Ultravox-Midge Ure/If I Was

It’s very difficult to track the lineage of Ultravox. Really, Ultravox were two very different but similar bands. Specializing in distant, electronic, non-emotional 80’s New Wave, Ultravox experienced a number of line-up changes and chart successes. The band found most of their sales success with lead singer Midge Ure, although former lead singer John Foxx found success with his minimal, ghost like electronic landscapes. Ure, wrote with Bob Geldof, the British single for Ethiopian Famine Relief Do They Know It’s Christmas? Until April of 2009, Ultravox had never performed live together as a group since Live Aid. 2009 saw a slew of ‘one off’ performances, but no new materialis expected. Ultravox remain a classic 80’s electronic band that formed the creative bloodline of  many current bands around today…this collection is a great introduction.

If I Was—-Combining all the elements of great 80’s New Wavebands, this composition has all the keys. A distant but emotive vocal, instrumentation that is understated, a keyboard/synthesizer track that is reminiscent of any great 80’s song. To me, a masterpiece. Never, Never, Never big in the states, but a must have for any 80’s fan.

No Regrets—-Wow! Distant, Cold….Freezing even. But the emotion is so strong. This is a result of rare cohesion between band members and lead singer at the same time. A classic 80’s soundtrack, but the instrumentation is ICY ala mid-80’s Gary Numan[ who sites Ultravox as an influence]. A great, great song.

Love’s Great Adventure—-Much more ‘poppy’ and happy [sic], the lyrical content retains hurt and disdain. The backdrop is a hyper-kinetic synth that pushes the song forward. Not a favorite, but not a bad song by any means.

Dear God—-Another cold, distant type musical backdrop that open up in the first few bars. Featuring a more prominent acoustic guitar and drum track, the song is introspective, emotion filled and sad. Classic! I love it when Ure pleads “…give me peace in a restless world…”!!!

Cold, Cold Heart—-Featuring an undeniably catchy New-Wave 80’s musical backdrop, one wonders why this band was not huge in the U.S. circa 1984-86 when this type of sound was the rage. Addictive and classic in sound…outstanding!

Vienna—-Perhaps the biggest selling single of the bands’ career, the song is cold, cold, cold. Very Numan-esque with leanings to Bowie during his Lowperiod, it became an instant classic upon it’s release. Absolutely fantastic…..the German influence of producers is evident.

Call Of The Wild—-Again, upon hearing this song, I wonder why this band was not huge. A catchy chorus, more prominent electric guitar, the ever familiar machine generated backdrop. Wonderful….not incredibly special, but wonderful.

After A Fashion—-Very Bowie-esque in both title and content. Peculiar and tinny in sound and production. This is a great companion piece to Bowies’ Scary Monsters [& Super Creeps].

Dancing With Tears In My Eyes—-Garnering their biggest success in the U.S., this song again combines the best musical backdrop and vocal delivery that the 80’s are known for. The vocal is pained and expressive, the musical backdrop reminding me of bands like the Psychedelic Furs. Great freaking song!!!

All Fall Down—-Beginning, and continuing, like a Big Countrythrow-away. The vocal is nice, a pleasent listen. The musical backdrop is a marching, Celtic-inspired mess.

Yellow Pearl—-More of a dancier 80’s groove, it just didn’t ork for me. I like the vocal, but the song is nothing special.

Fade To Grey—-Actualy a song from the Visage album that featured Ure and Billy Currie. A pleasent romp through European flared 80’s synth-pop, Beautiful…..but don’t waste your time on the Visage release.

Reap The Wild Wind—-Yes!!! Yes!!! Yes!!! Another great standout from the bands’ catalog that shows them at their finest. Catchy. melodic, synth inspired perfection.

Answers To Nothing—-Odd and somewhat unimaginative. The song allows you to become quickly bored with the empty-non emotive vocal. The musical backdrop is uninspired and methodical.

Do They Know It’s Christmas—-Groundbreaking in reasoning, groundbreaking in the variety of artist…groundbreaking in the movement it started…groundbreaking in sales. Listening to it, I try to recognize voices through my goosebumps…..Midge Ure, Stuart Adamson, Boy George, George Michael, Simon LeBon, Bono, and a cast of 100 80’s pop icons!  A magnificent  moving song.

That Certain Smile—-Again, successfully merging British 80’s new wave with a nice pop sensibility, Ure delivers a great vocal. Not a huge, standout track…but passable and damn listenable.

The Man Who Sold The World—-A cover of the Bowie classic, one can only say how appropriate. The delivery is spectacular! Even more cold and distant than the original, the song has swirling atmosphere and attitude. Masterful!

*** out of 5


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