest but a good one for this late stage in the album.
9 The Last Word / Strength To Dream - A great track to end. As strong as the start. Very ZTT too.
You can't beat 80s electronic music, especially not Germanic ZTT 80s electronic music. I've never heard their albums only the odd single but I'll definitely listen to more as all the tracks on this LP are great.
One summer dream – I knew of this album but if I heard anything from it it wasn’t this and I never noticed ELO on there mainly as I was not a fan at the time. I love it, dare I say it, I think it's better than the ELO version – maybe it’s the novelty talking but the tempo is kept and the music is traditional to ELO's, the vocal is just fine and the strings are lovely.
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