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Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Extreme Dark!
on 2 March 2012
They say a picture paints a thousand words... Well, the front cover of 'Crush' depicts the perfect description of this excellent album. If I had but one word to describe the album, it would be 'Dark'. Many will know the opening songs - 'Secret' and 'So In Love'. Often featuring on OMD's 'Greatest Hits' albums, these tracks are typically representative of OMD's mid-Eighties offerings (excellent rhythm and melody, fantastic use of instrumentation and lyrically very strong). "Heaven's cold without any soul; It's hard to believe I was so in love with you". This album is at its most effective when the listener is feeling particularly emotional - it provides all the answers in an almost sinister, atmspheric form.
A recent life experience complements the perfect review of this album. In late 2009 I met a young lady and we became very close friends - over the coming months (moving into early 2010) I fell helplessly in love with her. I do not love easily, and this experience was new to me. Sadly, the girl in question did not feel the same way. We had some epic times together as friends, but the whole experience literally turned my World upside down. Enter 'Crush'. Despite being launched before I was born, the album could have been written for me.
'To Hold You' is written from the perspective of a man in the shadows - having to helplessly watch the object of his desire entering into destructive relationships with others. The song has some very moving lyrics over a lovely melody. 'Bloc Bloc Bloc' is a heavily synth-laden song depicting an air of frustration. '88 Seconds...' and 'The Native Daughters of the Golden West' are rock-style guitar tracks, powerful and emotive. The title track, 'Crush', can be best described as an OMD offering in the style of some Seventies alternative acts, such as 'Yes' and 'The Sensational Alex Harvey Band'. The song has a very dark overtone (the sound of the rain notwithstanding) - the song seems to preview a surrender of the situation ("Rain, rain, Go away, I couldn't take this one more day"). It is unlike anything you will have heard before. My favourite song has to be 'La Femmme Accident'. This is written about the girl. She is a femme fatale - unreliable, uncaring, self-centred... but at the same time irresistable. "She clings to your heart, She won't let you depart, Oh, this is mine, But she's with you all the time, She's crying like some fragile child...", "She's paradise for a day". The song is vastly different to the 12" version; it takes a completely different overtone. Finally, "The Lights Are Going Out" is the height of melodramatisation. Surrendering to the situation - "I can't see me with another girl, As everything slows down across the World".
Anybody who has ever fallen helplessly in love will relate to this album. It happens to us only once in a lifetime, and this album still takes me back to the summer of 2010. I bought the album two years ago and, judging by its limited availability, I now get the impression that it is becoming a rare classic. I would urge any fan of synth or alternative music to buy it. If you like your song lyrics to have meaning, and address an often overlooked, dark side of relationships, buy it. If you like OMD, you will not be disappointed. Finally, if you are experiencing unrequited love, buy it right now. "The lights are going out..."