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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early 90s classic seeing the light of day again
Those who had been in thrall to Propaganda's "Secret Wish" album were eager to see what Claudia Brucken did following the brief flourish of Act in 1988. The answer was this classy album that married Claudia's clear, classy and unique voice to some dark, danceable pop, courtesy of producers Pascal Gabriel and Steve Nye.

The music is pitched somewhere between...
Published on 24 Sep 2010 by not_a_real_folkie

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strong album, but get the remaster (not the original CD)
Strong pop outing which showcased Claudia's vocals beautifully, but also alienated some of her early fans.

The copy I have is the original CD, and to be honest the vinyl sounds crisper! I haven't heard the remastered double set, but suspect it is worth the extra pounds if you want the best version to listen to.
Published on 4 May 2012 by M. B. Wilson


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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early 90s classic seeing the light of day again, 24 Sep 2010
By 
not_a_real_folkie "not_a_real_folkie" (Farnham, Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Love: And A Million Other Things (Audio CD)
Those who had been in thrall to Propaganda's "Secret Wish" album were eager to see what Claudia Brucken did following the brief flourish of Act in 1988. The answer was this classy album that married Claudia's clear, classy and unique voice to some dark, danceable pop, courtesy of producers Pascal Gabriel and Steve Nye.

The music is pitched somewhere between the brooding electronics of Electribe 101, the teutonic detachment of Propaganda and the tight dance-pop of Vogue-era Madonna (not likely to be a popular comparison, I know, but I'm thinking more of the arrangements and production than Claudia's vocals). Where other artists have mined the tension between a highly emotional soul/blues-influenced female vocal and cold electronica (e.g. Yazoo, Eurythmics, the aforementioned Electribe 101), this album subverts the genre by marrying Claudia Brucken's almost icy vocal style with slick, programmed backings but emotional and confessional lyrics.

The project was a commercial flop on its release in 1991, possibly due to the choice of lead-off single, "Absolut(e)". Far from the strongest song here, I can only think that someone pictured a club full of frugging young persons, who would subsequently rush out and buy the song the next day; it's certainly not a fair representation of the rest of the album. Follow-up single "Kiss Like Ether" was massively better, but by that stage Island Records seem to have gone off the boil and, anyway, there was probably a new U2 album to level the balance sheet.

Overall it's a strong album and has dated well (at the time I recall it sounded overly 'bassy' and a bit muffled compared to the production sparkle of "A Secret Wish", but it sounds fresh 19 years on). The songs are wistful and yearning, but with a constant undercurrent of danceability. The closing "Surprise" even ropes in the avant-garde Bow Gamelan Orchestra, which producer Gabriel tamed using rudimentary sampling and tape-splicing, to construct a rather sinister, ever-growing rhythmic contraption around Claudia's siren voice. I've eased away from 5 stars only because of Absolut(e) and the nagging suspicion that Claudia's songwriting was at its best when she had Michael Mertens as a foil in Propaganda.

Having said that, the bonus mixes and B-sides are, in fact, exceptionally good, and the Electrical Embrace mix of Kiss Like Ether is outstanding, mixing shifting, scurrying eddies of synth under Claudia's slower-moving vocal as the song builds. I always loved 'Whisper' (which was the B-side of 'Absolut(e)' and the most Propaganda-like song here), and it could easily have been included on the main album.

The re-issue project was overseen by Ian Peel, who also 'curated' (his term) the recent 25th anniversary edition of "A Secret Wish". He gives a full account of how the CDs were mastered, all from digital master tapes apart from two obscure 12-inch mixes on Disc 2 (the Bastille Mix of Absolut(e) and the Earth Mood Magic in a Present Tense mix of Kiss like Ether) which were mastered from vinyl, since the original tapes had gone missing. Peel even reports rummaging through Pascal Gabriel's DAT locker and Claudia's personal collection in his attempts to find the master tapes - some dedication to duty! The CDs were mastered by Ken Peel and he seems to have done a very good job of keeping faithful to the original mix and opening up the sound nicely. No in-yer-face maxxed-out compression job here.

A fitting treatment for this long-awaited re-issue, and the 2nd instalment in a very good year for Claudia fans. We just need someone to re-issue "When Your Heart Runs Out of Time" (perhaps as a download), and I'll be back in Brucken heaven!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Album You Never Heard..., 29 Jan 2011
By 
djessie (Reykjavik, Iceland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Love: And A Million Other Things (Audio CD)
I had never heard anything from this singer (or so I thought) when I bought a used copy of the original release of this album last summer. I bought it on a hunch, and boy was I not sorry! Even though it is 20 years old, this album has stood the test of time - an amazing feat for a dance based record from the early 90s. The album still manages to sound fresh and different. Every track is fantastic, although for me the standouts are the single "Kiss Like Eather", "Moments Of Joy" and the stunning "Surprise". You can literally hear the influences this album has had on a lot of albums that were to follow from other female artists.

After buying this album, I found out that I had heard her in Propaganda (I vagely remembered "Duel") and on the first solo album from Andy Bell. I have since bought the fantastic re-release of the Propaganda album, the original singles of "Absolut(E)" and "Kiss Like Ether" - and of course the re-release of this album! It is a most welcomed release - the sound it better, the bonus CD is a great thing to have and the booklet has some additional pictures and new liner notes (which include fascinating insights into the recording of "Surprise"). The back cover is different to the original release - my only complaint is the front cover, which looks like a bad (way too dark) copy of the original cover.

Next month will see the release of the first ever compilation from Claudia. The first single from it, "Thank You" is a fabulous proof that Ms Brucken has not forgotten anything. A great song, fantastic vocals - one can only hope that this compilation will be the start of more to come. Until then, "Love: And A Million Other Things" remains her only solo album to date. I urge everyone to check it out - because it truly might be the best album you never heard. Thank you Claudia!
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From Under the Shadow of Dr Mabuse, 5 Aug 2010
This review is from: Love: And A Million Other Things (Audio CD)
Claudia Brucken, lead singer of Propaganda and subsequently Act, had an impossible task making an album that would live up to the massive success of her former ZTT debut with Propaganda's 'A Secret Wish'. I remember being a bit underwhelmed when I first heard the lead single, Absolut(e), but I was not a big fan of the early '90s dance music, 2D when the mid-80s stuff had been so 3D. When she was recording the album, I read a brief interview, perhaps in Melody Maker (?) in which she stated her intention to name all the tracks with one word titles, but somewhere during the process she must have changed her mind, I thought, on the release of the second single, Kiss Like Ether; much better than Absolut(e), reminiscent of Duel, and just as good a pop song. The album was a bit disappointing at the time, just not as dramatic as I was expecting, and reviews were not enthusiastic either, causing this record to sink without trace. But as the years passed, I found myself listening to this album a lot, and I now appreciate the wonderfully spacious and smooth production, the surreal influence on the songwriting, and the very catchy pop hooks. Love: and a Million Other Things has definitely improved with age (as has Act's Laughter, Tears and Rage). I love that the reissue Cherry Red looks like it has put together includes a few mixes from the vaults that weren't available on the CD singles at the time, and I am about as excited about this release as I was when I saw Cherry Red were reissuing Helen Terry's Blue Notes album. I suspect nostalgia has something to do with my joy at these releases, but I would warmly recommend this album to anyone - it is unique and full of excellent songs - it just needed that one killer classic to elevate it to the iconic status of A Secret Wish.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars xero(x) art direction, 28 Sep 2010
By 
Mark (Copenhagen, Denmark) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Love: And A Million Other Things (Audio CD)
I agree totally with the other reviewers how wonderful it is to have this album out again with all the b-sides and remixes while we wait for Claudia's next moves...

I won't comment on the music, we all know and love it, but while the booklet has a nice addition, and a couple of arty photos from The Douglas Bros. i just cannot understand why this classic and classy album is being released in a sleeve that looks like a dark bad photo copy of the original cover!?

5 Stars for the music, but shoot the art director, please!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Propaganda it isn't but still great..., 2 April 2013
By 
David Renfrew (Argyle, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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A great mix of eighties dance / neu romantic tracks, A pity there wasn't more promotion for this at the time as it is a great underrated release. Kiss LIke Ether still stands out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love that should have sold A Million Other Things..., 22 Mar 2013
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And would have done, were the music business a bastion of fairness and equality, but sadly, though music was at its best in the 80s, a virtual brick wall of old standing kept women from being leaders, even though they equalled the men in the quality stakes, yet once the omnipresent nightmare of greed and exhibition that is Madonna mushroomed into being, women no longer needed to be talented or worthwhile to 'sell' a record, as the S/A/W boom of Kylies and then the absoulte dearth of talent from both sexes once the 90s took hold-something that has carried on to this day-continues to show. You just have to be a slut. But equally bad was the main fact that no European act was of any consequence to a label when home-grown talent (or lack of) was the best sell to the UK/US mainstream, and old prejudices die hard. Claudia was given, initially far more push then the even better German twin force of male band Alphaville and German's actual Queen of Pop since 1985, Sandra Cretu were, but even then, Trevor Horn abandoned her group Propaganda instantly once his silly Frankie Goes To Hollywood vehicle took hold, and ZTT Records themselves were criminally fleecing them out of every small cent they made, so she extricated herself as soon as possible. Her absence seemed unending (though she made a record as the duo Act in 1987), but in 1991, this solo piece, now well restored by Cherryredrecords, deserved far more push than it got from the world.

Clearly the mainstream could accept no more long-term Europeans then the cynically highly welcomed twin clout of A-ha and Roxette, but the best three German acts ever continued successfully alongside them, even if only in other markets. There's no doubting the class and sophistication of Claudia's tracks, but the avante garde approach does need time to acclimatise too over the more easy listening enterprise favoured by some. It's a record not quite up there with the majority of Kim Wilde, Bangles, Alphaville and Sandra albums, but it's a far better bet than the heavily instrumental indulgence but lyrically rather deficient 'A Secret Wish' by Propaganda. This is a full album of songs for a start, not just eight, with plenty of vocals. The choruses aren't multi-stranded but they're good and three songs-the rise and falling sweep of the excellent 'Unforgiveable', intense challenge of 'Fanatic (The Nail In My Soul)' and all-round accessibility of the straightforward yet special 'Love: In Another World' are absolute masterpieces, and would have made great singles. Of the two known singles, 'Kiss Like Ether' usually gets the vote over 'Absolut(e)', but I agree only if I can delete the album version over the "As Pure" single version-track 8 on CD2-because it doesn't try the patience with over two minutes of barely intelligible chanting to put you in a doze. 'Absolut(e)' may not have the best chorus for some, but is a catchy and intoxicating song, and many of the choruses on this album are one line repeated twice in any case, the kind of Annie Lennox way, but without the mudanity. The album itself is cheekily titled: love is mainly the topic, over anything else, but it is the way she does it that counts.

Post-80s albums are seldom fresh as this this, though 'Kiss Like Ether' smacks heavily of Donna Summer's 'State Of Independence', 'Always...' could easily be a Sade number, and the space-age sheen and industrial noises of closer 'Surprise' bring to mind OMD and Kraftwerk at once. 'Baby Sigh' and 'Moments Of Joy' have a laid-back charm, livelier moments like many already named and 'Suicide: Song For A Ghost' ensure something for almost every palette. The second disc catches the different mixes of the two singles, plus 2 b-sides that didn't make the album for good reason. They're okay, just not all that, and the first one goes on too long with little musical change. But they add nicely to the unalbumed songs she's made over the years (see her recent-ish compilation 'Combined' for a clearer tracklist). Suggested third single 'Fanatic' has no other versions here, but this long-awaited re-release from cherryred will please most everyone, especially those who've only heard Claudia whenever the radio emits 'Duel'.

Just like the Kim Wilde, Duran Duran and Bangle's debut album reissues, the mastering isn't perfect, the clarity seems muffled in places, and there's also static and rather abrupt fades, but that won't detract from a classy and individual lost album finally back out on release. You get the usual booklet with some lavish photography and a historical document of the album's construction, including a few complimentary reviews from journos, who chauvanistically ignore the fact her true contemporaries like Kim Wilde and Sandra had been on top of the partially electronic game ever since they appeared, only mentioning a few male ones. But put this reocrd on and see how it rips the Kylies and Madonnas to pieces (not actually hard). And S/A/W would kill for 'Love: In Another World', only in another world, they'd hopefully never have been born, and a million other things.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strong album, but get the remaster (not the original CD), 4 May 2012
By 
M. B. Wilson "crushtrash" (Bristol) - See all my reviews
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Strong pop outing which showcased Claudia's vocals beautifully, but also alienated some of her early fans.

The copy I have is the original CD, and to be honest the vinyl sounds crisper! I haven't heard the remastered double set, but suspect it is worth the extra pounds if you want the best version to listen to.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SEVERAL KEYS TO WHY THIS IS GREAT!!!, 21 Sep 2010
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This review is from: Love: And A Million Other Things (Audio CD)
The producers with whom she worked including Pascal Gabriel and more importantly Steve Nye (who worked both with Japan and David Sylvian). Remember that Sylvian had turned down producing the DUEL album for Propaganda (according to the sleeve notes on the SECRET WISH re-issue).
So, unsurprisingly on the Nye produced tracks we have Steve Jansen (Sylvian's brother and frequent collaborator) on drums. He brings those tunes alive with his subtle percussion; I'll scream this from the rooftops.....the man is the greatest drummer around today and this album lives by those tracks, the Gabriel stuff is good, but Nye makes her shine brilliantly.....this album is a classic and I've re-ordered this edition even owning the original.
Do likewise (and let's hope for more from Ms Brucken)
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of My Favourite Albums from the whole British Popular Music 1990's period., 24 Jun 2014
By 
R. Howard "grandprize" (London,uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Love: And A Million Other Things (Audio CD)
Claudia Bracken's 'Love: And A Million Other Things' is one of my favourite studio albums from that whole 1990's popular music period.
All the songs are of the highest vales of song- craft and studio production.
As far as etherealness in popular music goes, on this album; Claudia Bracken gives Kate Bush a run for her money. There is a uniqueness to Claudia Brucken in her creativity that no other female popular singer has.
Pascal Gabriel's production on this album is some of the best ambient dance production that I have ever heard on a studio album release.
BUY, BUY,BUY TODAY!
You will not (for a second) be disappointed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars an old love, 10 Feb 2011
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M. Brasse (Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Love: And A Million Other Things (Audio CD)
Being an old Propaganda fan of the early ZTT days I hated the second Propaganda album. Since it's release I've searched for this solo-album by Claudia Brücken. It contains nice 80ties pop with an artistic plus. Not the total masterpiece I hoped for but clearly much better then avarage. Pitty it didn't do better commercially then but at least we can now buy the reissue. Highly recommended.
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Love: And A Million Other Things
Love: And A Million Other Things by Claudia Brucken (Audio CD - 2010)
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