Tag Archives: New Wave

OMD and the meaning of music; part 2

Tiffany,

When we last left our hero, (me) I was just getting ready to listen to ‘History of Modern’, the new OMD album, for the very first time. I had my headphones on and a fresh cup of coffee in hand. For this blog entry, I had planned on writing a track by track review of the album, but I have found the process incredibly difficult to do. Instead, I’ve decided to share some general thoughts and impressions.

Of course, it goes without saying that my biggest fear in buying this album is that it would suck. Let’s be honest, how often do our favorite bands from our youth tend to get worse with age? Even worse, how many of them don’t seem to recognize that fact? I am still recovering from the atrocity that is Duran Duran’s worst selling record of all time, Red Carpet Massacre. Duran Duran goes ‘urban’? I think not. Anyway, I wondered if after 14 years, would OMD still be able to make good music?

The first day I listened to ‘History of Modern’ I listened to it over and over again – each time listening more and more closely to each track, each arrangement and every note. The more I listened, the happier I became that my old friend had not only returned, but had returned in top form. Truth be told, ‘History of Modern’ ranks highly among the other albums in OMD’s glorious discography. In fact, it’s arguably their best album since ‘Architecture and Morality’ was released in the early ’80s. That’s saying a lot.

History of Modern promo shot of OMD's Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey

‘History of Modern’ opens with a raw, energetic number called ‘New Babies: New Toys‘. After I listened to this song, any doubts I had about OMD still being able to write and record quality music quickly disappeared. It blends edgy guitars and buzzing synth melody that knocks your socks off. It’s a side of OMD that is rarely seen, but it’s a fucking fantastic side! In my opinion, it should be a single – it’s simply that good.

Paul Humphreys

What I like most about this album is that OMD are true to their roots, but the album is very modern – this is not completely about nostalgia. This is not 1982 take two. At times, the album is experimental with songs like ‘New Holy Ground‘ that use the sound of a woman walking in heels as the beat, and the gorgeous, eight-minute long ‘The Right Side?‘. At other times with songs like ‘The Future, the Past and Forever After‘ and ‘Sister Marie Says‘ the album is just the damn good, unapologetic pop music that OMD is known for.

Andy McCluskey

Andy McCluskey

For me, one of the things I love most about OMD is their use of choir oohs and aahs. I simply melt at what these men can do with a choir sample. And, in that respect, ‘History of Modern’ doesn’t disappoint, either. OMD’s use of choirs on this album is in many ways more inventive and beautiful than on any of their previous releases. For proof of this, one need look no further than ‘History of Modern (part 2)‘ and ‘The Right Side?’; both are simply stunning pieces of art.

OMD

All told, the new OMD album is a triumphant return for one of the most innovative bands in the electronic music movement. They are a band that has played an enormously important role in my life. They inspire, they rekindle fond memories of friends and my grandfather, and I will always be indebted to them. Welcome back, friends!

OMG, OMD is back with ‘If you want it’ FTW!

Tiffany,

It was great meeting your sister yesterday. And, what a fabulous lunch we had at The Swiss in Tacoma. I hope the two of you didn’t mind my hacking – don’t worry, I am pretty sure I am no longer contagious. I guess we’ll know if you get sick in a couple of days, won’t we?

In the meantime, I’ve decided to write a short post today about music. Tiffany, one of my favorite bands of all-time is the British band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, or OMD for short. I was drawn to OMD back in the ’80s because when other bands were singing about love, sex and girls (eeww!), OMD were writing songs about Nikola Tesla, Genetic Engineering, Louise Brooks, battleships, and Apollo space missions. What’s a sexually confused kid not to love about that?

I fell out of touch with OMD in the early 90s, as most people had. But, things changed in ’93 when I was in Chico, California visiting family. I remember insisting that we visit the local Tower Records store. While flipping through the CD singles, I came across what I thought was one of the most stunning CD single covers. The single was for a song by OMD called ‘Stand Above Me‘.

I eagerly purchased it and couldn’t wait to hear the song. Sadly, I wasn’t that impressed with it, but the b-side track called ‘Can I believe you‘ was fabulous. Ever since that day, my love-affair with OMD was re-born and I’ve never looked back.

OMD are one of a number of bands that inspired me to teach myself how to write my own electronic music. It is always my goal to write songs that sound like OMD. Of course, I fail, but I never stop trying. OMD inspire me so much because out of almost all of the music I listen to, I find OMD’s style the most unique, literate, and refined – especially their early material from the ’80s. OMD elevate pop music to a level of sophistication that would even make Beethoven take notice.  Besides, what did Beethoven ever do that was so great? Did Beethoven ever get his picture on a bubble-gum card? How can you say someone is great who hasn’t gotten their picture on a bubble-gum card?

Today, OMD are poised to release their first new album in 14 years. Their first single from the album, ‘If you want it’,  is out now. The record will be called ‘History of Modern’ and is slated for release here in America on 28 September. The material from the record I have heard so far doesn’t disappoint, either. ‘If you want it’ is classic OMD with a modern twist and super hot video. In fact, in the interest of…uuuhhh…’choreographical research’, I spent a few hours dissecting the video. Here are a couple video stills for your viewing pleasure that I captured during my research.



Also for your viewing pleasure, here is the video for ‘If you want it’; I’ve also linked another new track called ‘History of Modern Part 1’. Welcome back OMD, I have missed you!

Let us know what you think of the new OMD material.

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