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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This could be the best album ever crafted
So we've had chance for time to diminish this masterpiece, for other pretenders to produce their best and make it fade - but this still stands in the pantheon as one of the truly great albums. There are flashes of brilliance here in every track - a turn of phrase, a sneer, a tune, a riff, a great base line - take your pick. Highly intelligent, highly wrought, yet catchy...
Published on 12 April 2009 by Mr. G. C. Stone

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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inferior remastering of a true classic album
I love Magazine: have all the vinyl, saw them live, own all the previous CDs, all the compilations, all the 2007 remastered discs (Virgin EU pressings, not Caroline, which is the label they've been released on in the U.S.).

When comparing tracks on the 2007 remaster with those on the "Maybe It's Right To Be Nervous Now" box set released in 2000, the tracks on...
Published on 10 Jun 2007 by David Haakenson


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This could be the best album ever crafted, 12 April 2009
By 
Mr. G. C. Stone "mgcs" (Newcastle, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Correct Use of Soap (Audio CD)
So we've had chance for time to diminish this masterpiece, for other pretenders to produce their best and make it fade - but this still stands in the pantheon as one of the truly great albums. There are flashes of brilliance here in every track - a turn of phrase, a sneer, a tune, a riff, a great base line - take your pick. Highly intelligent, highly wrought, yet catchy. Sing along and you'll soon be humming "I know the meaning of life, it doesn't help me a bit". OK, this doesn't fit in any category - it's not heavy on the guitar, it's not punk, it's just an intellectual poseur grappling with love and paranoia and life backed up with supremely original musicians. Yes, I do believe that this is my 'favourite' album - and I use album carefully - this is a collection, not a couple of good tunes stuffed out - all of these wonderful ditties belong together. Must go now, I think I'll hunt out my original vinyl copy. The whole thing is so perfect that even the sleeve design tells you all you need to know about the delights it contains.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I have a good face for the memories", 29 Mar 2007
By 
Dr. D. B. Sillars - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Correct Use of Soap (Audio CD)
Rightfully regarded as the bands best album. There is not doubt they were at their creative peak. The writing and playing is tight and confident. Then there is the production by the legendary Martin Hannett. You just know it's him. No one made drums sound the way he did. His production technique was crucial in defining the sound of the likes of Joy Division and A Certain Ratio. Just listen to the intro of the bonus track, a re-recording of "The Light Pours out of Me"!

"The Correct Use Of Soap" is a classic recording and was one of the first crucial albums of the 80's. Things are set in motion immediately with the opening stab of "Because Your Frightened", manic and punishing with Devoto spitting out lines like "look what fears done to my body". The catchy, poppy "Model Worker", underlying it's Brave New World air of drudgery! But the general themes throughout is paranoid distrust and romantic self-harm like on "I Want To Burn Again", with a rare acoustic guitar intro by John McGeoch. But the highlights for me are "Philadelphia", powered by Barry Adamsons fantastic propulsive bass, the uneasy, bubbling funk of "Thank You..." and the best for me is "Stuck". That has some of the greatest bass playing ever! The whole album ends with one of the best singles of the 80's "A Song From Under the Floorboard". Magazine had reached perfection here and there was nothing more to do. After this the band started to fragment.

Like all the re-issues in this series, the remastering is pretty good, a definite improvement over the original CD. Where these re-issues are let down is in the packaging. On "Correct..." all credits are reproduced and the essay like all the others is pretty informative. But where did the horrible green hue of the sleeve come from! The original LP sleeve was made from brown card. Even the original CD release got that right.

But the album is too good to take off a star for the poor quality of the presentation. It will always remain forever a 5 star album, however it's packaged!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE CORRECT USE OF SUPERLATIVES, 15 May 2007
By 
Kelvin J. Dickinson (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Correct Use of Soap (Audio CD)
Getting acquainted with MAGAZINE is a two stage process. First, you have to adjust your ears to music that does not simply pander to the eardrums, and second, you have to adjust those ears yet further to accomodate - in the singing voice of HOWARD DEVOTO - the aural equivalent of a Gerald Scarfe cartoon. But once those hurdles are overcome, the wonderful return on that investment will last you a lifetime.

THE CORRECT USE OF SOAP, Magazine's third album, is their finest 39 minutes. Ten perfect songs, fully-formed and as individual as the creative minds behind them, this is a defining pop product and, quite simply, beyond improvement. BECAUSE YOU'RE FRIGHTENED gets things off to a racing start with guitars and drums matching each other in grim intensity, but the pacing is deliberate as evidenced by tracks three and four, (I'M A PARTY and YOU NEVER KNEW ME), where the brakes are on for over seven minutes during which Devoto delivers two knockout vocals. Moving on, PHILADELPHIA is a superb rocker and I WANT TO BURN AGAIN exudes atmospheric eccentricity via swirly organ interludes and warped accoustic guitar.

Keyboards are reigned in from the previous two albums' pole positioning and the benefit in letting the other instruments breathe a little is key to the overall sound. This subtle re-alignment of DAVE FORMULA's pivotal contributions allows for no less than the best from colleagues ADAMSON, McGEOCH and DOYLE and the production by Martin Hannett is both punchy and dramatic. Just one listen is enough to know that peaks have been reached here.

Yes, there's an intellectual leaning to this music, not pretentious exactly, but you just know these boys "got an education" (SWEETHEART CONTRACT). Such a contrast when you consider the down to earth pop purity of BUZZCOCKS and, specifically, PETE SHELLEY - who, incidentally, co-wrote SHOT BY BOTH SIDES and THE LIGHT POURS OUT OF ME, two highbrow post-punk classics. Clearly, however, an ex-colleague for whom songs from a different kitchen were preferable to songs from under the floorboards.

A penultimate word in praise of Devoto's lyrics; at times they're simply thrilling. His higher functions clearly reside in other, more complex worlds, where cold-war paranoias, secret meetings, brutal relationships and personality disorders are the norm and everyday emotions vie for position on the boring old sidelines. Translate even a fraction of that facility to paper and the only conclusion worth making is that Mother Nature most certainly did NOT rip off this particular genius behind the mask(s).

Magazine's songs remain to this day wonderfully fresh and challenging - so be bold, get acquainted, and jump in...the driver might be a bit odd but the motor's a belter.

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

PS: Compilation album SCREE, (B-Sides and Rarities) is another one for your collection. The alternative versions of 'Rhythm of Cruelty' and 'The Light Pours Out of Me' are worth the money by themselves.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Songs from Underground, 14 Jan 2010
This review is from: Correct Use of Soap (Audio CD)
A magnificent album, one I criminally ignored at the time but its relative lack of commercial success shows I was not the only one sadly. Could it be partly because of Howard Devoto's reputation for being a bit pretentious or a difficult interview at the time that the band did not get the credit they deserved? Could it be that we were more easily entranced by the more accessible surface swagger of the many other brilliant bands and artists exploding out of Britain at the time? Not as brash as The Jam or The Clash or dark as The Cure or Joy Division, Magazine slipped through the cracks...or out of our hands like wet soap. Whatever - a time for reassessment, a time to acknowledge we got it wrong and this should rightfully have been a chart-topper and blasting out of every radio (in the days before cds, dvds and mp3s....) And I'm sure Howard knew it all along! This is a great package as it expands the ten excellent original album tracks with four more key songs to complete the picture of singles and b-sides of the time. And as an added bonus, the album ends with another version of The Light Pours Out Of Me, one of their earlier classics. This album lyrically and emotionally evokes literary giants like Dostoevsky, Joyce and Kafka but unites them crucially with killer pop tunes. This certainly is not depressing and gloomy, rather shiny and bright as a newly polished sheet of glass in the blazing sunlight, the dark mood of the words leavened by the funky guitar, drum and keyboards, with use of reverb by producer Martin Hannett that sometimes recalls his work on Unknown Pleasures. The sly inclusion of the Family Stone's Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again is a clue to the musical landscape to be admired here. And the echoes of this influential music can still be heard in contemporary bands like Radiohead, Blur and The Killers. Its irritability keeps it alive and kicking under the floorboards, so listen to these notes from underground. Essential.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Third successive classic album, 14 July 2010
By 
D. J. H. Thorn "davethorn13" (Hull, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Correct Use of Soap (Audio CD)
It was unreasonable to expect that Magazine would follow their debut album, 'Real Life', with another of similar standard, but they did with 'Secondhand Daylight'. It was also unreasonable to expect them to do it again, but sure enough they did with this one. The three have differing personalities, largely due to the production, from the glossy, dense debut, through the cold, sometimes grungy follow up to Martin Hannet's edgier values demonstrated here. The tempo is breathless at times; certainly this is, overall, Magazine's most uptempo album and John McGeoch's staccato guitar intro to 'Because Your Frightened' recalls the punk end of new wave music. Indeed, this sounds more like a 1977 album than 'Real Life', despite being recorded in 1980.

The themes are Devoto's usual territory, riddled with paranoia and insecurity, songs which are continually looking over their shoulders; 'Maybe it's right to be nervous now', he sings on 'Philadelphia'. Only the memorable, expansive 'You Never Knew Me' is taken slowly on the first side of the original LP and 'Philadelphia', which follows it, is the most breathless track on the album. It features an awesome fade out which wouldn't be possible without as adept a bass player as Barry Adamson, who covers himself in glory on all of Magazine's recordings.

The remainder of the album slows a little. 'I Want To Burn Again' is dramatic and the cover of Sly Stone's 'Thank You' is a slow, but wicked funk. The relentless 'Sweetheart Contract', another highlight, bursts in at a high tempo, before the album's 'difficult' track, 'Stuck' (on the previous two albums it was 'Recoil' and 'I Wanted Your Heart'), a stop-start affair. 'A Song From Under The Floorboards' could just as easily have been the first track as the last, featuring another great guitar intro and Devoto's take on the outlook of those who can set their sights on nothing higher than survival.

Magazine only gave us four studio albums, but three great ones is more than most artists can boast. They may have been rooted in the new wave, but their intellect, intelligence and musicianship transcended the genre.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remastered reissue of classic 1980 album, 10 Feb 2007
By 
Jason Parkes "We're all Frankies'" (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Correct Use of Soap (Audio CD)
'THE Correct Use of Soap' (1980) was Magazine's third LP, and slightly poppier than the bleak predecessor 'Secondhand Daylight' (1979) and was the last to feature the wonderful, late John McGeoch (who would join Siouxsie & the Banshees).

Things open on a high with the suitably manic 'Because You're Frightened' which has McGeoch employ a trademark guitar-jangle as Devoto spits paranoid poetry. This is followed by 'Model Worker,' which has a fairground-quality (is it me or do several of the tracks have a sound somewhere between dub & plastic-soul?) & offers the lovely, still pertinent line: "I'm not too worried by hegemony/I know that Carter will look after me..." (Carter was traded for Reagan on the superior 'Play'-version). 'Model Worker' even uses the word "osentatious," which is as wonderful as Wire using the word "albeit" the previous year...

The partyline-pop continues with 'I'm a Party' which brings Dave Formula's keyboards to the fore in a less teutonic-fashion than his dominance on 'Secondhand Daylight' (The Correct Use of Soap ought to be contrasted to Adamson, Formula & McGeoch's contributions to Visage around this time). McGeoch offers a suitably manic-contribution to the pop-song/anti-love song 'You Never Knew Me', which continues the Kafkaesque qualities of 'Permafrost' ("I had no idea what you want/but there was something I meant to say"- that certain-uncertainty)& features a female backing-vocal that not all may appreciate. 'Philadelphia' opens with a very 'Young Americans'-style guitar- joining the bleak death-disco of the late 70s/early 80s influenced equally by Chic as Joy Division: 'She is Beyond Good & Evil,' 'Death Disco', 'Changeling', 'Slow Motion', 'Fearless' etc...(it also contains that wonderful refrain, "Maybe it's right to be nervous now...").

'I Want to Burn Again' is another of my favourite Magazine-songs, a bursting six-minutes of joys making it clear that McGeoch was a precursor of Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood (perhaps the best fusion of Formula & McGeoch?). This is followed by a spaced-out version of Sly & the Family Stone's 'Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)' which is up there with Talking Head's take on Al Green's 'Take Me to the River' & Japan's pulsing take on Marvin Gaye's 'Ain't That Peculiar.' A case of an individual cover of a classic and one to join their Beefheart & Bond cover versions as great fun for a compilation...

Single 'Sweetheart Contract' puts the album back on an oblique course, Adamson's sublime bass jarring against Formula's sweeping-synths as McGeoch's guitar rails away and Devoto reminds us, "I was dominant for hours..." 'Stuck' lets Adamson cut loose in a Herbie Hancock-'Headhunters' style fashion and sounds like a jam- bizarre to think Magazine were a soul-act here! (this is up there with key Bowie-moments of the 70s: 'Stay', 'Look Back in Anger', 'Fame'). The album concludes on what is possibly Magazine's finest track 'A Song from Under the Floorboards' - where Devoto nails Dostoyevksy's 'Notes from the Underground' to a pop-song that nods toward Cockney Rebel's 'Make Me Smile' (listen to the backing vocals). The lyrics pretty much define Devoto's character & remains the missing link between Cohen and Morrissey as definition of an outsider.

'The Correct Use of Soap' would be the last great Magazine-studio album- follow-up 'Magic, Murder & the Weather' is one of those 'Adventure'-style disappointments (though live LP 'Play' with ex-Ultravox guitarist Robin Simon is suitably wonderful). It remains a budget-price classic and the third necessary album to own by Devoto & co; though a reissue/remodel might be welcome and could also include joys like 'Twenty Years Ago' & 'Upside Down' from that era.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars genius, 11 Jan 2012
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This review is from: Correct Use of Soap (Audio CD)
The most underrated band of the 20th century, this is their finest moment. Devoto's lyrical genius at its peak. Every track is a masterpiece. I liked this album when it first came out and it is still just as relevant today... how many albums stand the test of time like that...not many!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pop Genius, 1 Feb 2009
By 
S. LAWRIE "Stew Baby" (Helensburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Correct Use of Soap (Audio CD)
As a Magazine fan, I think 'The Correct use of Soap' is their most accessible and commercial recording of all. Produced by the legendary Martin Hannett, the tracks on display here feature occasional handclaps and great backing vocals. A definitive choice for anyone looking for an introduction to Magazine's music, or to serve as a reminder of how the music still sounds relevant today, almost 30 years on!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece enhanced, 30 Oct 2008
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Correct Use of Soap (Audio CD)
This third album by the legendary band Magazine is generally considered more accessible than Real Life or Secondhand Daylight. There's something almost classical in the arrangements and the playing although the music still has the punk edge, especially on songs like Because You're Frightened and Model Worker. This edition has been enhanced by bonus tracks.

You Never Knew Me with Laura Teresa's atmospheric backing vocals is particularly graceful and moving. Ever the poet, Devoto rhymes "philadelphia" with "healthier" on the song of that title. I Want To Burn Again has its eerie moments and the arrangement, especially the swirling cascading synths, reminds me of what Peter Murphy would do later in the eighties.

The Sly Stone cover Thank You (Fallettin Be Mice Elf Agin) could probably be termed "plastic funk" by analogy with David Bowie's plastic soul on Young Americans. But the highlight of the album for me remains the weird atmospheric Song From Under The Floorboards, a magical number with mysterious hypnotic appeal. To me, it's on a par with Devoto's strange masterpiece called Rubbish on the Luxuria album. Devoto is a man of many talents but unfortunately not prolific enough. This album is therefore to be treasured.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inferior remastering of a true classic album, 10 Jun 2007
By 
This review is from: Correct Use of Soap (Audio CD)
I love Magazine: have all the vinyl, saw them live, own all the previous CDs, all the compilations, all the 2007 remastered discs (Virgin EU pressings, not Caroline, which is the label they've been released on in the U.S.).

When comparing tracks on the 2007 remaster with those on the "Maybe It's Right To Be Nervous Now" box set released in 2000, the tracks on the box set are vastly superior to any other release, and are closest to the original vinyl releases. The 2007 tracks sound muffled. One has to wonder what the heck happened.

Suffice to say, this album is 5 stars, but the remastering drags it down to 3. If you own the box set, keep it, and don't be duped into buying the 2007 remasters.
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