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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All time classic. As fresh today as 20 years ago,
What can I say about this album that hasn't already been said? If you only ever buy one album of 80's electro-pop, make it this one. Every track shines out like a beacon, and it hasn't dated at all. Not one little bit. I first heard of this band when 'Miami Vice' featured the track 'P-Machinery' as the soundtrack to a fast night driving scene in the episode 'The Fix' and...
Published on 7 Oct 2005 by G. E. Hearn

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars New Mix!!!
Let me start by saying that Secret Wish is one of my favourite albums of all time. The production work of SJ Lipson and the mixing of Trevor Horn were just genious. Musically the album extends so far beyond other electronic albums...there's elements of classical, jazz, progressive, hard rock, industrial, etc...that it's like a whole new genre of music that other albums...
Published on 12 Aug 2006 by Greg A. Carrigan


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All time classic. As fresh today as 20 years ago,, 7 Oct 2005
By 
This review is from: A Secret Wish (Audio CD)
What can I say about this album that hasn't already been said? If you only ever buy one album of 80's electro-pop, make it this one. Every track shines out like a beacon, and it hasn't dated at all. Not one little bit. I first heard of this band when 'Miami Vice' featured the track 'P-Machinery' as the soundtrack to a fast night driving scene in the episode 'The Fix' and I went straight out and bought the album on the strength of ten seconds or so of the intro to this track.
In the intervening years it has never been far from my CD player (This is actually the second copy I've owned, as I wore the first out!!) If you like this, buy 'Outside world' as well, for the remixes.
As Paul Lester (Uncut) wrote:
'Sheer brutal beauty'
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent sound - and the complete album at last, 19 July 2010
By 
not_a_real_folkie "not_a_real_folkie" (Farnham, Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Secret Wish [25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition] (Audio CD)
I'll write a more contemplative review when I've lived with this 25th anniversary edition for a few weeks, but the initial play-through has been a great experience.

What you get on Disc One is, firstly, the original "Secret Wish" album as issued on CD on ZTT/Island in 1985, including the specially-remixed "Dream Within A Dream" that Stephen Lipson produced just for CD; the vinyl and cassette had a different version that became the one on the previous ZTT re-issue. Confused? You will be - the superb 10' 41" mix of Dr Mabuse is also here from that original 1985 CD. This is what we've been waiting for for so long. As if that weren't enough, the rest of Disc 1 contains the analogue format versions of the tracks above, plus trainspotters-only versions of Duel and p:Machinery that you'd be hard-pressed to tell apart from the earlier versions. But we do get all those riches in the form of "Dream Within A Dream" in both mixes and the unexpurgated "Dr Mabuse", which is wonderful.

Disc 2 is also a treasure-trove. People have commented on "Do Well", the cassette single version of Duel, and it's brilliant. Some of the other mixes etc. are more subtle (or not, as in "Echo of Frozen Faces"). Fans will probably bemoan the omission of some material e.g. the Beta Wraparound 12" version of p:Machinery but, after all, you've gotta leave something for those vinyl specialist record shops to deal in!

The mastering sounds perfect to me. I'm not sure what the reviewer who complained was expecting - the original tapes put through the too-good-to-be-true filter? (e.g. loads of artificial treble boost? horrible compression to make it sound 'louder'?). The compilers of this re-release seem to have decided that, what Stephen Lipson and Trevor Horn wanted us to hear, is what we get. Which is fine by me.

In summary, if you buy this, "Wishful Thinking" and the "Outside World" compilation from a few years ago, you'll have more Propaganda tracks than you could ever need. Excellent re-issue and, as everyone seems to be saying, about time too!
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Electro-Perfecto!, 9 April 2002
This review is from: A Secret Wish (Audio CD)
Here's a much forgotten secret from the mid eighties, Propaganda's Secret Wish is one of the best albums from this period of golden pop. The album was produced by one of the UK's best known and most successful producer's Trevor Horn, who was also the driving force behind the trend setting debuts of ABC and Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Horn's love of complex string arrangements are used to good effect giving Propaganda's well constructed songs an added dimension that starker electronic albums could sometimes lack. Propaganda proved they were on equal terms with fellow German innovators Kraftwerk by releasing an album where every track is a gem. Clever use of synth sequencing and analogue layers give many of the tracks a definite edge, and the album still sounds superb by today's techno standards some 15 years after it was released. This sort of music is always helped by a strong vocalist, and the enigmatic Claudia Brucken with her distinctive German voice is as important to the success of this album as Alison Moyet was to Yazoo. Brucken's vocals easily generate pure emotion against the harsh, industrial sequencing of some of the tracks. On Jewel she provides a manic performance that I really haven't heard from any female vocalist since. It's very difficult to pick highlight tracks as favourites, because they are all so good, but Duel remains as one of the best pop songs from this period. It's a perfect mix of classical interludes and melodic synths, something Horn was to revisit on the PSB classic Left To My Own Devices from 1988. Heaven 17's Glenn Gregory helps out on the vocals for the single P-Machinery, a song that has one of the catchiest synth leads I have ever heard. Japan's David Sylvian also provided the bleeps in the intro. Sorry For Laughing is a touching change of pace and something of a classic. Huge heaps of melancholy and another memorable pop tune. If I'm pushed, I'd say that Dr Mabuse is the highlight purely for it's complexity and change of pace halfway through into a pure killer of a bassline (I bet Adamski liked this one before recording his track Killer!). A dramatic song like most of the album and it was no surprise to hear tracks from this album used for endless UK TV theme tunes and car adverts. Secret Wish easily makes my own personal top ten along with the Human League's Dare and Depeche Mode's Black Celebration. Sadly, I own the original 1985 CD release of this album so I don't have the extra tracks, but I can recommend the remix album Wishful Thinking. Buy Secret Wish and you'll love it. Trust me.
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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Secret Wish That's Worth Sharing, 17 July 2010
By 
A. Connor - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Secret Wish [25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition] (Audio CD)
"A Secret Wish", an album of mystery without explanation and a musical journey best undertaken in completeness, much like Roxy's "Avalon" or Frankie's "Pleasuredome". I can't actually believe it has taken 25 years for the definitive version of this magnificent recording to finally be realised.

Packaged beautifully in a fold out digipack with a 24 page booklet, the release continues to uphold the extremely high standards that I have now come to expect from ZTT, Union Square and project producer Ian Peel. There's attention to detail on the minutest scale, from the thoroughly researched band history right through to the pinpointing of tiny differences between analogue and digital versions of the same song. People with a passion for what they are doing go to this much trouble, and again, that is what continues to set this re-issue series apart from those of others. Well, that and the excellent audio quality which abounds here, thanks to every track being sourced and enhanced (note, `enhanced' not `maxxed out to oblivion') from the original masters. It appears that in the ZTT archives, the Propaganda catalogue has been well cared for, meaning that the very best of what was recorded at the time has been available for inclusion here.

Turning to the original album, Propaganda, or as one journalist dubbed them in 1985, "Abba in hell" (I love that!) delivered a moment in time. It was one of the truly great albums of the year, a sonic masterpiece that ran the whole gauntlet of contemporary music and beyond. "Jewel" remains one of the most disturbing pieces of music I have ever listened to, truly the complete opposite of "Duel", a great pop record that probably ranks as one of the most commercial singles ever released by ZTT. So commercial even Mandy Smith recorded a passable version of it several years later at PWL! This is even more interesting considering there was talk of sending Propaganda off to work with Stock Aitken & Waterman at one point to create a German version of Dollar (in fact "Testament One" on disc two could have easily evolved into a "Mirror Mirror" clone). Anyway, back to "Duel"! As a song it never fails to make me smile, and it really did deserve to go much higher in the charts than it did. In fact I would wager most people think it made the top 10, instead of #21.

"Frozen Faces" is a beautiful, off the wall moment which always reminds me of Yazoo. With some re-structuring I think this could have made a killer single. I'd rate it as one of Stephen Lipson's' production highlights, rivalling even the majestic opulence of "p:Machinery". It's featured in expanded form on disc two, in a version that wouldn't have been too out of place in an acid house set in 1988. "The Murder Of Love" is another non-single favourite and I wouldn't be surprised if it was the inspiration for much of New Orders output in the mid/late 80s. Influential band? Definitely. The liner notes reveal even Quincy Jones was a fan.

What can I say about "Dr. Mabuse"? Even at a 10:41 running time it still isn't long enough. Getting the opportunity to see Claudia perform this song with Trevor back in 2004 at Wembley was a real dream come true. It still remains a pop masterpiece, overlooked on all the usual 80s compilations.

Disc two contains many previously unreleased alternate/extended and remixed versions, including the Goodnight 32 mix of "p:Machinery", one of the last Propaganda mixes to be completed during the album sessions.

A highlight for fans will definitely be the inclusion of "Do Well", the "Duel" cassingle exclusive. Running at 20 minutes this megamix included an exclusive segment, called "Wonder", where the ethereal meets the industrial. Now at last it's time to throw away those dodgy cassette-to-CD transfers!

Revisiting this album again makes me realise how many potential singles there actually were on this record, but back in 1985 it was definitely ahead of its time. Propaganda clearly wasn't a band or concept that could easily be shoe horned into pop radio, and that's a real shame because a significant audience therefore missed out on the opportunity of enjoying this album. Fortunately as people mature, so often does our taste, and those who missed it now have the chance again to strike out of their comfort zone just for a spell and enjoy something deeper, darker and totally fabulous. Those who are already fans and waiting with anticipation for this release will be well rewarded for their (25 year) patience!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars New Mix!!!, 12 Aug 2006
By 
Greg A. Carrigan "greg c" (london, on, ca) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Secret Wish (Audio CD)
Let me start by saying that Secret Wish is one of my favourite albums of all time. The production work of SJ Lipson and the mixing of Trevor Horn were just genious. Musically the album extends so far beyond other electronic albums...there's elements of classical, jazz, progressive, hard rock, industrial, etc...that it's like a whole new genre of music that other albums have never matched.

Now onto this latest re-release newly mixed into 5.1 by Trevor Horn. There's certainly new suprises. There are portions of the mix that are now audible that we previously buried. There's now an interesting new intro to P Machinery (that is sort of a hybrid of the different 12" mixes that have been released). In addition, the mix is opened up and fills the room nicely. On the down-side, Trevor appears to have made little effort to emulate the original sound of the original mix. There are different drum sounds on some tracks. There is no reverb on some keyboard parts that were previously coverred in shimmering reverb. There's now an edit to Murder of Love (where a few bars of the song have been cut out from what was the US version). There are entire keyboard parts in the bridge of 'Duel' that are now almost inaudible. The really great accoustic drum section of 'Dream Within a Dream' has now been mixed way down. Why all the changes???? One would have hoped that the great original mix that we have all cherished over the years would have been faithfully reproduced and expanded into high resolution surround. Instead what we get is, in many cases, a completely new sounding mix.

It's still great, and I suppose that if anyone has a right to change it, it's Trevor Horn. But it still feels a bit like tampering with a masterpiece.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it ..... two versions of the album plus a bonus disc!, 20 July 2010
By 
M. B. Wilson "crushtrash" (Bristol) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Secret Wish [25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition] (Audio CD)
Until now I only had this on vinyl, plus the Outside World and Wishful Thinking CDs (and some 12"). As such I can't compare to the SACD or previous CD release!

However I am very impressed with the artwork (quite a booklet), notes and compilation itself. Yes, it is quite a loud master (everything is apparently from the master tapes), but I didn't hear any distortion or obvious 'flattening' as a result, so the sound seems fine.

Disc 1 is great, as you get the original CD version, plus the analogue only tracks/versions. This means you can either play the whole lot, or program to mimic the original vinyl running order/tracks, or simply play tracks 1-9 for the standard CD running order (includes Frozen Faces and 'longer' versions/mixes of Jewel & Mabuse). This should satisfy most fans, and also allow completists to spot the sometimes subtle differences in the mix betwen analogue and digital outings.

Disc 2 is sublime, including a thoughtful compilation of released and unreleased material/mixes. The 20 minute cassingle of Jewel/Duel (Do Well) opens proceedings, with its exclusive segments very welcome, and then we have several tracks that did not make it onto Outside World/Wishful, or even the light of day in some cases! The quality does not drop here, although a larger number of lengthy tracks may not suit all listeners if listening from start to finish.

I could not find any mention of in the credits of Digital Remastering, for those who hunt this out, but at this price I feel this is a worthwhile edition, and essential if you want all (as far as I can tell!) available album versions in one place.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kraft-y-werk? You could say that!, 26 Feb 2007
By 
L. Foxall "foxall" (Warrington, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Secret Wish (Audio CD)
After hearing Duel on the radio & reading other people's reviews about A Secret Wish, I decided to make a purchase. Not the most convincing of foundations to justify making a purchase but I don't care because I'm glad I bought it!

This album in places reminds me of Kraftwerk because some of the tracks such as `Dream Within A Dream' and `Dr Mabuse' have an experimental feel to them - they're focused more towards the sound they create rather than lyrics and can last for quite a while with the longest track being `Dream Within A Dream' @ 8 minutes long. However, if you're worried the song you started playing at the beginning of the Autobahn will still be playing at the end of it, fear not because unlike Kraftwerk, the appeal to the mainstream is there for all to hear I think, and if their "experimental" material does not appeal to you, then I'm sure `Jewel', 'Duel' & 'P-Machinery' will - if you like synth-pop. Having listened to the Human League, Heaven 17 & New Order, A Secret Wish immediately stands out because of its industrial edge - it adds a different dimension to synth-pop which even today (over 20 years after it was released) sounds good and fresh.

I must admit I have bought albums on fragile foundations before (i.e. little or even no research into the albums' tracks) and sometimes it has been to my cost but like (and I will admit, luckily!) most albums I've bought this way, A Secret Wish has rewarded me. Satisfied? That's an understatement!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly nice sound, questionable choice of bonus tracks, pretentious quotes in the notes, the answer to the questions..., 5 Feb 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Secret Wish [25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition] (Audio CD)
So how many copies of this album did you buy before this came out?

This CD pulls together the mixes from both the original vinyl and CD versions of the album and is good enough to point out some differences between the more subtle remixes.

The main sleeve notes perhaps continue the crusade to make Propaganda seem dark as perhaps do the the tired old religion/science disc titles taken from the text on one of the 12" sleeves. There is some interesting info in the main body, but what was more satisfying to me was the section from Ian Peel who curated the collection giving some interesting info about the different mixes.

The CDs are also refered to in the sleeve notes as "Beauty Love and Danger" and "Repetition Plus Variation" which works much better for me.

The sound quality was a really nice surprise - particularly on disc 2.

Bonus tracks:

Disc 1 contains the original CD sequence and then tags on the different mixes that appeared on the original vinyl. Very neatly fills up the CD to within a few seconds shy of 80 mins. The CD version of Dream Within A Dream seems to be the better of the two - even down to the slight pause between the initial question (more later) and the start of the instrumentation. Was Stephen Lipson unhappy with the original mix and decided to give it another go, or was Paul Morley up to his tricks? I don't know. Still you can easily make your own decision now.

Disc 2 is a mish mash of rarities, previously unrealeased tracks and for some reason part of the Wishful Thinking album which seems a waste.

1) Do Well - the cassette single of Duel/Jewel

Yeah, so it was one side of a cassette, but as others have noticed it's five seperate tracks. It would have been nicer to have separeted these out to bear more repeated listening of certain sections. I quite like Bejewelled (part 5) which is the two versions cut alternately throughout the track. Works for me, but again would have preferred it as a seperate track.

2) Testament One

About 75 seconds of a keyboard riff in Duel. Not essential, surprising hard (for me) to sing along with.

3) Die Tausend Auden Des Mabuse (previously unreleased)

- which answers the question: "Why did the 13th Life Mix fade out in such an odd place?" The answer is this mix which is essentially the 13th Life Mix not fading out at the odd place but continuing for just over 3 minutes. It continues as a remixed, but not extended version of the standard track so makes it a bit repetitive as a couple of the verses are heard more than once. Track sounds nicer than the faded 12" though.

4) Sorry For Laughing (Unapologetic 12")

- this track is a more interesting inclusion for me in that it is an outtake from the Wishful Thinking album. It is a difference mix to the version that made the album. It has its moments, and oddly includes a limeric about a man from Hong Kong (not a highlight for me.) There is at least one clumsy edit (a bar too early on the cut in I think) and it goes on a bit for my liking.

5) Thought Part I
6) Thought Part II

- seemingly pointless inclusion as these two tracks are the last track from Wishful Thinking split into the main body and then the brief p:Machinery reprise. Why waste the space? This might have allowed room for another outtake or at least the b-side Mabuse material and the Femme Fatale link which have yet to make it to CD as far as I'm aware.

7) p:Machinery (Goodnight 32)

- apparently previously unreleased, but as someone else has stated this sounds just like the beta wraparound 7" mix. Haven't compared closely.

8) The Chase (the Goodnight Mix)

- also previously unreleased, couldn't tell the difference on a straight listen. A brief comparison seemed to sound SLIGHTY different, but if you can't tell straight away that implies it's not a great find, doesn't it?

9) (Echo of) Frozen Faces

- don't like this track. Musically much more interesting and rewarding than the lyrics for me.

10) p:Machinery (p:Polish)

- is that Polish as from Poland or polish as in shoe? I like this standard 12" mix a lot. Seems the least satisfying single for me brought the best 12" mixes. Includes the neat reprise that was not included at the end of the beta mix that appeared on Outside World.

11) Testament Three

- not much over twenty seconds long. Contains a fade up on a piano section from The Murder of Love and then a crash from Jewel.

Take off the two Thought tracks and there's ten minutes space that could have been used for either more outtakes or the "still not on CD" material.

So how about Wishful Thinking getting a remaster with bonuses, eh?

THE ANSWER TO THE OTHER QUESTION:
Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream? No. It's not.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars i thought it couldnt get any better!!!, 8 Jun 2006
By 
Mr. Nathan Armstrong - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Secret Wish (Audio CD)
having bought the album on vinyl and then the cd when i bought i cd player the sound difference was amazing....20 years later i have moved on to the sacd version and it is truly stunning!!!!

the album was a classic when it was released and still ranks amoung the best albums of all time...the songs are magnifent and the production is truly amazing!!!

the sacd version takes the whole album to a new level of enjoyment. fantastic vocals...amzing orchestrals....it has blown me away!

i think the only think to buy a sacd version for is if it sounds better and you hear things that are lost...this delivers..you listen and think that never sounded so clear before and i never heard that before!

if you have an sacd player this is a one must for you......its what they where made for!
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Propaganda - A biographical review, 15 April 2004
By 
This review is from: A Secret Wish (Audio CD)
Propaganda was a mid 1980's electro-pop group based in England, comprised of Claudia Bruecken, Susanne Freytag, Ralph Doerper, and Michael Mertens. 1985 saw the release of Secret Wish, their magnificent debut album for the ZTT records (also home to Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Art Of Noise). The best album cuts in my opinion are the upbeat and melodic song P. Machinery (P for perfect), the melancholic number Dr. Mabuse, and the haunting opus, Frozen Faces. The fantastic medley of the songs Relax (Frankie's staple) and P. Machinery, by the Italo disco group P4F was an effort not unknown to many in the Euro disco scene of the time. Unfortunately though, after releasing a remix album later in the same year, the group split apart and the members set to pursue their own musical projects.
In one front, Claudia Bruecken --the lead Propaganda vocalist-- remained with the ZTT records for releasing "Laughter, Tears, and Rage" (1988), a splendid electro-pop effort in collaboration with the instrumentalist, Thomas Leer. Later on in 1991, Bruecken also released a solo album, but as far as I know since then she has been quiet in the recording business. On other fronts, while Ralph Doerper returned to Die Krupps (his former electro-industrial outfit) for their late 80's collaboration with Nitzer Ebb, Michael Mertens recruited two former members of the Scottish supergroup Simple Minds, and a new female lead vocalist, Betsy Miller, for the 1990 release of "1234" (also under the name Propaganda). I am not aware of many Susanne Freytag solo projects except for her vocal role in "Spirit Feel", a 1995 techno/ambient album. There has been talks about a possible Propaganda reunion, but unfortunately as the time of this writing, the reunion hasn't been materialized.
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A Secret Wish [25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]
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