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

Real Life

Magazine

1978

Wikipedia

Real Life

Rating

3.02

Votes

3257

Reviews

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5

Late 70s UK punk for me is The Clash, The Damned, Wire, and Magazine. This record fucks.

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5

Feels like Halloween, very creative melodically and conceptually. Fav songs “great beautician in the sky”, “motorcade”, and “shot by both sides”

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2

“Real Life” by Magazine (1978) Lyrics are good—frequently demonstrating artful juxtaposition of unexpected pairs of images. On “My Tulpa”, the line “My skin wants to crawl back to Ma” nicely demonstrates this. This feature forces the reader to read slowly, or the listener to listen more than once. But alas, the feature is almost undone by the musical compositions, which can obscure the words, or occasionally drive past them at breakneck speed. Magazine works hard to overcome this potential weakness through slow or half tempos, good mixing, and the almost comically exaggerated diction, all with partial success. So a serious appreciation of this album takes a lot of work. But it’s not quite worth it, especially since time and distance (UK of 43 years ago) make many of the idioms and references incomprehensible. The musical settings seem quaint today, utilizing then-innovative progressions and effects that are now dated, forcing us to adopt the same kind of ears we must use to appreciate, say, harpsichord renditions of compositions we’ve heard on piano. In term of performance, intentionally shabby vocals and ballpark tunings of guitar and bass require some getting used to. Guitarist John McGeoch should put down the saxophone. I’m not sure why at the outset I wanted to find this album ‘good’, but only ended up with a rating of ‘fair’. 2/5

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5

Now here's a fucking album. So ahead of its time.

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5

Really enjoyed this

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5

There's a reason that I usually give albums more than one listen, and Real Life is a great example. I found the first listen irritating and boring, but the second listen has made me love this record. The instrumentation is wonderful on almost all of the tracks, and it sets quite the tone for post-punk. I especially love the Bowie-like vocals on track 5. I can see myself coming back to this album just as much as I come back to Unknown Pleasures. Highlights: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, and 9 (not including 2007 release with bonus tracks).

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5

😎

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5

Gonna have to listen to this one again and again. Had heard the single, but now I want to own the whole album

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5

cool

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5

like XTC

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4

7.5/10 F.t.: shot by both sides

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4

Weird, post-punk, art rock, almost new wave record. Pretty heavy use of synth, eccentric vocals. This might take another listen. Supposedly super groundbreaking, and it’s pretty cool and out there, but it’s not grabbing me on listen #1. Some Bowie influence here and there. Very vibrant and frenetic

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4

pretty good

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4

its good but why

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4

Showing that you can know more than 3 chords and still do punk music. Hard to believe that the post-punk movement started just a year or two after punk broke out.

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4

I will listen to this again. Except that one song. You know which one...

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4

v good punk album

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4

Genressä lukee post-punkia ja sellaiselta tämä kuulostaakin. Lauluääni on kuin suoraan punkista, mutta soitto on moninverroin monimutkaisempaa ja seesteisempää. Levyä kuunnellessa on ristiriitaisia tunteita, onko tämä hyvää vai ei? Ehkä kallistun hyvän puolelle. Ei tässä mitään bangereita ole, mutta mukavaa tunnelmaa.

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4

I like it. It's something different.

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4

I liked it, quite like Lloyd Cole but rockier. Except for the Goldfinger cover. Shudder.

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4

An album that gets more odd and beautiful as it breathes over time. I want to spend more time with it before I have other words, but it rocks and I’m really glad I discovered it.

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4

ahead of its time a lot like the clash

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4

Nice! My kind of Punk Rock! I can see myself listening to this one again.

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4

Really enjoyed this despite not knowing the band at all

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4

-I'm always a fan of rock+synth+other instruments -Great basslines throughout the whole album -"Recoil" is a great jam -"The Great Beautician In The Sky" has a cool circus-motif and a groovin' bassline -Cool like saxophone or something in "My Mind Ain't So open" -Solid album, I'll definitely be listening again

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4

Det här var rätt gött alltså

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4

Great stuff 4 stars

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4

Cool artwork, even cooler arrangements and songwriting. Don't love the vocals though. I feel like this album would reward some repeated listens.

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4

Ooh, proggy! This is not your average post-punk, and that made it a really interesting listen for me. Also, was pleasantly surprised to find the source of "The Light Pours Out of Me", which I was familiar with from Ministry's cover... Fave track - love the rising hysteria of "Shot By Both Sides"!

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4

This is great - weird and catchy, inventive and substantial without being self important.

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4

Really good post-punk. Artsy Buzzcocks. 8/10 1. Motorcade 2. Shot by Both Sides 3. Parade

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4

I really liked this one. I think every song took me on a little bit of a journey, which I appreciated. Didn't hurt that the musical style / vocals / lyrics are something I'd typically enjoy.

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4

Post-Punk

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4

Hot Damn. I never heard this group before. I thought Television was the preeminent Post-Punk band, I'll need to check out more from them. 4.5/5

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4

A dramatic post-punk album that is especially unique and adventurous. The sound if deeply layered and the dynamism apparent from the opening track. The keyboard play alternates between fickle and volatile, never upstaging the central part of the albums sound: the singer. The lyrics are elaborate and the vocals are only enhanced by the band. This album has sound I would assume many haven't heard before and the interplay and energy presented is a thing to experience. Favorite tracks: Definitive Gaze, Shot by Both Sides, Motorcade, The Great Beautician in the Sky, The Light Pours Out of Me

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4

Loved this - amazed I'd never heard of it before.

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4

Fun alt "mod" rock album. Not the most gripping stuff ever, but at least enjoyable all the way through

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4

Way better sound than some of the other recent recs...love this type of punk sound as a switch-up to what I'm used to

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4

This is weird and fun. And what a change from the Buzzcocks for the singer (read that on Wikipedia). Definitely coming back for another listen. Lots of noise. Lots of pop melodies. But all backed with what feel like live takes in the studio (less synthetic than other similar bands from the same era). I'd put this up there with anything the Talking Heads did, and I don't say that lightly. What's not to love? Four stars because 3.5 isn't possible.

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4

A competent post-punk addition by Magazine, that incorporates catchy hooks and modest production. For a 1978 record, the arrangements can be considered quite influential for punk bands today but not quite musically moving depth-wise. Hasty and nimble bars make for a thrilling record overall.

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4

I really enjoyed this

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4

Great album, and a landmark of the post-punk genre.

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4

I know Magazine from a few albums that I have from my 80s listening. Resl Life was not one that I owned, however I am familiar with a few if the songs from the live album; Play, which got a lot of....play back when in the day. Anyway the album is very good, better than both studio albums that I already have in my collection; Magic, Murder and the Weather and The Correct Use of Soap. Best songs Definitive Gaze, Shot by Both Sides, Motorcade, and The Light Pours Out of Me. 4 🌟

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4

Right up my alley. I feel like I probably should have heard "Shot By Both Sides" before, but I don't recognize it.

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4

Never heard of these guys but really enjoyed this album.

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4

More post-punk that I like. A bit uneven, some real misses. Favorites were Burst and Motorcade

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4

Starts off real strong. Starts to lose me toward the end but maybe i'll come to love that in time.

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4

Umslagið er ljótt. Söngurinn er talandi og óeftirminnilegur. En tónlistin sjálf er fjölbreytt, flott og skemmtileg. Á mörkum þrists og fjarska. Gæti hlustað aftur.

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4

Back when I lived in Ottawa, b4 I became a DJ I would tape late night CKCU FM and be thrilled when I got gems from the likes of Magazine, Teardrop Explodes or The Fall. If someone asked what I thought of those bands, I'd give them a thumbs up, based on the 2 songs I knew. On this LP, the more punk-oriented singles are respectable (and sound a bit like the Buzzcocks) and I love Howard Devoto's delivery. As the album plays on it gets more interesting and the music becomes more timeless, with songs like Motorcade/Parade and The Light Pours Out of Me.

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4

The keyboards on Definitive Gaze remind me of Tony Banks playing around that time. This band plays well together

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4

Mélodicamente pasable. Con reminiscencias de los 80 con algo más de guitarreo. No los conocía y me han gustado.

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4

This was fine, nothing hooked me but it was listenable

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3

the Wikipedia link is not correct, it brings you to The Real Life by Bread of Stone

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3

It was fine, nothing stuck out to me.

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3

1978. Key Songs: Definitive Gaze, Shot By Both Sides

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3

Wonderful mix of genres, especially those important to British post-punk as I understand it. Leans to the new-wave side as opposed to the skronky, but contains plenty of sax. The arcs of individual songs and the entire album are both satisfying, and there's a lot of interesting composition.

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3

Enjoyed this album, but I couldn't listen to it all day, that would be to much

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3

good punk rock album. would listen again.

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3

Very nice!

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3

Weird album but I kind of dig it

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3

Uusi tuttavuus itselleni. Bändin soittajat ovat varsin tunnettuja nimiä ainakin uransa myöhemmiltä vaiheilta, joten odotukset oli korkeat. Vähän liian kikkailua tämä kuitenkin on omaan makuuni, vaikka äänimaailma sinänsä on ihan potentiaalinen. Laulajan ääni ärsyttää hieman liikaa. Positiivisena biisinä mieleen jäi erityisesti Shot by Both Sides. Tällaista rempseätä rokkia olisi kuunnellut mielellään enemmänkin.

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3

Didn't like

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3

I can tell it was a pioneer in the post punk world.

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3

Never heard of this group. This was pretty cool, a good handful of tracks that I enjoyed, but a lot of the rest of it became background noise. Still, great guitar work and good melodies. Seems like the groundwork for a lot of rock that came after it. Favorite tracks: Definitive Gaze, My Tulpa, Motorcade Album art: Looks like a Scary Stories picture with a bit more color. I like it. 3.5/5

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3

Not bad

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3

Explodes on "Motorcade". 5/10

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3

A punk rock with little psychedelic touch, good but did not stand out for me

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3

"You always collect your fists When my shadow falls upon your hands You're just giving body heat away But they say you're a nice enough young man" (My Tylpa) ""Why are you so edgy, kid?" Asks the man with the voice" (Shot by both sides) "Sometimes I forget that we're supposed to be in love Sometimes I forget my position" (Parade) Me gustan bastante las letras de este disco, pero se me hace un poco cuesta arriba la música. Too much progresivos para mí.

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3

First and last couple of tracks were a bit meh but middle section was bangers!

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3

Was alright, only a couple of tracks stuck with me

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3

Sonido pptente, no está mal

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3

I already have this, but it clearly didn't make a memorable impression on me... It's pretty good though. Post-punk of the kind of slow-burning new-wavey variety. There's strong elements of "punk proper" still here, but also traces of what would become gothic rock, and some vocals & lyrics that foreshadow industrial/neofolk. It's never going to be in my top 10 post-punk records, but still glad I re-listened to it. 3.5

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3

This was a first time listen to a band I do not know. There were some elements that reminded me of other stuff I've listened to, but I can't quite pin down what it is. Another album where I don't have enough context to know why it's on this list. On fist listen, the music was fine (3 stars).

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3

Pretty good, some of them were a little funny to hear. Overall 3/5

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3

A little odd but I liked it. Rock and roll but kind of halloweeny

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3

Alright album. Probably wouldn’t listen again

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3

Pretty good. Reminded me of bands like the Sex Pistols and Ramones.

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3

Kind of sounds like a punk version of Bowie. Not bad.

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3

Didn't love every song, but it was a good energy boost

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3

Liked the intro to the album most. Didn't love the singer's performance / lyrics. Decent album. The review of the album hurt my impression of the music interestingly. The writer touted it as a near-genius level album and I just cannot give it the same credit. It's alright.

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3

This was good. I had never heard of this band before. I've heard a lot of bands referred to as "post-punk" and I've never been sure what that means, but this comes closest to making sense as being that genre. It has some remnants of punk but a lot more going on. 3.5 stars.

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3

I really wanted to love it after reading some of the reviews; but I didn't. It just didn't take. 2.6

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3

Rating: 6/10 Best songs: My tulpa, Parade

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3

Pretty groovy. His vocals remind me of Of Montreal. I think I could bob to this again.

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3

British rock punk hear influences of bowie and beatles

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3

I’m not the biggest fan of punk. This was not my favorite album, but it was listenable.

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3

Okay jeg er bare ikke vild med punk-rock. Stemmen er irriterende og mixet lyder underligt. Jeg kan godt høre de gode rytmer og melodier men er ikke vild med hele albummet som sådan.

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3

I love the punch of this album but it tails off around Motorcade

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3

Bit of Bowie, Joy Division, and Television influences coming through here. Just ok.

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3

As far as art rock goes: enjoyed more than Roxy Music, not as much as Sparks.

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3

Interesting post punk album. P-good at first listen but no song really stood out. Perhaps could use a second listen, but didn’t have time today. 3

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3

No stand-outs

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3

The best of this album IMO: - Parade This album did nothing for me except for Parade, which sounds quite different from the rest of the album. 2.7/5

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3

better than the virgin suicides for sure

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3

Buzzcocks without the teeth. Best track: Shot by Both Sides

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3

I had never heard of this band before this. Definitely a classic post-punk sound.

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3

On closer inspection, they were one of the bands that ushered in the post-punk era. It has punk, new wave and rock elements, it's mediocre. (5/10) FT: Shot by Both Sides, The Light Pours out of Me

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3

I enjoyed it alright at the time, but not enough to actually go back to it. Good punk for sure, though.

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3

Enjoyed

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3

The album is alright. Interesting cover of Goldfinger.

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3

Unusual in it'd time and space

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3

This was ok, some good some I sorted of forgot I was listening to anything as I’d lost interest in. Not a classic for me

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3

Pretty fun. Not sure if I'll listen again.

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3

Perfectly average. Nothing special, nothing bad just pure middle of the road music.

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3

Shot By Both Sides plus some fairly generic songs.

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3

I suspect Magazine are another one of those bands where a well-chosen best-of is all you really need as such, but still interesting to hear them at proper album-length.

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3

Interesting stuff

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3

Back in the day, local Toronto radio station had the Punk band the Buzzcocks on heavy rotation. But punk fizzled pretty quickly and it was time for something new so bandleader Howard Devoto left and formed the Post-Punk band, Magazine. This album bridges the gap between punk and new-wave nicely with a liberal dose of synths, keyboards, and guys who could actually play their instruments. Since this was their debut their sound wasn't fully fleshed out yet but they still had some good ideas, IMO The Light Pours out of me is the strongest song on the album and should have been released as the single. The rest of the album is pretty decent, but I'm really looking forward to their latter albums which feature their best music, eg Song from under the floorboards and About the weather.

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3

Was good but lacked a little umph

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3

I was hyped when I saw this come up but I think I like a bit less punk in my post-punk. Still a good listen

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2

Bit dull

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2

Taas kerran ihmeteltävä mitä tekee listalla. Laulaja oli kännissä? Kuuntelin läpi kuitenkin.

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2

Ei jäänyt mieleen...

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2

More like a 2.5. Not my thing but not bad!

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2

Was on the fence initially but really started getting into it at the end

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2

Electro-space? Cool beat and backing instruments, weirdly out of tune vocals Kind of generic rock, not very inspiring

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2

wouldn't chose to listen to again, and has high potential for being skipped if it came on randomly

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2

wasn't a huge fan of this either. Better than the last album, the music itself was alright but could not stand the vocals.

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2

Reminds me of the Ramones. Not really my type of music, but there were a few that I enjoyed. 0RS

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2

Gave it one listen. Didn't stand out much, and didn't sound like 2007. Sounded. More 80s. Kinda cool though.

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2

Enjoyed a few songs, but a few too many strayed into cartoonish vibes that I was not digging.

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2

Punkzera pao com ovo

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2

Was ok - didn’t give it much time tbf

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2

Was a 3 until Goldfinger.

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2

Like it’s musical style but really not my cup of tea.

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2

Post-punk emo that you really have to be in the mood to listen to.

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2

was pretty good, I didn't really like the vocals too much though.

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2

Relatively uninspired brit punk.

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2

Didnt like the vocals, instrumentals were alright

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2

Eh

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2

Interesting mix of pop, punk, electro with some sax and other random stuff thrown in. Some funny rhymes and cool production but that sneering/whiny British accent gets old after a while. The Goldfinger cover at the end was cool.

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2

Thoroughly enjoyed the album, wouldn't listen again tho.

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2

It was unenjoyable, but not unlistenable. The saxophone is a really weird touch to the songs which have a punk feel to them. In my opinion it does not fit. Favorite track: Definitive Gaze

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2

Peaked on first song LOL

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2

I've got to give credit to Howard Devoto for quickly coming to grips with the limitations of punk rock, and also for having the taste to be inspired by the best of glam and art rock, but he and the rest of the group aren't up to the task of infusing art rock with the energy of punk. The songs and the arrangements don't begin to approach the creativity, taste, and subtlety of their inspirational sources. Dave Formula's keyboard textures are horrible more often than not. And vocally, trying to pull off this sort of material invites unflattering comparisons to Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Bryan Ferry--any of these guys had more talent in their pinky on any given day than Devoto would have in his entire body in a lifetime. This kind of thing had already been done a million times better within the previous five years. It takes a special kind of chutzpah to try to pull this off. That said, Real Life isn't putrid, it's just boring and mediocre.

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2

Pretty cool rock record, but not many songs stuck with me.

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2

Another album I haven't heard of and did nothing for me

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2

boring mediocre post-punk

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2

This Brit-punk album had some decent elements of fast paced guitar rhythms and various stylings. It has elements that remind me of Bowie. The lyrics are pretty typical artsy punk. The album is pretty average for what it provides but it’s not too bad yet it doesn’t excel in its genre. 4.5/10

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2

4/10

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2

Not bad. I like the mix of weird psychedelic rock with synthesizers and stuff as long as there are also "real" instruments. I feel like I should rate this higher than I'm going to, but there's just been so much of this genre on the list already.

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2

Well didn't think much of this and found some of it highly irritating. Some were ok.. the beautician one though. God. Get it off

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2

I don't really love or hate Magazine. It's not the worst example of this kind of music which I don't generally get on with. I don't enjoy this style of talk/singing and it kind of makes me feel sad a lot of times. This album did not make me feel sad but it was kind of meh. Not offensive but it doesn't really excite me. I can see why it's on this list as the first ever post-punk band. However, I just found out the main guy who set up the band had left in the eighties so hopefully one of their earlier albums is on the list too otherwise this seems wrong to me. Although I can appreciate what they were doing with this, it's not my bag.

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2

2/5 naaah

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2

Sehr unterhaltsame Bastard Mischung aus Ska-Synth-Pop-Punk. Allein der Einstieg ins ‚Real Life‘ ist das Album schon wert. Quirlig geht’s weiter, die schnodderigen artsy Sounds (Roxy Music) und Energie machen Spaß, bleiben aber in ziemlich ordinären Songwriting beschränkt. 2.4

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2

It's okay. Pretty dull. It's sort of punk with synths. This feels like the band that people who want to appear to be 'too smart' for punk would pretend to like *coughpitchfork*. It's inoffensive but not exciting.

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2

Not bad

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2

Never heard of this before in my life, first one of the whole list. Not bad but not really my thing

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2

It wasn't bad, but it definitely wasn't an album I needed to hear before I die.

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2

Well at least this was a bit different and nice to hear some synths.

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2

I dont like the singer

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2

2.5/5 Not bad but no song really got me. Maybe worth another try.

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2

A psych revival in thrall to the post-punk Wire had pioneered, I can see why this might be seen a important. But I can also say that it isn't. For all the wonky vocals, violent changes of directions, and snooty artiness, the songs are often rudderless, not to mention hookless.

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2

Had a few fun tracks that I bet were pretty influential when this came out.

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1

Wasn’t a fan. Not my style

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1

Didn't finish it.

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1

Ooh man, I hated this.

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1

Mehhhhhh

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1

Not that great rock. Don’t love the vocals.

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1

blä...gillar inte.

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1

Liked Definitive Gaze. Liked the beat on several of the songs, but didn’t seem to hear the lyrics over that beat. By the 4th song I felt like the beat was just a continuance of the ones prior. The album cover resembles Nightmare Before Christmas. The remake of Gold finger was 😣.

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1

I couldn’t tell if it was good or not

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1

I will not be subscribing

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1

I got progressively tired of this album

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1

no.

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1

Assaults the senses like a middle aged vegan named Karen who. Is. In. A. Hurry. And is standing behind you in the 10 items or less line and who has just counted 13 items in your cart. Having been in my second year of college when this album was released, I cannot recall any potential drug or combination thereof which would permit me to enjoy this uneven rhythm enough to listen to it again. Seem to recall it was against Geneva Convention to play this to POWs, but does have potential use as the album to play if you have unwelcome house guests.

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