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4.6 out of 5 stars
A Secret Wish [25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
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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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 7 October 2005
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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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2006
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
on 20 July 2010
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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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2010
"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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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 9 April 2002
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 5 February 2011
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?

Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream? No. It's not.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
ZZT Records had great success in the 1980,s with Frankie Goes To Hollywood but after journalist Paul Morley had signed the group to Trevor Horns label it was Dusseldorf band Propaganda who made the finest album ever to be released on it. A Secret Wish released in July 1985 does,nt quite encapsulate Morley's vision of the band as a twisted version of Abba but their stentorian fusion of synth-pop , electronic funk and neo-classical futurism sounded thrillingly contemporary ( It has also dated very well) and had tunes that would crack a titanium walnut.
The band had already released the single "Dr Mabuse" (Named after a character in a Fritx Lang movie) which had reached no 27 in the U.K. charts before the release of the album and while its inky black rhythmic arrangement and juddering keyboards gave a delicious portent of what the album would be like , only a true psychic could have envisaged some of the delights A Secret Wish would unfurl.
The follow up single the magnificent "Duel" took the band into pop territory though it retained the trademark plump bass lines and dynamic stabbing keyboards. Lyrically "Duel" was an altogether darker beast with its chorus about "You start bleeding , i start screaming". The lyrics were down to "conceptualist" Ralf Dorper who operated strictly behind the scenes , never touring or appearing live with the rest of the group.
Final single "P Machinery" is in truth one of the albums weaker tracks , though that's weaker in a comparative sense. Certainly when you put it up against "Sorry For Laughing" or "Murder Of Love" where the keyboards attain a real cinematic gleam it palls slightly. Opening track "Dream Within A Dream", "Jewel" and the closing "The Last Word/ The Strength To Dream" are more extended instrumental work outs that occasionally approach ambient( "The Last Word " is an instrumental remix of "Dr Mabuse") with their appropriately reverie like tones and textures. There are spoken passages ( "The Strength To Dream" ,s opening line is from the Edgar Allan Poe poem "Dream Within A Dream") but unusually for spoken passages they never skirt the edges of the ridiculous.
A Secret Wish is not only a hugely enjoyable album but surreptitiously an influential one as well. It,s in many ways a perspicacious progenitor for the dance music that would become so popular in the late 80,s / early 90,s. Certainly i can hear their influence on bands like Underworld, The Disco Evangelists, Fluke and Leftfield. The band continue on in various forms till this day , even appearing together on German TV in 2007 performing an edited version of "Dr Mabuse". As i alluded earlier it still sounded like the future now. Looks like that wish came true.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
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 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 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2010
As they say on the sleeve notes, THERE IS NO CAUSE FOR CONCERN!...but like many Propaganda/ZTT enthusiasts over the years, I would guess, there has been a teeny-weeny concern over whether there was something missing from the collection like, say, another 12" mix of Dr Mabuse (which may or may not be THE definitive and best, who knows?)) or whether or not there's a version of "p:Machinery" which continues after the fade of "p:Polish" (which there isn't, trust me, I bought 'em all....even the Complete Machinery has a fade too!).

This is, of course, EXACTLY the type of concern that oh-so-clever Paul Morley at ZTT endeavoured to cause you, the 80s pop fan, by inventing those elusive, confusing and misleading catalogue lists in the smallprint upon the record sleeve ie. Action Series, Incidental Series, that each new release (whether it be FGTH, Art Of Noise, Propaganda et al) would form a part of and would draw in the completist collector as well as the sonic enthusiast like myself who just simply wanted ever more of that distinctive ZTT/Horn cinemascope 12" mix sprawl.
The concern with these lists of course was that the releases wouldn't necessarily be in order ie. this is No.12 on the Action Series list etc. (wha??), and as it was pre-information age/internet days, there was no eagle-eyed geek out there to help me find out whether or not I was any nearer to completing the set. Certainly no average recordbuyer could afford it all (I was lucky, I waited and bought up armfuls of it at car boot sales in the 90's...ha ha, take that, Morley!!) but whether it was business genius or artistic smugness or even a self-parodying joke about the whole opulence of it all, the apparent presence of those 'lists' seems to signify perfectly the essence of the eighties as much as a Propaganda keyboard-funk bassline.

Years later, those ''causes for concern' are now being relaxed by ZTT's 'kindness' in, at last, letting us have an even fuller picture (and with it a fuller collection) by providing us with this 25th Anniversary repackage/remaster and 'all bells and whistles' release of 'A Secret Wish'.
I've listened to it, enjoyed it....and I agree with much of the positive comment that has been said....BUT I would also stress to anyone serious or mad enough to care that the collection of 12" mixes and alternative versions of tracks from 'A Secret Wish' were brought together much more convincingly for the briliant double-CD release of 'Outside World' a few years ago. It is even more essential and better compiled in my opinion.
I, too, find it noticeable that the weaker mixes and versions tend to involve Paul Morley, the art critic/journalist whose responsiblities with Art Of Noise (seemingly to contribute some textual and conceptual weight) spilled over a little too often into being allowed near the mixing desk. I wasn't a fan of 'Wishful Thinking' where his production credit is featured quite dominantly) and it's a small minus point to this new package that his presence is rather evident on Disc Two here....(I suspect it was Paul Morley's idea to 'cut'...ho ho ho, yes I get it, Paul...between Jewel and Duel in the 'Do Well' long mix).

My other 'concern' is that the longer mix of 'Dream Within A Dream' has been favoured at the start of Disc One whereas the shorter, smarter and more beautifully made shorter version is track flipping 10! I can understand why from a certain point of view but, after all the myriad of extended mixes of Mabuse, Machinery etc. have come and gone, it has to be said 'Dream Within A Dream' is the absolute, consummate production jewel itself in Propaganda/Lipson's work and that original vinyl/cassette mix that I heard at the time is the finest. The lavishly reverberant opening trumpet dovetails/melts into the vibraphone and marimba, followed by the slowwww addition of percussion over several minutes allowing space for Suzanne Freytag's reading of 'Poe' to be heard clearly and precisely until the tumultous drum roll on 'while I weep' and the introduction of the first SNARE hit which always last...the backbeat is rooted down into the groove. Just genius. When I bought Secret Wish on CD in 1994-ish (having worn out my cassette copy and was enticed enough to upgrade it from the vinyl), that was luckily the version I got again....and, maybe I'm not alone, I wish that that was seen as the definitive version for posterity's sake.
But, gripes aside....of course, this is Propaganda's 'A Secret Wish' in glorious form and overall then, still a must-have.
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