THE VERY BEST OF
COMPILATION ALBUM MERCURY RELEASE:
MAY 2, 2002 REVIEW: JUNE 24, 2002
and I mean everyone, knows "Tainted Love". A mainstream listening
friend of mine commented on this particular track as it was played on
one of the commercial radio stations in his car. He wondered whatever
happened to all the one-hit-wonders of the eighties and asked me if Soft
Cell ever released anything else. As I overpowered my instinct to punch
him in the face, I came to realise that he was actually right. To a certain
extent. "Tainted Love" was the only track of theirs to really
break into the mainstream charts all over the world. A number of other
singles were successful on their native soil, but not so much elsewhere.
For me however, Soft Cell was always a favourite band on the one hand,
and a terrible one on the other. I absolutely loved the twisted, sleazy
sex coloured dance number "Sex Dwarf" as well as the more straight
forward synthpop sounding "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye", while the
tracks where Almond's unhealthy enthusiasm for blues and jazz became dominant
did nothing for me. Still, this wide spectrum of sources and influences
were what made an original band out of Soft Cell. Bouncing bass lines
and analogue synth drums paired with horn sections and a wailing Marc
Almond singing about his one-night-stands.
"The Very Best of" samples all of my favourites together with
a few, in my humble opinion, moderately interesting pieces. The two brand
new tracks, "Somebody, Somewhere, Sometime" and "Divided
Soul", clearly show the two sides of Soft Cell. The first is an electronic,
uptempo pop song in true Soft Cell style, though slightly modernised soundwise.
"Divided Soul" is more blues coloured, but luckily lacks the
annoyingly exaggerated vocals Marc Almond sometimes feels the need to
use. Overall, both of the new tracks vouch for an interesting continuation
of the Soft Cell saga. The new album is due out in September of this year.
In the meantime, this compilation cures all abstinence symptoms.
Two superb remixes, of "Tainted Love" and "Say Hello, Wave
Goodbye" end a highly motivated release of music made by two opposites.
The shy studio rat Dave Ball and the extravagant Marc Almond. May their
intelligent music live on forever.