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BPM... dancebeat
by Gregg Shapiro
2003-12-10

This article shared 2408 times since Wed Dec 10, 2003
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So gay, so glorious, Andy Bell, the out, fabulous and flamboyant lead singer of Erasure has helped to make dance music accessible to frat boys and sorority girls as well as to his deeply devoted queer fans. I'm not even sure the Pet Shop Boys have maintained the same kind of crossover appeal. The double disc set The Very Best of Erasure (Mute/Sire) is the digital duo's first domestic hits compilation since 1992's Pop!, but I was surprised by how much the two anthologies have in common.

Twelve of the tracks on disc one of The Very Best of were also included on Pop! Interestingly, three of the four songs from the Abba-esque EP (excluding "S.O.S.") made the cut, but there is only one song apiece from I Say I Say I Say ("Always"), the eponymous 1995 album ("Stay With Me"), Cowboy ("In My Arms"), Loveboat ("Freedom") and this year's covers disc Other People's Songs ("Solsbury Hill"). Does that mean the majority of the "very best" of Erasure's work was created in the years before 1991? However, it was fun to hear this brief musical history of Erasure in one sitting.

As for the limited edition Erasuremegamix bonus disc, "remixed and reconstructed by Mark Towns", I was a bit let down by the low energy. Perhaps the real bonus would have been in a second disc of different tracks.

Should we be reading something significant into the fact that both The Chemical Brothers and Underworld, have released double disc compilations covering a ten year time period (from the early 1990s until the early 2000s)? Or is it just a coincidence?

Picking up a few years after Underworld's 1988 domestic debut, on which the focus was far less on the electronic aspect, 1992-2002 (JBO/V2) celebrates the arrival of Darren Emerson and the band's technological transformation into one of the most important and influential units in the genre. With most songs clocking in at an average of ten minutes, Underworld's genius is in the way that they never let a song, even at these lengths, get boring. How can you not admire the "Tubular Bells" echoes in "Dirty"? You can't ignore the delirious eroticism of "MMM Skyscraper I Love You," the sharp jolt of "Spikee," or the layer of underground dust covering "Dirty Epic." By the time you get to disc two, which contains some of Underworld's best known songs, including the magnificent "Born Slippy Nuxx," "Push Upstairs," "Moaner," "Shudder/King Of Snakes," and "Two Months Off," it's hard to imagine electronic music, or another kind for that matter, without them.


This article shared 2408 times since Wed Dec 10, 2003
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