Electronic (album)

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Electronic
Studio album by Electronic
Released 28 May 1991
28 February 1994 (remastered)
Recorded 1990–1991
Genre House, alternative dance
Length 47:17 (UK)
52:29 (international)
Label Factory (UK)
Virgin (Europe)
Warner Bros. (Australia, Canada, Japan, US)
Producer Bernard Sumner, Johnny Marr
Electronic chronology
Electronic (1991) Raise the Pressure
(1996)

Electronic is the self-titled debut album by British supergroup Electronic, formed by Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr. It was first released in May 1991 (see 1991 in music) on the Factory label, and reissued in remastered form in 1994 by Parlophone after Factory collapsed.

The album was a commercial success, reaching number 2 in the United Kingdom and selling over a million copies worldwide. By the year 2000 Electronic had sold 240,000 copies in the USA.[1]

Recording[edit]

The bulk of Electronic was written in 1990, with sessions beginning that January at Johnny Marr's home studio in Manchester.[2] "Gangster" dated from an aborted solo album Bernard Sumner began work on in the mid-eighties,[3] while "Reality" was written around 1988 when he and Marr first began working together.[4] "The Patience of a Saint" also predated the album, having been written with Pet Shop Boys soon after their collaboration with their singer Neil Tennant on "Getting Away with It" in 1989.[5]

Several other songs were also completed by August 1990 (namely "Idiot Country", "Tighten Up", "Soviet", "Get the Message" and "Try All You Want") as they were performed live at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles when Electronic supported Depeche Mode[6] (although "Try All You Want" was played as an instrumental[7] and several songs had working titles[8]).

The LP subtly fused Marr's guitar playing with Sumner's synthesiser expertise, most prominently on "Idiot Country", "Feel Every Beat", "Tighten Up" and "Get the Message". Lyrically the subject matter was varied, from the aggressive targeting of rave culture by police in Britain ("Idiot Country" and "Feel Every Beat"[3]) to monogamy and emotional ambivalence ("Reality", "Try All You Want"). "The Patience of a Saint" featured a witty, sardonic duet between Sumner and Neil Tennant.

Artwork[edit]

The album cover was designed by Johnson/Panas (Trevor Johnson) with two separate photographs superimposed with a computer screen effect. The hand-rendered lettering was based on typographer Wim Crouwel's Stedelijk Museum alphabet;[9] the 1994 remaster used the design from a 1991 promotional poster with the typeface (Avenir) from the sleevenotes.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
allmusic 4/5 stars[10]
Melody Maker (favourable)[11]
NME 8/10 stars[12]
Q 5/5 stars[2]
Vox 10/10 stars
Entertainment Weekly A[13]
Spin (favourable)[14]

Upon its release the album was unanimously praised in the mainstream music press. Writing in Melody Maker, Paul Lester stated: "Each song is crammed with elaborate details and merits a treatise. Very basically, we're talking Europop, my all-time favourite genre. The overall effect is one of swirling magnificence". He concluded that Electronic was "one of the greatest albums ever made".[11]

In the NME David Quantick wrote: "This is a pretty 1990s sort of a record, fresh as a daisy and wearing huge new oxblood Doc Martens", while Keith Cameron in Vox said: "Electronic is simply a 100 per cent pure distillation of Marr and Sumner's respective talents. The hit single 'Get the Message' has it in a nutshell: it breaks no new ground; it simply achieves perfection".[12]

The album received the maximum five stars in Q from Phil Sutcliffe, who wrote: "its strength is in conflict... The inexorable pounding of the beatbox versus the fragile sadness of Sumner's voice and the he's/she's leaving stories; the symmetry of the synthesized or sampled sounds versus the sheer blood and bone physicality of Marr's guitar".[2]

Electronic was also remarked upon in the United States. In Spin magazine, Ted Friedman regarded the album as "impressive",[14] while Entertainment Weekly called it "irresistibly tuneful".[13]

At the end of 1991, NME and Melody Maker ranked it 13[15] and 15 respectively in their top albums of the year.

Singles and promotion[edit]

"Get the Message" was released in April 1991 as the lead single and performed well in both Britain (number 8 on the Top 40[16]) and America (number 1 on Modern Rock Tracks[17]). In July "Tighten Up" was released as a promo in the US and reached number 6 on the same chart.[18] "Feel Every Beat" was the next international single in September and was a modest hit.

Three songs from this era were released as B-sides: "Free Will" (on "Get the Message"), and "Lean to the Inside" and "Second to None" (on "Feel Every Beat"). A number of remixes were also released, by DNA, Winston Jones/Dave Shaw and Danny Rampling/Pete Lorimer.

Sumner and Marr gave a slew of interviews in the mainstream British music press, and appeared on Friday at the Dome and MTV's 120 Minutes to support the album. "Get the Message" was also promoted by two mimed performances on Top of the Pops.[19]

Electronic performed at the Cities in the Park festival in August, where Pet Shop Boys guested on "Getting Away with It", and played three dates in Paris, Glasgow and London in December 1991. (A tour of North America in October/November with dance acts as support was cancelled.[20]) Pet Shop Boys joined Sumner and Marr for three numbers in the last concert, namely "Getting Away with It", "The Patience of a Saint" and the then-unreleased song "Disappointed".

Charts[edit]

Chart Peak
position
UK Albums Chart 2[21]
US Billboard 200 109[22]
US Billboard Heatseekers 1[22]
German Albums Chart 97

Reissues[edit]

In 1992 the album was re-released in Europe with the "Disappointed" single as a bonus CD, while a remastered version by engineer Owen Morris replaced the previous British edition in February 1994. In 2007 a download-only special edition of Electronic was released in the iTunes Store, containing the 1994 remastered album with a selection of B-sides and remixes.

The album was re-released in Japan on 25 June 1995, and again in Europe on 8 April 2013.[23]

Track listings[edit]

2013 Special Edition (2 CD)[edit]

CD1 tracklisting as original edition

CD2

  1. Disappointed (Stephen Hague 7" Version)
  2. Second To None (2013 Edit)
  3. Lean To The Inside (2013 Edit)
  4. Twisted Tenderness (Guitar / Vocal Mix)
  5. Idiot Country Two (12" Version-Edit)
  6. Free Will (Edit)
  7. Until The End Of Time (Edit)
  8. Feel Every Beat (2013 Edit)
  9. Getting Away With It (Instrumental)
  10. Turning Point (Edit)
  11. Visit Me (Edit)
  12. Twisted Tenderness (Instrumental)

Credits[edit]

Electronic was written by Sumner and Marr, except "The Patience of a Saint", which was composed by Electronic with Pet Shop Boys and credited to Sumner, Marr, Tennant and Lowe. The bonus track "Getting Away with It" was written by Sumner, Marr and Tennant. The album was produced by Sumner and Marr, and engineered by Owen Morris.[25]

Equipment[edit]

In an interview with Sound on Sound in October 1991, Bernard Sumner revealed the following technology was used during the making of the album.[26] He stated that the album "took 200 days from beginning to end" in the same interview.

Personnel[edit]

  • Bernard Sumner — vocals, keyboards and programming
  • Johnny Marr — guitars, keyboards and programming
  • Neil Tennant — vocals on "The Patience of a Saint" and "Getting Away with It"
  • Chris Lowe — keyboards on "The Patience of a Saint"
  • Donald Johnson – drums and percussion on "Tighten Up" and "Feel Every Beat"
  • David Palmer – drums on "Feel Every Beat" and "Getting Away with It"
  • Denise Johnson – vocals on "Get the Message"
  • Helen Powell — oboe on "Some Distant Memory"
  • Andrew Robinson – additional programming

References[edit]

  1. ^ Billboard, 24 July 2000
  2. ^ a b c Q, July 1991
  3. ^ a b Melody Maker, 13 April 1991
  4. ^ Uncut, April 1999
  5. ^ Vox, June 1991
  6. ^ Vox, October 1990
  7. ^ NME, 18 August 1990
  8. ^ Manchester District Music Archive
  9. ^ FAC461 Factory Records: The Complete Graphic Album (2006)
  10. ^ Electronic (album) at AllMusic
  11. ^ a b http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http://ca.geocities.com/nvyas%40rogers.com/NewOrder/MM_Electronic_review.jpg&date=2009-10-25+03:05:27
  12. ^ a b NME, 25 May 1991
  13. ^ a b Entertainment Weekly, 21 June 1991
  14. ^ a b Spin, June 1991
  15. ^ NME, 21 December 1991
  16. ^ Chart Stats
  17. ^ billboard.com
  18. ^ billboard.com
  19. ^ feel every beat
  20. ^ Reflex, November 1991
  21. ^ Chart Stats
  22. ^ a b allmusic
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ Example here
  25. ^ ARTISTdirect
  26. ^ Sound on Sound, October 1991 (page 24)

External links[edit]