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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly very good!
Always loved OMD back in the day. In fact they were the first band I ever went and saw live . Was well into them, up to and including Dazzle Ships, I thought they were fantastic. If they'd split or died after Dazzle Ships, people would hail them as the english Kraftwerk, what a loss to music etc. As it was, they got poppier, hit paydirt in the US, and for my mind got...
Published on 9 Feb 2011 by Paulie T

versus
13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you want it...??
It is quite surprising the amount of reviews posted here that criticise certain tracks yet still give "History of Modern" 5 stars. Each to their own, of course.

The album opener, the racing "New Babies: New Toys" gets the heart pumping with McCluskey's raw vocals criticising the X-Factor era that we are currently living through and gives hope for high quality...
Published on 24 Sep 2010 by Black Sabriah


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly very good!, 9 Feb 2011
This review is from: History Of Modern (Audio CD)
Always loved OMD back in the day. In fact they were the first band I ever went and saw live . Was well into them, up to and including Dazzle Ships, I thought they were fantastic. If they'd split or died after Dazzle Ships, people would hail them as the english Kraftwerk, what a loss to music etc. As it was, they got poppier, hit paydirt in the US, and for my mind got far less interesting. I still loved the early stuff a lot, and saw them on tour couple of years ago. Got free tickets to see them at the BBC Radio 2 live at the Mermaid theatre last week, and was blown away by their and the crowd's enthusiasm. I'd listened to a few of the songs from History of Modern on line, and decided to buy it after the Mermaid gig. I am not disappointed. This is a return to the kraut-rock/electro influences of yore. A couple of patchy tunes, but that would be quibbling. Well worth getting. Excellent return to form.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WELL worth the wait!, 21 Sep 2010
This review is from: History Of Modern (Audio CD)
There's been a recent resurge of electronic music in the past few years which is definitely not a bad thing, especially for someone like myself who, at a very young age, got turned onto the best of the best in the 80's...OMD. They churned out an impressive number of hits both in their original lineup and also when Andy McCluskey went solo with the name. But alas, music changes and what was once "in", got pushed out for a new phase and sadly, by the mid 90's, OMD disappeared....until now.

14 years is a long time and a lot can happen but founding members Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys have found a way to bridge the gap of time and produce what could arguably be called one of their best albums of their career. Offering a hybrid of new and old sounds, this gem is likely to not only please the long-standing fans but grab a whole new generation who, perhaps unknowingly, have been listening to OMD through influence in bands such as The Killers and LCD Soundsystem.

Opener NEW BABIES: NEW TOYS comes rearing out of the gate with a 'take that' attitude. It's edgier than what many think or remember OMD sounding but easily fits into todays mainstream with its bombastic bass, distorted vocals and heavy, head-bopping beats. It's followed by first single IF YOU WANT IT, a song written originally by Mr. M. in his girl band Atomic Kitten era. But filled with a catchy melody and choral "aws" it works, much in thanks to the retention of his valuable vocal quality at the ripe young age of 51!

HoM PART 1 and 2 are definitely OMD in their "pop hits" area and PART 1 is, in my opinion, OMD at their best. Mr. H.'s synths, earlier described as 'call and reply' play well with Mr. M.'s addicting refrain, laced with lovely harmonies. I challenge anyone to try sitting still for this one!

SOMETIMES is a slower, groovy number with additional vocal samples of Jennifer John to help get across the message of despondent love, while RFWK is one of a couple Kraftwerk-ish songs but rightfully so since it's a tribute to the band and their influences on both Mr. M. and Mr. H. With touching offerings displayed in lyrics "I loved you when I found you, I loved you like a son" all draped in synthetic, almost whiny keys, it makes one wonder just where these two would be in life had they not been in the crowd at the Kraftwerk show as teens!

And then there's NEW HOLY GROUND! This is a definite tear-jerker of a song. It begins with the sound of a woman's high heels hitting the ground as she paces the floor; an absolutely striking element to the song that repeatedly paints a vivid image to match the songs theme of profound self reflection and renewal. Add in deep, cello-like tones and an achingly beautiful single key melody, along with vocals that crack with emotion and you've got one of the most moving songs on the album! (Plus the fact that it was created in literally hours is just proof of the magic these two can do when put in a room together.)

THE FUTURE, THE PAST, AND FOREVER AFTER is a quirky little disco ditty that screams Georgio Moroder and could definitely get a dance floor going in both a retro and a modern club. SISTER MARIE SAYS, by Mr. M.'s account, was a song shelved way back in the early days for sounding too much like Enola Gay but given new life with modern technology, it's much like the HoM's, good ol' OMD synth-pop!

PULSE, ah, PULSE....yes well, to put it mildly, it stands out. It's a song that is probably the farthest from OMD than any can be and will cause many (including myself)to blush or drop the jaw because of its, shall I say 'adult' nature. It's filled with deep, seductively breathy vocals from Mr. M. with an almost equally alluring female backing track, all layered over an irresistible dance beat. What's not to like?!

After that, the cd takes a slower, more 'back to the beginning' approach. GREEN is in the realm of NHG with it's achingly divine melody and lyrical content that gets matched by Mr. H.'s, captivating instrumentation that includes rippling keys and a steady pound. BONDAGE OF FATE is, in many ways, more enthralling than Green or NHG; for some reason it just mesmerizes me. Maybe it's the waltz-like rhythm, or the woman's babbling or the choral sounds...all together it's just wonderful! And THE RIGHT SIDE?, well this is another treasure and a great way to round out the album. Giving one final nod to Kraftwerk, it's plinkering keys and ambient chorals easily make the 8.17 minute song flow by.

I rarely find a cd that doesn't have at least one song I don't like on it but can honestly say I like, and in more cases than not, LOVE the songs here. From a long-standing OMD fan, I am giddy with this return and think even newcomers to the world of OMD will embrace the caliber of the music on the release. A definite 5 stars from me!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful return, 27 Mar 2011
By 
M. Sandèn "Syntrobot" (Sweden) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: History Of Modern (Audio CD)
I couldn't believe when I first heard it. The original OMD is doing a new album! And what a beautiful album it is! 13 new tracks that won't disappoint any old OMD fan. Electronic pop at it's best. It's a wonderful mix of the best of the 80`s with a new, modern sound. It's crisp and delicate. For me the album was topped off with a perfect concert in London nov -10.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History of Modern - OMD, 26 Mar 2011
This review is from: History Of Modern (Audio CD)
An absolute classic OMD album and probably the best I have (and I have them all).

You can clearly hear songs harking back to other older OMD tracks, but have brought some of the sounds up to date, clearly the history of OMD has become modern.

Not a single bad song on the album, which you'd expect after such a hiatus, but even if you don't like OMD, just have a listen and then buy. If you are an OMD fan, and you haven't bought it, why not!

Thank you Andy and Paul!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like they have never been away...but better!, 19 Mar 2013
This review is from: History Of Modern (Audio CD)
If you liked OMD in the 80s, you should know that this album surpasses most of their output to date, saving Joan of Arc and Souvenir of course. Lyrically strong and technologically bang up to date. Tracks 'If You Want It', History Of Modern Part 1 and New Babies New Toys' and Sister Mary Says' are all lead tracks - 'Pulse' is irritating but catchy. The artwork is also extremely strong. Have pre-ordered the new CD out in April.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Great Pop/Alternative, 7 Oct 2012
By 
Dale Green (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: History Of Modern (Audio CD)
I first discovered OMD in 1980 and still the music generated today is still fresh.From start to finish it is immediately recognisable as OMD but still new. History of Modern Part 1 has the music you just can't resist listening to then before you know it you get to RFWK/New Holy Ground which is like going back in time to those early years. Just great. Can't wait for more!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History Repeats Itself, 10 July 2012
By 
J. Ritchie (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: History Of Modern (Audio CD)
Having been a fan of OMD since 'Electricity' and 'Messages' I was disappointed with how they declined after 'Dazzle Ships'. Then there was a a long break and then they re-formed.

Re-formed bands rarely produce any worth listening too so I didn't buy this album immediately.

However, over time, this album got good reviews and, on the strength of this, I bought the album. I'm so glad I did. This is almost classic OMD and a great return to form.

If I was to characterise this album I'd say 'Organisation' meets 'Dreaming'. The sounds are more mainstream than early OMD, as are the lyrics, but there's an edge that cuts in some of the lyrics. There's a lot of catchy riffs, some haunting atmosphere, a track meant for a girl band, and a touch of the weird and wacky that OMD delight in confusing us with.

If you remember 'Souvenir', 'Enola Gay', and 'Joan of Arc', then this album won't disappoint.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't mind the BBC review too much (as fan of OMD), 2 Jun 2012
This review is from: History Of Modern (Audio CD)
History of Modern for me means a successful return and one of OMD's best albums in years. I really don't understand all the bickering by the likes of the BBC (only if you're some kind of Architecture&Morality orthodox).

Anyway I really felt convinced and enthralled from the start. So good in fact, that I'd like to give a brief song by song run-down.

"New Babies: New Toys" starts off quite harsh and well, it has vindictive lyrics by Andy McCluskey (against the music industry), a strong bassline remotely reminiscent of certain New Order/Joy Division tracks, various effects (distortion i.a.) and some nice synth melodies (the verses I like better than the slightly pompous chorus though).

"If You Want It" was the first single from the album; I like the beautiful verses (music, beat and singing), but find the chorus a bit overblown, more reminiscent of the likes of Tears for Fears, e.g. "Seeds of Love" (as I also like TFF, this is not really a bad thing).

"History of Modern part I" for me is the first highlight of the album; it's a driving song with a strong synth-bass and drum(computer)beat, beautiful arrangement and a catchy synth hook interchanging with Andy's theatrical vocals; to me this songs sounds like an updated version of certain A&M tracks.

the second highlight "History of Modern part II" follows suit: it has a brooding atmosphere (some kind of reflective melancholia), throbbing synth/sequencer lines and Andy's emotive lyrics (about some kind of vague but relentless fear or desperation); the chorus I find a bit overblown again (not as much as on "If You Want it" though).

"Sometimes" by comparison is only a mediocre track; I surely like Andy's vocals in the verses (again about some kind of unremitting fear or loneliness); but the female vocals in the chorus sound corny and mildly annoying; the music I find okay in both parts.

"RFWK" obviously is a tribute to one of their heroes, Kraftwerk (kind of overdue, since already in 1983 they had a tribute for their other icons NEU); the music, among it some catchy hilarious synth hook, is really strong and beautiful (machine music with heart and soul), and Andy's vocals are heartfelt and full of sincere gratitude for his idols.

snippets of interviews suggest "New Holy Ground" was some kind of throwaway track - if that's true, then it's surely the kind of throwaway thing I like(!): pure brilliant OMD minimalism, Andy's strongly emotive and reflective lyrics, and a beautiful minimalist synth string/mellotron arrangement, accompanied by some well-placed female footsteps as an unusual percussive element.

"The Future, The Past, and Forever After" is comparably weak, quite a long and straight-forward arrangement with nothing strongly engaging (as on the likes of "New Holy Ground"); this is also arguably the 'coldest' song of the album, with the sequencer-bassline and synth choir sounding more the likes of Pet Shop Boys than real OMD.

"Sister Marie Says" finds OMD at brilliance again: it sounds like an updated version of "Enola Gay", and a well done update at that, with some catchy synth hooks, propelling bass and drum(computer)beat, and Andy's theatrical picturesque vocals, implying some kind of cautionary tale, like on "Enola Gay" (this time loaded with religious imagery instead of warfare though).

"Pulse" is a nod to the likes of Lady Gaga and naturally a far cry from being a favourite; only interesting thing to me is that it displays some kind of particularly sleazy or sensual side of Andrew McCluskey.

"Green" is a much stronger effort again, it has some kind of powerful synthbass line, a subtle synth chime played at the beginning and the end, and of course Andy's reflective, careworn vocals (again about some kind of everlasting and excruciating fear - 'once again that dread' - being the third song with such topic).

"Bondage of Fate" sounds like a washed out or laid-back affair (again reminiscent of certain Tears for Fears stuff, this time "Woman in Chains"); it heavily uses samples of another song by a different (female) artist and appears comparably bland (when compared to other tracks); the music and singing is fairly beautiful nonetheless, and I really do like the strong, dramatic instrumental climax towards the end.

"The Right Side?" is another Kraftwerk tribute and a decent closer to the album; the music during verse and chorus are really strongly reminiscent of certain Kraftwerk tracks, particularly "Europe Endless" (the choir effects and sequencer lines), and the instrumental interlude towards the end sounds like OMD have taken a cue from Kraftwerk's most recent album (to date) Tour de France Soundtracks; it's nice, but goes on a bit long at the end and nearly overstays its welcome (I wouldn't have minded a bit shorter edit); plus, I find that the lyrics somehow don't fit to the Kraftwerkian mood of the song (about some kind of failed relationship, something Kraftwerk would never sing about in this directness, but then again OMD are not Kraftwerk; just find them lyrics not fitting to the music).

All in all, I find History of Modern a successful and convincing return to erstwhile songwriting greatness after many years of idleness and recess. It may not reach the heights of Architecture&Morality or Organisation, but it's surely as good as, if not better, than anything that came after Dazzle Ships. Only reason I give this four stars (not five) is because it's not as coherently marvellous from beginning to end as Architecture&Morality, and A&M (in comparison to HoM) is still clearly superior in my opinion (after all these years).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars new material is always welcome., 29 Jan 2011
By 
B. J. Morris - See all my reviews
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This review is from: History Of Modern (Audio CD)
With omd back together we can see music going over a generation and is obvious at any omd concert. I do welome new omd music and thought the history of modern 1 and 2 really stood out for me. They may not be the hits or singles but sort of got me thinking yes this is the omd i know. Sister marie says is a single and really the whole history of modern project if thats what you may want to call it dosnt loose its omd sound. Do you know the experience of buying a new album from one of your favourite musicians and you put it on and you say 'eek is that really them.' You wont get that here. The dvd is not all that exciting but is a welcome freebee that contains studio work ,interviews and the words to the music as it plays sort of thing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old and new, 27 Dec 2010
This review is from: History Of Modern (Audio CD)
Opening track 'New Babies: New Toys' is a rocking anthem that immediately sets the tone for what is to come: a mixture of rockier and poppier songs and a mix of old and new OMD. Lead single 'If You Want It' is actually the most disappointing thing here for me; mellower than the preceding track it is also significantly less interesting, while the two part title track 'History of Modern' is more akin to vintage OMD, Part I in particular, with its Telegraph-esque synthesizer riff and pulsing bassline. Track 8: 'The Future, The Past, And Forever After' is the album's bombastic high point, whilst 'Sister Marie Says' sees the duo return to the type of bland chart pop they produced regularly in their fallow mid-80s period.
Overall though this is a CD of consistently well-crafted synth-pop, and a welcome return for one of the 1980s' most interesting and original bands. The retro packaging (complete with LP style track listing) is the icing on the cake, and the bonus DVD provides insight into the re-formation of McCluskey and Humphreys' original lineup and their attempts to return to the sound they pioneered all those years ago.
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