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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Soul Mining

The The

1983

Buy At Rough Trade
Soul Mining
Album Summary

Soul Mining is the debut album by British post-punk/synth-pop band the The (the 1981 album Burning Blue Soul was originally released by the band's frontman Matt Johnson as a solo album, but later reissues credited it to the The). After a bidding war between major record labels which resulted in the group signing with CBS Records, Johnson began recording the album in New York City, but the initial recording sessions were aborted after the album's first two singles and Johnson returned to London where he wrote and recorded the rest of the record. Musically, Soul Mining is a post-punk and synth-pop album with influences of the early 1980s New York club scene, while Johnson's lyrics focus on relationship insecurities and social alienation, with imagery derived from dreams. Soul Mining was released in the United Kingdom on 21 October 1983 on Some Bizzare Records/Epic Records and included versions of the singles "Uncertain Smile", "Perfect", and "This Is the Day". Although the album received positive reviews, its initial sales were modest, reaching number 27 in the UK and charting in a number of other countries, but in 2019 the album was certified gold in the UK. Soul Mining was reissued in June 2014 as a two-disc 30th anniversary deluxe version on vinyl, attracting retrospective reviews which universally praised the record, with critics describing it as both Johnson's best work and one of the best albums of the 1980s.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.17

Votes

11873

Genres

  • New Wave
  • Post Punk

Reviews

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Sat Feb 06 2021
5

Shades of poppy, industrial, and folksy. The piano solo in Uncertain Smile one amazing moment in an album fill of them. This Aussie gives Soul Mining five shit hot burgers from Hungry Jack's out of five

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Thu Jan 21 2021
5

I've always liked The The, but only knew "This is the Day". This album did not disappoint, there's a lot of gems here, and some jammy drawn out songs, which I always enjoy!

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Thu Feb 04 2021
5

Highlights - This Is The Day, Uncertain Smile. This album is magical from start to finish, though the opening track (I've been Waitin' for Tomorrow) is a bit tough to get through...it's long and meandering, almost pointless as verses stretch a little to far...and that's the whole point...It's the price of admission to a goofy, introspective trip that is sure to delight.

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Fri Jul 23 2021
5

Boy, the chorus for "This is the Day" sure hits different when it's not being taken out of context to sell you a car or whatever the commercial I recognize it from was shilling. Tears for Fears already made me a sucker for downer lyrics over upbeat music, and this miserable motherfucker is just full of energy. Perfectly paced, too; day lyrically turns to night to mark the end of the first side and continues in the following song, priming you for the title track's sparse, lethargic sound. I liked the album enough to opt into the bonus track included on the CD version (tacked on unbeknownst to frontman Matt Johnson), which turned out to be a mistake, as one more introspective song is the exact amount needed to go from "cohesive album about isolation and stagnation" to "get over yourself." Frontman Matt Johnson insisted on its removal in future releases. Good call. Key Tracks: I've Been Waitin' for Tomorrow (All of My Life), Soul Mining, Giant

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Fri Apr 29 2022
5

I could say I've been waiting for this album all of my life, but that would be lying. But only because I've had it for so long! (What a song, though!) I love The The: for the lyrics that seem to have been written by me (the version of me that can write) and about me, as well as for the creative music (those solos in Uncertain Smile or Giant). Most of all, it's probably the insight gained from someone (Matt Johnson) whose view of the world seems so similar to mine. It's hard for me to convey, but it really does feel like songs written about my most intimate thoughts and experiences. You could argue I grew up with this album. I'd argue it's a hell of an album to grow up with.

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Fri May 20 2022
5

I was blown away by this record when I first heard it in college radio days in the mid-to-late ‘80s and I’m even more impressed at how well it’s stood up. Soul Mining avoids all the excess and cliche of the era. It’s dramatic and cinematic; new wave-y, but not self-consciously so; it’s politically committed and serious-minded, but not humorless; it’s emotionally rich and balanced and musically intriguing. “This Is the Day” is a first-rate pop song and “Uncertain Smile” a higher-order musical event, truly one for the ages with an all-time great piano solo (I ran right for the extended 9+ minute mix after hearing it here for the first time in ages). “The Twilight Hour” and “Giant” are also hugely engaging and very impressive tracks (but generally, little-known). So good, with bonus points for reconnecting me to my youth.

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Tue Mar 16 2021
5

This is fantastic. How have I never heard this before? Incredible synth pop/new wave throughout.

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Fri May 14 2021
5

A classic, sounds better with time

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Sun May 08 2022
5

Now THIS is some delicious 80's cheese. Fun, boppin, synthy, even atmospheric at times. Just jammed with jams.

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Tue May 10 2022
5

Fucking brilliant! The The are criminally underrated and unknown, but they deserve so much more recognition for their powerful, innovative, unique music. This album in particular is a true standout gem of the 80's. It is daring and experimental but also pop as hell somehow. This Is The Day is a heartbreakingly beautiful song; the sentiments expressed in it are both sadly nostalgic and willfully optimistic at the same time. It speaks directly to my soul and calls up an exquisite ache that I'm addicted to. I adore that rich contrast in tone and meaning all of these songs seem to have. This album is endlessly listenable, I get something new from it every time I put it on. It challenges the listener, but it also excites and inspires too. It's just so fucking good, I love it!

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Thu Dec 17 2020
4

Man, this is some seriously angsty shit. I hope this guy finds what he's looking for. In the meantime, I'm going to recommend that he stay away from drugs. Best track: Uncertain Smile

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Thu Jul 01 2021
4

This is the kind of album absolutely surprising! I don't know the band, I never listened to anything from them, The name was strange, the first song is catchy but not so special, but when the album ends it looks like something different happened. What I listened here? A simple post-punk album? Why this band is so underground? More people should listen to it. Well, for me it's something that I'll sure listen to again in the future and hope that more people know it

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Mon Dec 13 2021
1

Grooves as flat, hooks as ignorable, instrumentals as uninspiring, and weirdo vocals as amateurish as the last one. Only thing that's changed is I'm getting the sense he's a bit of a curmudgeon, which makes me even less favourable.

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Sat Feb 06 2021
5

I really love this record, and every song brings something unique and amazing. The first two songs are an absolute banger back2back. A true gem that I'd never have listened to otherwise.

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Wed Jun 22 2022
5

Stronger than the followup musically, though I prefer that record's lyrical themes. Those on display here aren't camp, though I'm tempted to use that word; There's a definite theater taste, coming I assume out of the New York influence. The instrumentation is all over the place: Violin, even electric, gets its obligatory shoutout and the record comes together as it arises and fades back into fuzz muck.

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Mon Mar 14 2022
4

"I'm just a symptom of the moral decay that's gnawing at the heart of the country." It absolutely should not be a catchy line to sing along with... but it is. It forms the heart of "The Sinking Feeling", a typically nihilistic song by Matt Johnson. The The's debut album scorches through its runtime with a mixture of bitter irony and honest despair. While lyrically dark and dense, the music is upbeat, catchy and even euphoric. "This Is The Day" is a world-class song: it's a work of soaring cynicism that wields a bright and cheerful accordion hook like a plastic umbrella in a cocktail of bourbon and broken glass. Elsewhere, "Waiting for Tomorrow (All of My Life)" summarises the mid 20's angst at the heart of the record's philosophy, with a glorious bassline to boot. "Uncertain Smile" treated the world to a virtuosic three minute Jools Holland piano solo, while everyone was still lucky enough not to know what a Hootenanny was. While "Soul Mining" and "The Twilight Hour" bring the pace down slightly too far into maudlin navel-gazing, "Giant" more than makes up for it. Nine and a half minutes with just four chords and limited words, but its a masterclass in pacing. Its lengthy outro presents a repeeated "yeah yeah yeah" chant and an elephantine wall of percussion, which lead the way in a reprisal of each layer of sound. It's "Hey Jude" for the twisted post-punk generation... and its wonderful.

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Mon Mar 18 2024
3

more new wave. you know how it is

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Fri Mar 22 2024
3

Better than I expected, but not as good as your reviews make it out to be.

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Mon Mar 25 2024
3

So many familiar but unknown tracks. OK, so uncertain smile is legit a great track. Giant is overindulgently long. 9+ minutes of a 41 minute album, it should be better to justify ¼ of the running time - but it is repetitive to the point of distraction and genuinely serves as a demerit to the album.

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Tue Mar 26 2024
3

One of the most mixed bags we’ve seen. Some very high highs. But those highs are mere seconds long, an instrumentation choice, or a quick melody. But the total package is a bit too variable.

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Fri Mar 29 2024
3

It sort of reminds me of a less dark early Depeche Mode. On the whole, not a bad album.

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Fri Mar 29 2024
3

If I hadn’t been told, I would think this was David Bowie. I would love to hear these songs covered by modern bands because i just can’t get over the 80s synth sound.

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Wed Apr 17 2024
3

Hmm that was interesting. I liked the more discordant songs. Heard of these guys but never heard them before. Not engaging enough to fully win me over but it was pleasing enough. 3 stars

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Sun Apr 14 2024
2

I’ve always wondered what The The sounded like since I saw a cassette on someone’s shelf at a Halloween Party my sister took me to when I was a kid. It’s fine. Kinda quirky new wave. I don’t quite see what’s so special about it that nearly every review is 5 stars though. I give it a high 2.

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Wed Feb 07 2024
5

Wavy casiotone structure with some misantropic-defeatist lyrics but with shoulder shrugging coolness and the silver lining of a very supposedly traditionalist song developement that goes wildly jazzy here and there. Beautiful ! 4.6

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Thu Feb 15 2024
5

A superb album. Butt-shufflin' synth pop gold.

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Sun Feb 18 2024
5

One of those 5s that creeps up on you, slowly impressing its brilliance on your ears. Weird and wonderful.

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Fri Feb 23 2024
5

Only now - 38 years after I bought the somewhat disappointing Infected album - do I realise that I bought the wrong The The album.

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Mon Mar 11 2024
5

I totally forgot about TheThe the past years. now I have to listen to the other albums as well. Brings back the past.

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Fri Apr 05 2024
5

Uau. Uau. Uau. É um daqueles álbuns que me fazem grato de participar do projeto. Maravilhoso. Cada início de música é de prender a atenção e excitante. A voz e interpretação dele são ótimas. Os instrumentos, as melodias - UAU. 99/100

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Sun Jan 28 2024
4

# Playlist track - This is the day # Notes - When I loaded the album, I saw that "Uncertain Smile" had been liked by me on Spotify, despite having no recollection of it at all. According to last.fm, I heard it 5 times in 2019-2020. Cool. - Good for me. It's a great song. - Cool album! Definitely coming back to it in the future. -

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Tue Feb 20 2024
4

There seemed to be an era around 2006 when every new band seemed to start with “The”. I had the idea that it would be good to name a band The The. Then one of my friends told me that band already existed and I felt like a silly billy. Never actually listened to them though. Songs I already knew: none Favourites: This Is The Day, Soul Mining For some reason, I had it in my head that The The were are very proggy band, but it seems that they were a fairly straight up pop band with a bit of rockiness thrown in. I really enjoyed the use of synths in this, and the vocals were pleasant throughout. I wouldn’t say this album was amazing, but it was definitely an enjoyable listen.

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Wed Feb 21 2024
4

This feels like an album that’ll really grow on me but still liked it a decent bit the first time around. Rating: 4.2

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Fri Feb 23 2024
4

4/5. Oh my gosh, post punk that doesn't suck! Love the chaotic instrumentation and the chill, lax vocals. The piano solos is not something I was expecting in my punk but it super works. Xylophone behind a disco beat, with aggressive vocals. Truly a masterpiece. Only one or two misses, everything else awesome.

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Fri Mar 01 2024
4

Brings me back to college - such the "college rock" sound of the late 1980s...

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Sun Mar 03 2024
4

this is awesome sauce enjoyed it alot more than expected

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Mon Mar 04 2024
4

Nice. New wave with an international sound

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Sun Mar 10 2024
4

I've casually listened a few times. Seems slightly above average.

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Mon Mar 11 2024
4

Interesting synth! There's a lot of uninteresting synth on this list, so this was a welcome treat.

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Sun Mar 17 2024
4

This was a good album that I’d never heard before. 3.75/5.

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Wed Apr 10 2024
4

Run David Bowie, Lou Reed and Tom Waits through a blender and give it some pop. A little bit too much angst, but good all the same.

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Fri Apr 12 2024
4

Oooo I remember this one too. I bought it on cassette and played it in my first car and played it to death until the head gasket blew. Real 80s feel to it still. So long ago now.

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Fri Apr 12 2024
4

Oh man I had This is the Day on one of my favorite mix tapes in college! Loved hearing the whole album.

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Sun Apr 21 2024
4

THE THE MENTIONED ‼️‼️‼️‼️‼️‼️

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Thu Apr 25 2024
4

Our second album from this group it seems, and while I don't remember much about the previous, this one seems better, right? More funky, electronic, new-wave type sounds than the previous is what I got, and quite a few on here that I'll be keeping. For an album with not that many tracks, that's a great sign. Favorite tracks: I've Been Waitin' for Tomorrow, This is the Day, The Twilight Hour, Giant. Album art: Very, very cool. Bold art style, bold image. Had no idea what to expect based on the visual, but I'm not mad. Surely, this is their best album cover, right? 4/5

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Thu May 02 2024
4

Det här var en riktigt kul överraskning! Lite svag första låt men därefter bra rakt igenom. Älskar pianosolot i Uncetain smile (bästa låten).

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Thu May 02 2024
4

Kul! Första låten var inte så bra och jag tänkte, "here we go again". Men alla andra låtar efter var väldigt sköna. Kom ut på andra sidan med en mycket positiv känsla. Inte omöjligt att man lyssnar igen!

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Thu May 02 2024
4

Det börjar riktigt bra. Vem gillar inte en cool nedräkning? Gillar Johnsons röst. Det är bra låtar på hela skivan.

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Sat Mar 27 2021
3

Although The The's first album barely hinted at the experimentalism of later records like Infected and Mind Bomb, Matt Johnson crafted a pleasant set of dance-pop on the group's Soul Mining debut.

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Wed Jan 24 2024
3

This is the day…that I admit to owning this on cassette. While the music itself is pretty light, when coupled with more literary heavy themed lyrics it makes for a more interesting tension-driven sound IMO. I place this more in the category alongside bands like Soft Cell (“Tainted Love”) or even early Love and Rockets or New Order. And I’m sure I broke curfew at underground dance clubs with this playing in the background. The variety of instruments featured (especially the accordion on “This is the Day”, and the piano on “Uncertain Smile”) indicates an even wider variety of influences, and yet the album doesn’t stray and remains in tact. Sm(art) synth pop that is essentially a debut solo album. Great band name too.

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Fri Jan 26 2024
3

Only heard of them because of the name and it was very much okay

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Thu Feb 01 2024
3

Heard of this band back in the day from that guy who knew and loved all the obscure music (everybody had one.) I never listened because 90 % of what he reccomended was absolute shit. Sorry, Todd. This was worth the listen.

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Fri Feb 02 2024
3

Never heard the album before. Fitting for the time with a bit of darkness. Not bad.

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Mon Feb 05 2024
3

Listened to this for the first time a couple of years ago, I recall enjoying it then, but later forgot about it. Re-listening now, I enjoyed it again, and no doubt will forget about it later again!

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Mon Feb 05 2024
3

Yeah enjoyed intersting songs and lyrics

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Mon Feb 05 2024
3

Not listened to this before. It was ok but nothing special

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Thu Feb 15 2024
3

Though i am a fan of most Cure music, I can't get into music that devolves into operatic horror rock. Still, there are a couple tracks on this I really enjoy because they are not so dramatically over the top.

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Sun Feb 25 2024
3

I can say I liked this one. Interesting instrumentation throughout. Vocals were just fine. Favorite songs were This Is The Day, Uncertain Smile, and Giant.

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Wed Feb 28 2024
3

I liked the first album on the list better, but still very good

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Wed Feb 28 2024
3

This was really interesting... not my favorite of all time, but some cool stuff on this record.

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Wed Feb 28 2024
3

The synth pop albums I’ve been dealt this far have been, in my opinion, largely duds. So I really wasn’t looking forward to more of the whiny British Brit-pop voice and meandering songs. This was not that and was I pleasantly surprised. It’s snappy, it’s fun, and it’s energetic. The singer’s voice is so smooth and easy to listen to. 3.5 stars (rounding down to 3 because I didn’t like it THAT much). Standout tracks: I’ve Been Waitin’ for Tomorrow (All of My Life), This is the Day, Uncertain Smile

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Thu Feb 29 2024
3

Jeg har hørt albummet Dusk virkelig mange gange, men nok altid været nervøs ved at prøve andre albums fra The The, men det her var fint nok. Høre den liiiige igen. 😁

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Sun Mar 10 2024
3

I will always love “This Is The Day.” The rest of the album has never really spoken to me as much. Long and fairly repetitive songs just aren’t my thing. I understand this was pretty early in things moving toward synth music in the 80s, so in some ways it was setting the tone but it just sounds so dated now. Electronic drum sounds just suck 99% of the time.

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Fri Mar 22 2024
3

Feels quite original, pretty nice

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Thu Mar 28 2024
3

David Bowie esq, enjoyed the easy listen.

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Fri Mar 29 2024
3

Strange band name. Eccentric lyrics. 80s. Groovy.

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Sun Apr 14 2024
3

This album has quite the range. Started off bouncy and fun, and then got more introspective and instrumental. Interesting! Definitely started off stronger than it ended for my specific tastes.

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Fri Apr 19 2024
3

This was fine, but largely forgettable. Was ok as background music.

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Mon Apr 22 2024
3

A good album, I liked Giants the most.

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Thu Apr 25 2024
3

Like Pet Shop Boys but experimental, kinda cool! 6/10

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Sun Apr 28 2024
3

Têm uma construção sonora diferente para algumas músicas: sonoridades dissonantes. Mas no geral, não curti muito.

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Mon Apr 29 2024
3

It's OK - nothing really reminded me of the intensity of Infected, which seared into my brain as a teenager, and still moves me. Standard 80's agit-groove fare

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Wed May 01 2024
3

Pretty good listen, feels a bit dated but every song serves a purpose, the more theatrical elements did annoy me a little bit however. 3.5

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Wed May 01 2024
3

Impressively benign. Nothing really stood out as either particularly bad or great. The sounds were bright and airy, which, when looking for a whimsical mood that isn't obnoxious, this would be an excellent album.

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Thu May 02 2024
3

Strong start - very fun and immediately wanted to start dancing on the bus. One thing I find with most new wave or experimental music, and this album was no exception, is that it sometimes the songs become too repetitive and it gets annoying. Overall, I liked it but I didn't love it

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Wed Jan 24 2024
2

I suspect I enjoyed this album more than most others in our group. That said, at the end of the day I view this as an average album at best. I like some synth pop, but this didn’t grab me and I don’t see myself picking it up again. 2.25/5

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Mon Feb 05 2024
2

Disappointing, I listened to this a lot as a teenager but apart from 'This is the Day' I can't really see why now.

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