on 10 February 2011
Mention the heady chart success that the ZTT label enjoyed with Frankie Goes to Hollywood in the mid 80s to some people and they will say "ah yes, but the jewel in the crown was Propaganda". While Frankie's "Welcome to the Pleasuredome" debut sounds a little tired these days, Propaganda's "A Secret Wish" remains one of the best albums of the 80s. Lead singer Claudia Brucken left after that album to form the criminally over-looked ACT with Thomas Leer, then had a solo album before being dumped by Island (ZTT's parent label) in the early 90s. She went on to record with Paul Humphries from OMD, guested on Erasure's Andy Bell's solo albums, teamed up with the Heaven 17 guys on their recent Penthouse and Pavement live outings and also guested at the Billy MacKenzie memorial gig a few years back. So it's fitting we get a retrospective of her varied work that covers most of these areas. Propaganda's main hits are included, of course, but it's a pity we get the poor single release of Act's "Absolutely Immune" rather than the far-superior album version. Also, the 12" version of "Kiss like Ether"
with it's Tangerine Dream-like synth intro would have been better than the album version, which plods along a bit, but these a minor gripes. But a word of warning: I find different tracks on the CD and the download/Spotify versions of this album. The CD contains tracks from her solo album on Island, Love and a Million Other Things such as the singles "Absolut(0)" and "Kiss Like Ether", also the duet "Delicious" with Andy Bell from his first solo LP "Electric Blue". The download and Spotify playlist contains instead of these tracks the fabulous "Augenblink" (credited to CB with Oceanhead), "Unknown Treasure" (with Blank and Jones) and Propaganda's cover of the Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale" (originally the b-side of the "Dr Mabuse" single). I assume the differences are due to publishing conflicts, rather than some sly record company trick to make us buy the damn thing twice.