The record essentially delineates the group's experimental early years from their pop-oriented later work: side one features recordings from 1979–1984, while side two is drawn from the group's 1984–1988 efforts. It was a worldwide success, becoming a Top 5 hit across Europe and achieving 3x platinum sales in the United Kingdom. "Dreaming" was released as a single and made little impact on the UK charts, reaching #50, but it was a hit in the US (#16) and Germany (#26).
The version of "Electricity" used is the same as the one featured on their debut album (which itself is the band reworking Martin Hannett's original Factory version). The band was originally going to use their very first version of this song, but found the drumming to be inferior and so settled for the remix of the track instead. "Messages" is the more popular 10" single version. "Tesla Girls" and "Talking Loud and Clear" are both 7" edited versions. The Australian version of the album featured "We Love You" since that song had been a popular hit there. The CD, MiniDisc and DCC versions of the album are resequenced and feature four extra tracks not present on the LP version: "Telegraph" (a unique mix differing from the album version), "Genetic Engineering", and 12" versions of "La Femme Accident" and "We Love You". There was also a video compilation released with the promo videos of some of the songs featured on the album.