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  • The a List [VINYL]
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The a List [VINYL]

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Product details

  • Vinyl
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Mute
  • ASIN: B00004WS7F
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,716,340 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME on 24 Jan. 2004
Format: Audio CD
Jeff Bateman's reductive and oh, so clever assessment of this compilation does a disservice not only to the music on the cd, but to the very idea of Wire. He's probably the kind of guy who made faces when Wire did Chairs Missing after Pink Flag, and after Chairs Missing turned his nose up at 154. He ought to be subjected to Document&Eyewitness in a room for several decades. Wire have always moved on, and to want them to be a retro-impersonation of their Harvest-selves demonstrates a severe lacking in the notion of punk and Wire...
The A List is a great 16-track compilation , from their 1985 reformation (though various Wire members had played together in Dome, He Said, A/Z and on The The's Burning Blue Soul) which produced the Snakedrill e.p. and later, The Ideal Copy to 1990's Manscape, just before the improvisational Drill mini-lp and Gotobed's exit as Wire became Wir...The new Wire pushed onward, no point in looking back, & on Mute records, embraced modern technology. There are plenty of great leftfield pop songs here to rival early classics like I am the Fly, Dot Dash, Outdoor Miner, Three Girl Rhumba, The 15th & On Returning. Only a sophist would dismiss such joys as indie hit single Eardrum Buzz, Kidney Bingos, Finest Drops, Ahead, Silk Skin Paws & Feed Me. Like On Returning, this compilation makes you want to return the origins: Snakedrill, The Ideal Copy, A Bell is a Cup...Until It Is Struck, IBTABA & Manscape.
To be fair, IBTABA was one of those artistic directions in music based on improvisation like D&E (1980, Grey Area) & The Drill. Eardrum Buzz and In Vivo remain lovely singles from 1989. Pity Manscape is so scantly represented, as that was a leftfield companion to Depeche Mode's Violator and a reminder of how great Mute records was...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 Sept. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you have the albums on CD already then this is not an essential purchase. If like, me they are on vinyl, then this may be worth it, if only to stop getting up and down every fifteen- twenty minutes. Does not have all the tracks from Ideal Copy and A Bell is a Cup but incorporates enough to make it interesting plus some of the singles which may have passed you be - well they did me.

I don't listen to Manscape or Wir, they are sleeved away, filed under W, so this has enough on its platter to sustain my interest, because these two albums were sublime. Not to everyones taste that is for sure, but the Kinks/Beatles harmonies set to a New Order style beat and the Wire trademark vocals/lyrics printed on top were nerve tuggers.

Plays as a constant entre within the house without any requests to turn it down or off, this is a turning point.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David P. Weber on 28 Feb. 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a nice catch-all for Wire fans who want tracks which are now hard to find from their second, quite different period of output. But Wire fans are in desperate need of a comprehensive compilation, or box.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By banginon on 11 Jun. 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is wire what more is there to say if you know music and you have heard this band there great!!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Truly the best of 80's era Wire. 25 Jun. 1998
By rciscon@ix.netcom.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
There are two era's in Wire's history, the Punk/Art School of the 70's, and the Beat Combo/Electronic era of the 80's. This album presents the best from Wire's releases from the 80's. Songs from singles, and the albums 'The Ideal Copy', 'A Bell is a Cup', 'Ibtaba', and 'Manscape'.
If you prefer a harder edged, short, sharp, punk shock, go with the 70's stuff. If you prefer experimental music that hasn't forgotten the 'fun' of pop music, try 'The A List: 1985-1990'.
Try the dance-able proto-techno of 'Ahead', the lyrical pop beauty of 'Kindey Bingos' and 'Madman's Honey', or the excursions into 'Dugga' - repeated rythmic sequences pieced together in a melange of frenetic excitement, as featured on 'Drill'.
There is something for everybody on this album, so unless you are a techno-phobe and/or a luddite who can't understand why good ol' punks like Wire would work with synthesizers, give it a shot!
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
A Functional Compilation of Wire's Marginal Second Phase. 10 Nov. 2001
By Alan Koslowski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I want to offer a different perspective on this compilation. As a disciple of Wire's first late 70s art-punk phase (though I do think '154' is overrated) I was curious about their reformation in the mid-80s to early 90s. I read this democratic compilation (songs were selected by fans and assorted music writers, then sequenced in descending order) represented the best material from that period.
In a sense Wire, phase II is a natural progression from it's first incarnation. On each of their first three albums, Wire's sound and song-structures became increasingly more elaborate. This material follows that same blueprint; Wire experiment with a variety of sonic effects and studio treatments. They've also dulled the sharp edge of their early work in favor of more palatable, less intense pop structures.
The A-List contains some fine alternative/techno pop songs, similar to more well known artists like Joy Division and The Cure (though Wire is considerably more light-hearted). "Ahead", "Kidney Bingos", "A Serious of Snakes", and "In Vivo" are all catchy, likeable tracks. Even if they aren't as artistically credible or substantive as the best material from Pink Flag, Chairs Missing, and 154, they're worth hearing.
Unfortunately, since the tracks on The A-List are sequenced in descending order, most of the second half isn't terribly captivating. Part of the problem with Wire's second phase was their obsession with sonic experimenation to the detriment of songwriting. Too often these "songs" aren't songs at all but pointless, sterile soundscapes. In a sense, this material is necessary to provide a more accurate representation of Wire's second phase, but it's really not worth hearing. It's ironic that even though Pink Flag is much more primitive sonically, it sounds fresher today than most material on The A-List. Many tracks contain low-fi (by modern standards) instrumenation such as choppy synthetic bass, and cheesy electric percussion (both staples of the 80s) that make the music sound dated.
The A-List serves it's intended purpose. For advocates of Wire's later albums, it presents the best of Wire, phase II. For fans of Wire's late 70s art-punk who are curious about their later output, this compilation will more than satisfy your curiosity. However, writing as one of the latter, even if you decide to skip The A-List, you won't be missing much.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
best of the rest 2 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This compilation summarizes what the second period of Wire's existence was all about; good pop songs with a twist, using modern electronics. The four members of the band let their fan club vote for what they regarded to be the best Wire songs of that period, and this record is the result of that; here compiled you will find the best songs of the reformed Wire. It is an excellent compiltaion, making all the uneven albums unncessary. If you have all the first three albums and this one, you own everything you need to own of Wire. There's only two minor drawbacks of this compilation; firstly, these songs just aren't as elemental as the work on the first three albums, secondly, the cd begins with the number 1 as voted by the fan club and works its way down the list, thus becoming gradually weaker over the course of the cd. These are futile remarks, however, as it is a perfect way of appreciating latter-day Wire.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The finest drops 18 Feb. 2000
By loteq - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Lacking the dissonant and spotty songs that tend to weaken Wire's '80s-albums, "The A list" is the perfect place to start for everyone who is interested in this innovative band. In the '80s, Wire never pushed the boundaries in such a way as they had in the late-'70s ("Pink flag"), but they created some of the best British indie-rock music of the decade. This compilation is highly recommendable, but as a new fan you might get a wrong view of Wire. Actually, they were much more dance-oriented and experimental, just listen to their single b-sides, "Coatings-The B list", and their early-'90s albums "Manscape" and "The first letter". Still, fluid and melodic guitar pop songs like "Ahead", "Kidney Bingos", and "Eardrum buzz" are among Wire's best efforts. The other tracks on this compilation have a lot to offer, too. "The A list" still sounds fresh and shows that Wire have created some timeless music.
4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
a baby boomers new wave band 15 Sept. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
There was nobody like them, they had their own sound. I have been listening to them since they started. You can not compare any body to them as far as sound.
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