Love and a Million Other Things - Claudia Brücken Album Review
I suppose the 90s won't be remembered for much, certainly not past the middle of the decade, but the first five years saw 'Baggy', 'jungle', 'rave', 'Britpop' and 'drum n bass' whizz past a few marketing moguls at major-labels with mixed results.
Those artists that were caught in the middle, the ones that didn't bow to public, peer or PR pressure, soldiered on in their own little world. Reps dumped their singles on chart-return shop-counters like unwanted kittens and, I have to say, Propaganda's ex-singer Claudia Brucken fell foul of that practice on several occasions. For example, I managed to buy every format of the single "Kiss Like Ether" for the total sum of £2 - that's about 30p a format. How times have changed?
Cherry Red, rather than ZTT or Island (the original label), has gleaned the rights to Brucken's debut, and subsequently only, solo album-project and, on the whole, has achieved a decent reissue without too many surprises.
Oddly, this album sounds more dated than the recent reissue of Propaganda's "A Secret Wish" (curated by the same man, Ian Peel), yet there are many jewels within its box and much of it is worthy of a revisit.
The singles "Kiss Like Ether" and "Absolut(E)" are all present and correct in numerous versions (disc 2 is basically B-sides and reworks), mixes that wander through the interpretive minds of chuggy-beatmeister Pascal Gabriel and Mark Saunders without adding a great deal. Only the rather sparkly extended 'Earth Mood Magic In A Present Tense' refix of "...Ether" works beyond predictability.
The real winners across the two discs are the relatively unfamiliar songs - "I Dream" is quite simply one of Brucken's best songs that, in its previous incarnation, never deserved to be relegated to a b-side (of "Ether") and should have been a single (with the odd tweak or two). Whatever, both the extended and radio mixes are present here, as well as the other half-decent flip-track, "Whisper".
The main album itself is a mixed bag of pretentious yet engaging lyrics, chilled-out ambi-beats, wiggly synths and earnest pop melancholia that drew from Brucken's legacy with Propaganda and her future collaborator Paul Humphreys (OMD). "Surprise" is easily the best track across the double-set, a fact that her then-record label overlooked for that elusive third single that might have been 'the hit'.
Overall, this is a thoroughly worthy reissue that succeeds in piecing together the chequered past of one of ZTT's enigmatic and often berated artists, previously and cruelly resigned to the markdown bins in record stores.
You may be interested in
- Fri 24th May 2013 to Sat 19th Oct 2013 Midge UreBuy Tickets
- Tue 28th May 2013 Depeche Mode, How to Dress WellThe O2 Arena (Greenwich)Buy Tickets
- Wed 29th May 2013 Depeche Mode, TrentemollerThe O2 Arena (Greenwich)Buy Tickets
- Thu 30th May 2013 OMDVicar Street (Dublin)Buy Tickets
- Sat 1st Jun 2013 Wychwood Festival 2013, The Human League, Caravan Palace, Ka...Cheltenham Racecourse (Cheltenham)Buy Tickets
- Sat 1st Jun 2013 Happy Days Festival 2013, The Fatback Band, Loose Ends, Joce...Imber Court - East Molesey (Surrey)Buy Tickets
- Sun 2nd Jun 2013 Happy Days Festival 2013, Ali Campbell, Jimmy Somerville, Im...Imber Court - East Molesey (Surrey)Buy Tickets
- Fri 21st Jun 2013 Newmarket Nights, Simple MindsNewmarket Racecourse (Newmarket)Buy Tickets
- Sat 22nd Jun 2013 Rock the Stadium 2013, Five Star, Altered Images, The Real T...Falkirk Stadium (Falkirk)Buy Tickets
- Sat 6th Jul 2013 The Human League, The Blow MonkeysLeicester Racecourse (Leicester)Buy Tickets
- Sat 6th Jul 2013 Chilfest 2013, Tony Hadley, Rick Astley, Howard Jones, Midge...Pendley Meadow (Tring)Buy Tickets
- Wed 10th Jul 2013 Kew the Music 2013, The Human League, Howard JonesKew Gardens (London)Buy Tickets
- Thu 11th Jul 2013 Bilbao BBK Live 2013, Depeche Mode, Two Door Cinema Club, Ed...Kobetamendi Park - Bilbao BBK (Bilbao)Buy Tickets
- Fri 12th Jul 2013 The Human LeagueTynemouth Priory and Castle (Tyne and Wear)Buy Tickets
- Sat 13th Jul 2013 Optimus Alive 2013, Depeche ModePasseio Marítimo de Algés (Lisbon)Buy Tickets
- Thu 18th Jul 2013 Benicàssim 2013, Queens of the Stone Age, Beach House...Recinto de Conciertos (Benicasim)Buy Tickets
- Sat 20th Jul 2013 Tatton Park Picnic Concerts 2013, The Human LeagueTatton Park (Knutsford)Buy Tickets
- Fri 26th Jul 2013 Rewind Scotland - the '80s Festival 2013Scone Palace (Perth and Kinross)Buy Tickets
- Sat 27th Jul 2013 Rewind Scotland - the '80s Festival 2013, Ali Campbell, Kim ...Scone Palace (Perth and Kinross)Buy Tickets
- Sun 28th Jul 2013 Rewind Scotland - the '80s Festival 2013, OMD, Level 42, Ton...Scone Palace (Perth and Kinross)Buy Tickets
- Fri 2nd Aug 2013 Lytham Proms Festival Weekend 2013, The 80s Strikes Back, To...Lytham Green (Lancashire)Buy Tickets
- Sat 3rd Aug 2013 and Fri 16th Aug 2013 Heaven 17Buy Tickets
- Fri 16th Aug 2013 Rewind - the '80s Festival 2013Temple Island Meadow (Henley-on-Thames)Buy Tickets
- Sat 17th Aug 2013 Rewind - the '80s Festival 2013, Kim Wilde, The B-52's, Bill...Temple Island Meadow (Henley-on-Thames)Buy Tickets
- Sat 17th Aug 2013 Flashback Festival 2013, Tony Hadley, Rick Astley, Jimmy Som...Clumber Park (Worksop)Buy Tickets
- Sun 18th Aug 2013 Rewind - the '80s Festival 2013, ABC, The Pointer Sisters, P...Temple Island Meadow (Henley-on-Thames)Buy Tickets
- Sun 25th Aug 2013 Creamfields 2013, Tiësto, David Guetta, Sebastian Ingro...Daresbury Estate (Warrington)Buy Tickets
- Thu 3rd Oct 2013 B.E.F, Sandie Shaw, Andy Bell, Kim Wilde, Glenn Gregory, Shi...O2 Shepherds Bush Empire (Shepherds Bush)Buy Tickets
- Fri 4th Oct 2013 B.E.F, Sandie Shaw, Andy Bell, Kim Wilde, Glenn Gregory, Shi...O2 Academy 1 & 2 (Sheffield)Buy Tickets
- Thu 7th Nov 2013 to Mon 27th Jan 2014 Depeche ModeBuy Tickets
- Wed 27th Nov 2013 to Sat 30th Nov 2013 Simple Minds, UltravoxBuy Tickets