Category: Catalog Crashing

Little light shining

If Kate Bush started her career in 1999 instead of 1979, I think I know who she may resemble creatively.

Shiina Ringo.

And if studio technology back in 1985 were as advanced as it is today, Hounds of Love could have sounded more like Shooso Strip. (I’m not sure Bush is opulent enough to strive for the level of Karuki Zaamen Kuri no Hana.)

Although the analog synthesizers of the mid-’80s sound quaint today, there’s no denying the dramatic flair of Hounds of Love.

The album is divided into two sections — “The Hounds of Love” and “The Ninth Wave”.

It’s “The Ninth Wave” on which Bush takes off. “Jig of Life” demonstrates her aptitude with Celtic influences, while the male chorus on “Hello Earth” is some of her eeriest writing ever.

“Waking the Witch”, though, is plenty weird enough for the entire album. A painstakingly rendered montage of growling voices, ominous timbres and Bush’s remarkable wail, the song is pure theatrics. And it’s thrilling.

Threaded together by the image of a “little light”, the seven tracks which make “The Ninth Wave” form a loose narrative. It’s the kind of ambition women songwriters rarely attempt today.

Ringo-chan comes close, but even her most lush machinations don’t quite reach Bush’s unself-conscious conceptual scope. When Kate Bush took risks, she really didn’t hold back.

The first half of the album — “The Hounds of Love” — comes across more conventionally. It starts off with Bush’s most successful single in the US, “Running Up That Hill”, which is actually pretty unremarkable compared to the following tracks.

The album’s title track combines tribal rhythms with a string orchestra, while “Cloudbursting” is some of Bush’s best hook-writing. In many ways, it’s a better single than “Running Up That Hill”.

Despite the technical limitations of the time — and man, I wish I could have listened to the 1997 remastered version instead — Hounds of Love feels a lot larger than it sounds.

Bush’s unabashed performance and the attention to detail she lavishes on this music gives it a sense of timelessness. Even after 20 years, Hounds of Love is still a discovery.

Here’s where the story begins

A number of vectors converged to make “Wuthering Heights” the successful song it is.

The music itself is a solid foundation — melodic, dramatic, seemingly simple but ultimately complex. From the odd piano riff in between verses to the chorus that doesn’t quite mark a straight meter, the song is catchy for its quirks.

Then there’s the subject matter — Wuthering Heights, a classic literary novel dramatized in a song every bit as sweeping as the story itself. Cathy’s haunting of Heathcliff encapsulated the central conflict of the story, and the song plumbed the depths of that torment.

Finally, there’s the performance of the song’s creator — Kate Bush. Her pouty voice is at once fragile and overwhelming. “Oh! Let me have it,” Bush wails with an emotional nakedness that’s as frightening as it is alluring.

“Wuthering Heights” demands the attention of everyone who comes in contact with it. Even Antwan “Big Boi” Patton, the member of Outkast not described as flamboyant, cites “Wuthering Heights” as an influence. (So much so, he’s seeking Bush out for a collaboration.)

It’s a song even Bush herself can’t put a chink in its armor, despite her attempt to do so on The Whole Story.

For this inaccurately-named retrospective — Bush would go on to record two more albums before retreating from public life — she re-recorded “Wuthering Heights” to exploit the state of the art in recording technology at the time.

She sounds like she’s singing in a fish bowl.

By then, it had been seven years since “Wuthering Heights” catapulted Bush into stardom in her native England. She was 19 years old when she recorded her debut album, The Kick Inside.

Her updated performance of “Wuthering Heights”, while amping up the bombast, sported a matured voice, able to occupy the nooks and crannies of every sonic surface.

Whether such pigeon-holeing is good or bad, “Wuthering Heights” encapsulates the essence of Kate Bush in the same way her song captured the heart of its namesake novel.

But as the title of the retrospective album indicates, it’s not the whole story.

Instead of following a chronological sequence, The Whole Story jumbles up the different eras of Bush’s work. Her earliest recordings were lush and intimate, strings and piano complimenting a standard rock band.

But as MIDI made studio work more efficient in the ’80s, Bush exploited the technology to transform her music.

It’s tough to resolve the genteel beauty of “The Man with a Child in His Eyes” with the tribal, robotic rhythms of “Sat In Your Lap”. Or that “Cloudbursting” is one of her most orchestral pieces, even though it doesn’t use an orchestra. Or that “Wow” is one of her most etheral songs but keeps the synthesizers at a minimum.

In the framework of The Whole Story, it makes sense. The eclecticism of Bush’s writing threads all the songs together. She may be an incredible melodicist, but try singing along with her, and it becomes apparent how difficult her music can be.

Women singer-songwriters of the past two decades have all been traced back to Kate Bush. From Sinéad O’Connor to Sarah McLachlan, Bush is the litmus strip by which others are compared.

And it’s inaccurate.

Bush infused her music with theatrical imagery. While the songwriters in her wake talked about matters of their hearts, Bush explored her imagination. Who else could sing about a nuclear holocaust as a haunting ballad (“Breathing”)?

It’s that distinctiveness that comes through The Whole Story and makes it a nice entry into Kate Bush’s creative universe.

Walk straight down the middle

This album was my first formal introduction to Kate Bush.

(I had heard “Running Up That Hill a few years before, but at the time, I didn’t know it was a Kate Bush song.)

A magazine I read religiously in 1989 featured Bush on its cover and lavished near-religious devotion to her in the article.

Back then, I was a teenager discovering the wide world of music. Sinéad O’Connor, whom I discovered a year before, was compared to Bush, so I figured I may as well see if the parallels were warranted.

They weren’t.

O’Connor was fierce and honest. Bush, on the other hand, was wispy and fragile. She was feminine, whereas O’Connor’s shaved head and confrontation style was more masculine.

The Sensual World wasn’t a first good impression. In fact, I fell asleep half-way through side one.

Then I discovered the trick to listening to it — start with side two. In CD terms, that meant starting with “Deeper Understanding”, an eeriely prophetic song about finding human intimacy through a computer.

At the time, the Internet was solely the domain of goverment agencies and higher education institutions, so online dating wasn’t even a blip in public consciousness. But Bush’s words ring far truer now than they did in 1989.

“As the people here grow colder/I turn to my computer/And spend my evenings with it like a friend,” she sings.

Later in the song, she describes what would eventually called Internet addiction: “Well I’ve never felt such pleasure/Nothing else seemed to matter/I neglected my bodily needs”.

The second half of The Sensual World featured Trio Bulgarka, an offshoot of the Bulgarian State Radio and Television Women’s Choir which stormed the world with its debut album, Le Mystere de Voix Bulgares. The choir would eventually rename itself after the album.

Trio Bulgarka’s backing vocals, mixed with Bush’s lush electronics and Celtic instrumentation, offered more compelling material than the tepid first half.

“Never Be Mine” weaves Uillean pipes with Bulgarka’s plaintive singing. “Rocket’s Tail” starts off with Bush and the trio unaccompanied for the first half of the song, till the rest of the band crashes in for a rousing conclusion.

And of course, “This Woman’s Work”, one of Bush’s best songs, rounds out the album. (Japanese singer ACO blows Maxwell out of the water with her rendition of this song.)

Rewind to the start of the album, and the title track offers Bush punctuating her take on James Joyce’s Ulysses with an erotic, “Mmmm, yes”. And with a giant stretch of the imagination, “Love and Anger” could be construed as a theme song for any gay person coming out.

“It lay buried deep, it lay deep inside me/It’s so deep I don’t think that I can/Speak about it”. Maybe not that giant a stretch.

Although rich and (as the title indicates) sensual, The Sensual World isn’t Bush’s most compelling work. Aside from “This Woman’s Work”, little on the album matches the intensity of “Wuthering Heights” or the eclectism of “Hounds of Love”.

And it’s an album that demands a lot of patience. But that patience pays off.

Just don’t start your exploration of Bush’s work with The Sensual World.

Covers done right

This is the cover album done right.

And given the number of eyes that roll when artists announce they’re recording cover albums, it’s a rarity.

Bill Frisell, however, has an impressive résumé. He hammered out power chords for John Zorn’s Naked City. Reinterpreted the duet album of Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach. And the likes of Norah Jones rip off his seamless blend of country and jazz.

But Have a Little Faith, Frisell’s cover album from 1993, reaches for a breadth that only begins to demonstrate the guitarist’s catholic influences.

The artists covered on the album is an ambitious lot — Aaron Copland, Charles Ives, Bob Dylan, Madonna. And that’s only the first half.

Have a Little Faith begins with Frisell’s arrangement of Copland’s entire ballet suite, Billy the Kid. It’s an obvious match — Copland brought American influences to European art music tradition in the same way Frisell does with improvisation.

And yet, Frisell manages to get closer to the roots of Copland’s inspiration by his choice of band — Don Byron on clarinet, Guy Klucevsek on accordion, Joey Baron on drums, Kermit Driscoll on bass.

The quintet infuses Billy the Kid with the rustic immediacy Copland attempted to bring to the symphony orchestra.

Frisell, however, does exercise his creative license to alter the source material. During “Gun Battle”, Frisell puts his guitar through the wringer to produce timbres closer to Charles Ives than to Copland.

Speaking of Ives, Frisell includes two excerpts from Three Places in New England. The way Frisell’s band plays it, the piece could have been written in the last 20 years.

On a far lighter note, Frisell does a pretty straight reading of John Phillip Sousa’s “Washington Post March”. It’s a welcome addition to an album with a lot of poignant moments.

Perhaps the most poignant is his 10-minute rendition of Madonna’s “Live to Tell”. Frisell strips away most of the original song’s gloss to concentrate on the melody, but at the point where original stops for a short restatement of the hook, he lets it goes haywire instead.

The song ends with a rock backbeat, only to dissolve at the end. When someone can turn an early Madonna song into a serious performance, it deserves attention.

His interpretation of the classic standard “When I Fall in Love”, immortalized by Nat “King” Cole, turns into a haunting, sparse piece.

Even on his more straightforward performances — Bob Dylan’s “Just a Woman” and John Hiatt’s “Have a Little Faith in Me” — the voice is clearly Frisell’s. These may be other people’s music, but he’s made them his own.

Which is one half of the equation for a great cover. The other is maintaining the spirit of the original.

Frisell may have taken Madonna’s song to places its never gone, but he maintains its sense of regret. He may have reduced Copland’s big score to five instruments, but he preserved the feel of the Wild West.

That Frisell can achieve that balance on material as far ranging as classical and pop music is an amazing feat.

Have a Little Faith proves cover albums can be a means of true creative expression, not indulgence.

Brutal man

Black Box is American Puritanism at work.

Asian advocacy groups denounced John Zorn for putting graphic images on the covers of his Naked City albums. Torture Garden showed a topless Japanese woman brandishing a whip, while Leng Tch’e had a picture of a Chinese execution.

At first, Zorn ignored the protests, but when retailers started refusing to carry his albums, he compromised and wrapped the albums in opaque silver shrinkwrap.

It still wasn’t enough for the advocacy groups.

When Zorn decided to release both albums in the US, he housed them in a black box. Leng Tch’e, the most graphic of the two album covers, was originally released in Japan, where it didn’t stir any reaction.

Black Box is also two sides of the same aesthetic coin for Zorn.

Naked City built its reputation on quick changes, but as the composer wrote more music for the quintet, those changes became gradual, drawn out but just as drastic.

Leng Tch’e is one of the most intense works in the Naked City canon.

Guitarist Bill Frisell and bassist Fred Frith ground the 32-minute piece with long drones, while Joey Baron’s frenetic drumming gives the piece a sense of momentum.

By the time Yamantanka Eye enters with his screaming, 15 minutes had already passed, though it doesn’t feel like it. Zorn himself chimes in with his most abusive saxophone playing at the 21-minute mark, and Leng Tch’e hurtles to a conclusion.

Half an hour is a pretty long time for a band to lose its way on a single piece, but Leng Tch’e develops at a pace that keeps a listener’s attention. Even if the listener isn’t fully engaged with the work, its brutal intensity works subconsciously.

Where Leng Tch’e is a single-track disc, Torture Garden has 42 tracks, most clocking under a minute. Twelve of them appeared on the band’s self-titled, major label debut.

Where Leng Tch’e assaults slowly and ominously, Torture Garden hits with a series of quick jabs. This time, the intensity is shown for what it is — fast, furious, frenetic.

Unless you’ve inured yourself to Naked City’s rapid-fire, live splicing — that is, if you’ve haven’t already played the self-titled album to death — Torture Garden can be sensory overload.

If it weren’t for the sheer physicality of this music — just picture the kind of muscle it takes to drum like Baron on this album — Torture Garden could be considered the band’s most homogenic.

All the tracks are so insistent on pummeling the senses, there’s really no point citing any individual moments. “Gob of Spit”, though, is probably the band’s most humorous track.

And “Speedfreaks” exemplifies one of the best description

of the band — like listening to the radio when someone constantly switches the station.

That doesn’t stop Torture Garden from being an impressive display of showmanship, chemistry and force.

However much the cover art of Torture Garden and Leng Tch’e may make a person squeamish, they’re pretty reflective of the music therein.

The music of Black Box is not pretty. It’s some of the fiercest ever created. Perhaps the finest as well.

No music, no life

This album was the beginning.

In the early ’90s, my perception of the Japanese music scene was limited to anime soundtracks and idol pop. I was a big fan of the Bubblegum Crisis soundtracks, and I loved hearing Western music sung in a different language.

The early ’90s was also when post-punk music crossed over into the mainstream and became alternative rock. Women, in particular, were a driving force in this “new” type of music — Sinéad O’Connor, Throwing Muses, the Breeders, hell even Margo Timmins of Cowboy Junkies were seen as an antidote for, say, Paula Abdul.

Women in Japanese music, on the other hand, were primarily idols.

I got tired of Japanese pop pretty quickly because of its prefabrication — it became hard to tell one voice from another.

I was introduced to Cocco in 1998, on a night shift at the newspaper where I worked. A co-worker was playing the Japan Nite Sound Sampler, and most of the preceding tracks came across as bizarrely cute in a mistranslated sort of way.

And then “Count Down” started up, and the two worlds that divided my musical loyalties eight years earlier had merged.

Here was a singer with a beautiful voice who could have gone the easy route and sang what was given to her. Instead, she wrote her own music, and it raged harder than anything prancing about the Lilith Fair tour at the time.

I missed her performance at SXSW by one day.

But I found a copy of Bougainvillia at an Austin record store and bought it. And for the next two years after that, I couldn’t stop playing it.

American press at the time compared Cocco to Fiona Apple and (not as a compliment) Tori Amos. Cocco’s own fragile live persona puts her closer to Apple in temperament, but musically, she mopped the floor with both of them.

The production work of Tailor Tereda and Dr.StrangeLove’s Takamune Negishi showed a heavy influence of grunge, which was reaching its waning days in 1997.

The unison two-guitar attack on “Hashiru Karada” and “Nemuru Mori no Oojisama” made those riffs darker than they already were. The distortion on all the instruments on “Baby Bed” gives the song an ominous feel.

Cocco’s lyric booklet also established the unprecedent move of translating her lyrics into English, revealing a poetic but unsettling mind.

“Count Down”, a song that brings the Nirvana loud-soft aesthetic to an extreme, goes further than Alanis Morrissette’s paen to an ex-boyfriend, “You Oughta Know”.

Morrissette merely asked if the new woman in the man’s life would go down on him in a theater. Cocco threatens to shoot him if he doesn’t return to her.

In “Isho”, a song that serves as a last will and testament, Cocco asks her executor to kill her if she becomes incapacitated.

Not all is doom and gloom on Bougainvillia. “Gajumaru” is a children’s song misplaced among the rest of the album. “Sing a Song ~No Music, No Life~” questions the societal norm of restraint.

Bougainvillia was not a successful album for Cocco. It barely cracked the Top 30 in Japan. Her second single, “Tsuyoku Hakanai Monotachi” (“The Strong and Ephemeral”), would establish her success and demonstrate to Japanese audiences their best singers don’t all need to be idols.

But on Bougainvillia, Cocco already proved she had a strong voice, in both a literal and ideological sense.

Burning down the acid house

Grunge died in 1997. The major labels knew it, and they didn’t see anything on the rock ‘n’ roll horizon to replace it.

About the only thing happening in the so-called “underground” at the time was a bunch of splintered electronic music genres, seemingly homogenous but branded with unique names — techno, ambient, garage, two-step, hardcore, electronica.

Thinking it could use brute force and money power to push this underground music to the mainstream, labels signed up the likes of the Prodigy and the Chemical Brothers, trumpeting them as rock’s next evolutionary step.

Thing is, the kids had already moved onto Spice Girls and Britney Spears. And young rock fans turned to … Creed.

Madonna gave electronica a huge blip when she released Ray of Light in 1998, and U2 had already been hanging out with the likes of Flood since 1993’s Zooropa.

But electronica refused to cross over, and in time, even the club kids that catapulted the genre to its underground hip status had moved back to rock music around the time Jack White became cool.

Duran Duran learned this lesson nine years before everyone else.

The band released Big Thing in 1988, a time when its status as teen idols receded into distant memory. Line-up changes from three years previous made people lose interest in the band, and the optmistically-titled Big Thing set out to prove Duran Duran had the mettle to produce challenging work.

For the most part, the band succeeded.

Inspired by acid house, the songs on Big Thing are dark and ominous. Nick Rhodes employed rougher timbres on his keyboard work, and the drum machines used rhythms far more processed and complex than what incredible ex-drummer Roger Taylor could imagine.

Eschewing the bright energy of the band’s early ’80s hits, Big Thing oftentimes went for introspection. “Land” achieves a bittersweetness “Save a Prayer” never aspired and predates the poignancy of “Ordinary World” by a good five years.

“Edge of America” is perhaps the sparsest song Duran Duran has ever written, while the dischordant bells on “Too Late Marlene” give the song an uneasy tonality.

Big Thing has its dead spots. “Palomino” is the band’s clumsiest song ever, while “Do You Believe in Shame?” really does sound like “Suzy Q”.

But when Duran Duran thinks big on this album, it doesn’t hold back. Rather than fade the album’s conclusion, the instrumental “Lake Shore Driving” cuts off suddenly. On “Drug”, the band finally learns how to integrate horns comfortably in its writing, while the opening title track is the grimiest song in the Duran Duran oeveur.

Big Thing scored a fast-rising No. 2 single with “I Don’t Want Your Love”, but subsequent follow-up singles — “All She Wants Is”, “Do You Belive in Shame?” — tanked. Quite frankly, “I Don’t Want You Love” was the only single-worthy track on the album.

Duran Duran has shown a habit of coming up with ideas before technology could support them. In the first half of its career, the band recorded 12-inch singles from scratch, before sampling technology made remixing easy.

Big Thing is another example. Had Duran Duran waited nine years for technology to catchy up, the band could have actually recorded an “acid house” album.

Instead, it drew inspiration from the clubs and worked in the way it knew how, and Duran Duran produced an album ahead of its time.

Ain’t nothing like the first thing, baby

I must be the only person in the world who can’t stand Siamese Dream.

I picked up Gish on a whim, after seeing a 30-second interview of Smashing Pumpkins on MTV way back in 1991. It was a Sunday, and I was at my library circulation job. Freshman year of college.

I listened to the album every morning on my 45-minute bus commute to school. Jimmy Chamberlain’s drumming, the dual guitar attack of James Iha and Billy Corgan, the rumbling bass of D’Arcy — there was a chemistry on that magnetic strip, and it telegraphed through the earphones into my head. (This was back when a Walkman was a portable cassette player.)

And the songwriting was damn smart — decrescendos, texture changes, time signature changes, accelerandos. These techniques weren’t just thrown into a song just to show off (hello, Sting.) They were carefully planned, almost painstakingly composed.

The bass solo on “I Am One”, the quiet breaks on “Siva”, the meter shift on “Suffer”, the build up on “Window Pane” — it felt organic but deliberate.

Here was a debut album that seemed to portend great things for Smashing Pumpkins.

And great things did happen for the band. And Billy Corgan got full of himself.

For the band’s stature at the time — which was a blip compared to the early rumblings of Soundgarden and pre-Nevermind Nirvana — Gish was an incredibly accomplished album made on what was obviously a budget.

Corgan had to work his way to the opulence that could afford Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and Adore. But even on this most earliest of works, the band’s ambitions were brimming.

And I like it better than anything the Pumpkins did after. Those early constraints forced Corgan to keep the ambition in check and to focus on making the songs as strong as they could be without the expanse they couldn’t afford.

Then Smashing Pumpkins became the beacon of rock music for most of the ’90s, and Corgan could afford to think bigger than the last thing he produced. Bigger, though, isn’t necessarily smarter.

By the time Smashing Pumpkins came full circle with Machina/The machines of God — returning to the leaner writing of Gish — it was too late. Smashing Pumpkins’ music got crushed under the weight of its own overdubs.

Which is why Siamese Dream was a let-down for me after years of listening to Gish. It was bloated and sluggish, one mid-tempo song after another, lacking the drive or fire of its predecessor.

I have a mental list of artists who recorded terrific debuts, only to find success with subsequent, lesser albums. Sinéad O’Connor and Sarah McLachlan are on that list.

So too are Smashing Pumpkins, a band that set a high bar for itself at the outset, except no one was around to know it at the time.

He has all the music

The problem with “essential” or “definitive” albums is the exact thing that makes them “essential” and “definitive”.


An album labeled with those adjectives blew expectations when it was first released, but over time, those same expectations can get pretty inflated.

It’s tough to appreciate the significance of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s nine symphonies in his time when composers 200 years after have all attempted to write works of a similar scale and demeanor.

The critical writings regarding John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme are no less star-struck.

The testimonies of fellow famous musicans in the first few pages of Ashley Kahn’s book, A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane’s Signature Album come across like Protestant faith — you wonder what’s so great that you feel like you’re missing out.

More specific to this context: What value would a webzine publisher covering mostly Japanese indie rock find in John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme?

A little more context, if you will — I am not a jazz enthusiast. I’m barely an appreciator.

So writing a review about Coltrane’s eponymous album, with so much ink already spilled, is a compounded exercise in pointlessness.

But hey, it’s new to me …

First off, A Love Supreme is a jazz album.

It is not a hybrid work. It is not a combination of divergent traditions ushering in a new cultural perspective — like, say, the combination of metal and punk that culminated in Nirvana.

Nor is it a dilution of the jazz aesthetic with an external influence. John Cage has no bearing on A Love Supreme as he does in John Zorn’s game piece, nor does Willie Nelson as he does on Norah Jones.

A Love Supreme sounds like a jazz album. It smells like a jazz.

And on first listen, it doesn’t seem so remarkable to all the other jazz albums that have come in its wake.

But even if A Love Supreme sounds like just another jazz album, it still possesses a charisma, a charm — something it reveals on subsequent listens.

It may have to do with how the album came together. Coltrane sequestered himself in his attic for five days, and when he emerged, he announced he “had all the music”.

A Love Supreme has been called a suite, and its an apt description — the album’s cohesiveness, although intuitive in its feel, comes across more like classical music.

Coltrane may not have notated a single note on the album, but it feels like he had. And the very best jazz makes the improvised sound like fate.

There are a few subtleties that make A Love Supreme stand out. When Coltrane intones the relationship between the four-note theme of “Acknowledgement” and the title of the album, it’s like the clouds parting to reveal the sun.

And the timpani on “Psalm” gives the suite just a hint of its symphonic potential.

A Love Supreme is indeed a special album. The problematic superlatives in this case are well earned.

But don’t expect it to change your life the way it did, say, Carlos Santana’s. The album nonetheless makes a fine addition to music collections and libraries everywhere.

No incentive but great sound

Of all the reissues in Capitol’s Duran Duran campaign, Seven and the Ragged Tiger offers the least incentives.

No extra tracks (you can find those on the singles boxed set), no interactive elements, no extended liner notes.

It doesn’t matter — the remastering of the album is worth the price alone.

Unlike Duran Duran’s first two albums with producer Colin Thurston, Seven and the Ragged Tiger epitomized the claustophobia of the band’s writing.

Keyboardist Nick Rhodes would later describe that period as five guys bashing it out for a piece of the spotlight — they all wanted some part of the sonic real estate.

What resulted was one of Duran Duran’s thickest recordings, a super glossy production that covered up some rushed writing. The closest Seven and the Ragged Tiger gets to a slow song is “The Seventh Stranger”, and even that song has a lot going on.

For the audiophile, Nick Webb’s remastering brings out all of the album’s nuances. If anything, a better appreciation of Seven and the Ragged Tiger derives not from the band’s songwriting but from its arrangements.

Just one listen to the album version of “The Reflex” is enough to show why Nile Rodgers’ remix of the song was necessary.

And yet, it’s great to listen to all the swirling effects of “(I’m Looking for) Cracks in the Pavement” or the layers of synthesizers on “Shadows on Your Side” or even Simon Le Bon’s reverb-drenched voice on “The Seventh Stranger” in full stereo.

The decision not to tack extras at the end of the album is something of a mixed blessing. It would have been nice to see at least the single version of “The Reflex” on the disc, but it’s also nice that nothing interferes with the poignant conclusion of “The Seventh Stranger”.

(If Duran Duran ever releases a rarities collection, how about including the demo of what should have been the album’s title track?)

Duranies may feel cheated by the fact this reissue doesn’t reveal more than what’s already public knowledge, but an A-to-B comparrison with the original CD release should quell any doubts.

Get this reissue if only to better appreciate the studio magic of the album.