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Various Failures 1988 - 1992 [Double CD, Import]

Swans Audio CD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: 19.43 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Aug 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Double CD, Import
  • Label: Young God
  • ASIN: B00000I60J
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 77,840 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Miracle of Love
2. Black Eyed Dog
3. The Golden Boy That Was Swallowed By The Sea
4. (-)
5. I Remember Who You Are
6. Her
7. No Cruel Angels
8. When She Breathes
9. Why Are We Alive?
10. The Child's Right
See all 17 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Failure
2. Indentity
3. The Sound Of Freedom
4. Trust Me
5. Better Than You
6. Saved
7. Will We Survive?
8. Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes
9. God Damn The Sun - Various Artists
10. Eyes Of Nature
See all 16 tracks on this disc

Product Description

2CD set. Distilled 34-track compilation of singles, B-sides and rare material! Includes Nick Drake and Joy Division covers.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When Swans Were Alive 17 Feb 2008
Format:Audio CD
As the other reviewers have noted this double CD is a bit of a mix between a 'Best Of', a sampler and a collection of rarities or B-sides. Why not just re-release the CDs 'White Light..' & 'Love of Life' in their entirety and include the extra tracks as a bonus?

It seems to be a strange decision to concoct this mish-mash of tracks from different CDs, but after listening to it for the last few days I have to admit that it does work on its own merit. In fact I'd probably suggest it as a good introduction for anyone who hasn't heard any Swans material before, whilst for those who already own the original LPs/CDs then the B-sides and alternative versions are interesting enough to warrant buying it.

It should be noted that some of the tracks are alternate versions of those on the original releases. Such as:

--'When She Breathes' is slightly different than on 'White Light..'
--'Why Are We Alive?' has a different ending.
--'Song For Dead Time Mg version' is sung by Michael Gira rather than Jarboe.
--'Blind' is just an excellent track taken from 'Drainland'. The CD is worth getting for this track alone.
--'Unfortunate Lie' is a shortened, instrumental version of 'The Most Unfortunate Lie'.
--'Was He Ever Alive?' is NOT an alternative version of 'Why Are We Alive?' but is musically similar to 'You're Not Real Girl' from the 'Children of God' LP.
--'Trust Me' is an alternative (more acoustic) version to the song on 'Children of God'.
--'Will We Survive?' might be slightly different...I'm not too sure.
--'You Know Everything' is an instrumental version of 'You Know Nothing'.
--'Song For Dead Time - J vers' sounds slightly different than the version on 'White Light...'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal Achievements 25 July 2008
Format:Audio CD
This 2-disc compilation draws from the Swans albums Burning World (1989), Love of Life (1991) & White Light from The Mouth of Infinity (1991) plus the EP single Love Will Tear Us Apart (1988), as well as Ten Songs for Another World (1990) by the side project World of Skin. It also includes a few previously unreleased tracks. The music is spread over two discs:


This one opens with Michael's harrowing Failure and is followed by Identity, another strange one with a little boy reciting a weird spiritual poem over riffs rife with minor-chords and snatches of distorted male vocal.

Breathtaking is the word for their interpretation of Steve Winwood's Can't Find My Way Home, hypnotically and spookily sung by Jarboe over eerie instrumentation. Jarboe's version of Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart is a further masterpiece.

The haunting Jarboe track Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes is the poem To Celia by Ben Jonson (1573-1637) set to hymnal music. A cursory glance at Jonson's lyrics reveals nothing overtly spiritual; the theme seems to be romantic love. Still, there are ambiguities and the melody undoubtedly originates from the Olde English Hymne tradition. This version has lost its Lord's Prayer ending

One of Michael's moments of extremity is the devastating God Damn The Sun, where he out-Cohens Leonard on a slow, meandering ballad with an achingly beautiful tune. On the previously unreleased Picture of Marianne, he gently interprets this poignant and gentle ballad.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed compilation of a truly great band 6 Feb 2007
By russell clarke TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
If ever a band were crying out for the exhaustitive box set treatment it's The Swans( along with Fatima Mansions, Microdisney, The Young Gods, Big Black, American Music Club amongst others) Their two most monumentally brilliant albums "The Burning World" and "White Light At The Mouth Of Infinity " are only available on CD at ridiculously inflated prices and their transition from amoral totalitarian noise merchants to purveyors of luxuriant yet doom laden folkies is one of the most compelling in modern music. This double CD is the only overview of their career, yet it's frustratingly incomplete with some bewildering omissions though this being The Swans the quality quotient is still admirably high.

What are on here are panoramic vistas of "Better Than You ", "Will We Survive" "Why Are We Alive?" "Miracle Of Love" supplemented by plunging bass lines, cavernous percussion, gasping strings and exotic textures. Michael Giras, s portentous stentorian vocals grumble convincingly about tears, blackened skies, and failure. This is not happy music but neither is it laughably grumpy and true beauty is offered by Jarboe who provides sumptuous backing vocals and quite stunning lead vocals on tracks "I Remember Who You Are" and "Can, t Find My Way Home" and in doing so gives a comprehensive lesson to diva warblers on how to sing ballads properly with convincing emotion and feeling.

The omissions are very frustrating .No "Saved" or "The River That Runs With Love It Never Runs Dry" from "The Burning World". No "Celebrity Lifestyle" from "The Great Annihilator ", nor the pounding title track from "Love Of Life". These are surely superior to tracks like "Was He Ever Alive?" or "Identity" and definitely preferable to the various brief instrumental interludes that adorn side one.
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