The Absolute Game

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The Absolute Game
Studio album by Skids
Released September 1980 (1980-09)
Recorded The Manor and Audio International
Spring 1980
Genre Punk rock, new wave
Label Virgin
Producer Mick Glossop
Skids chronology
Days in Europa
The Absolute Game
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]

The Absolute Game is Skids' 1980 third album (not counting the two different versions released of their second album, 1979's Days in Europa) and was produced by Mick Glossop.

The album continued Skids' progression from a punky sound into a more mellow one - paralleled by many bands of the period. The album has a great deal in common with Days in Europa, but not much with its successor, Joy. Around this time the band was riven by internal rifts and disagreements, leading to various changes in personnel. Soon after the release and tour of The Absolute Game, Adamson and Baillie left the band. A great deal of Big Country's future sound and style can be heard in this album. In particularly on Hurry On Boys, which features bagpipe simulations and real didgeridoo. Joy has a completely different sound from other Skids albums, and some fans consider The Absolute Game to be the last canonical Skids album. This album also marked the first collaborative effort between Richard Jobson and new bassist Russell Webb, who continued to work together in the band The Armoury Show and also on Jobson's solo album Badman.[2]


Initial copies came with a limited edition second disc entitled Strength Through Joy, a collection of material recorded during The Absolute Game sessions but omitted from the album. Its songs apparently feature members of the band playing each other's instruments. Richard Jobson, Skids' lead singer, later stated that this title had been taken from Dirk Bogarde's autobiography and was not based on the Nazi slogan Kraft durch Freude.[citation needed] However, it continued the controversial theme of the first release of Days in Europa, which had also been withdrawn after accusations of Nazi glorification.

Track listing[edit]

Original album[edit]

All tracks composed by Skids unless indicated otherwise.

Side One
No. Title Length
1. "Circus Games"   4:10
2. "Out of Town" (Jobson/Adamson) 4:08
3. "Goodbye Civilian"   4:15
4. "The Children Saw the Shame"   3:40
5. "A Woman in Winter"   5:40
Side Two
No. Title Length
6. "Hurry On Boys"   3:42
7. "Happy To Be With You"   3:36
8. "The Devils Decade"   5:42
9. "One Decree"   3:23
10. "Arena"   5:10

Strength Through Joy[edit]

(limited-edition second disc available with initial copies)

All tracks composed by Skids.

Side One
No. Title Length
1. "An Incident in Algiers"   3:55
2. "Grievance"   2:58
3. "Strength Through Joy"   1:59
4. "Filming in Africa"   3:39
Side Two
No. Title Length
5. "A Man For All Seasons"   1:50
6. "Snakes and Ladders"   4:01
7. "Surgical Triumph"   2:13
8. "The Bell Jar"   2:33

2008 re-release[edit]

All tracks composed by Skids unless indicated otherwise.

Original album
No. Title Length
1. "Circus Games"   3:52
2. "Out of Town" (Jobson/Adamson) 4:08
3. "Goodbye Civilian"   4:18
4. "The Children Saw the Shame"   3:42
5. "A Woman in Winter"   5:58
6. "Hurry On Boys"   3:45
7. "Happy To Be With You"   3:38
8. "The Devils Decade"   5:33
9. "One Decree"   3:26
10. "Arena"   5:25
Bonus tracks
No. Title Length
11. "Circus Games" (Single A-side edit, 1980) 4:10
12. "Goodbye Civilian" (Single A-side edit, 1980) 3:31
13. "Monkey Mcguire Meets Specky Potter Behind Lochore Institute" ("Goodbye Civilian" single B-side, 1980) 2:55
14. "An Incident in Algiers" (Strength Though Joy EP, 1980) 3:55
15. "Grievance" (Strength Though Joy EP, 1980) 2:58
16. "Strength Through Joy" (Strength Though Joy EP, 1980) 1:59
17. "Filming Africa" (Strength Though Joy EP, 1980) 3:39
18. "A Man For All Seasons" (Strength Though Joy EP, 1980) 1:50
19. "Snakes and Ladders" (Strength Though Joy EP, 1980) 4:01
20. "Surgical Triumph" (Strength Though Joy EP, 1980) 2:13
21. "The Bell Jar" (Strength Though Joy EP, 1980) 2:33