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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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VINE VOICEon 1 March 2004
Infected is a musical masterpiece, and a joy to listen to many years after its original release date. For those of you unfamiliar with Mr Matt Johnson et. al. this is the album that you should buy first. From the opening of 'Infected' you are taken on a journey of discovery until all the tracks are your long lost friends, ingratiating themselves with ease and sticking in your mind (and your heart).
Everything is covered - politics ('Heartland' ,'Sweet Bird Of Truth'), sex ('Out Of The Blue (Into The Fire)'), religion ('The Mercy Beat' - this song is arguably the finest of a very fine collection indeed).
Not a filler track in sight here. To quote Matt Johnson (albeit from a different album insert!):
"To obtain maximum pleasure & effect from this album please play VERY LOUD!, VERY LATE, VERY ALONE.....& with the lights turned VERY LOW!!!
Pure unadulterated genius.
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'Infected' was the great follow-up to 'Soul Mining'; originally released in 1986 it found Matt Johnson embracing the world of pop music with his atypical dark lyrics...The best version of 'Infected' is included here- the sound of synths is a cross between 'I've Been Waitin' For Tomorrow' & Foetus's 'Nail' album. This song is a dark ode to dark times- capturing the darkness instilled by AIDS & Cold-War amongst other concerns. Strange that the guitar is as funky as a Scritti Politti record & the song has a trumpet solo!...'Out of the Blue (into the fire)' is one of Johnson's finest songs- a dark poppy ode to the emptiness of sex with a prostitute- the strings at the end are heartbreaking...'Heartland' was the breakthrough single, carrying the same message (but not simplistic sloganeering) as New Model Army's '51st State'. Johnson took a look at Thatcher's Britain & saw what was to come: "the piss stinking shopping centres on the new side of town". This captures the world that Radiohead seem to protest against today- the piano is fantastic here- almost as good as 'Uncertain Smile'...'Angels of Deception' is probably the weakest track here- moving from Ennio Morricone soundtrack to the slightly overproduced...'Sweet Bird of Truth'is the classic song it always was- very sinister- like Cabaret Voltaire's 'Yashar' sung by Tom Waits circa 'Rain Dogs'. It concerns US vs. Islam notions of war- so sounds very relevant today...'Slow Train to Dawn' is a funky as Cameo duet with a then unknown Neneh Cherry (Rip, Rig & Panic weren't on the level of 'Buffalo Stance')- this takes Johnson's usual sexual concerns to an almost conventional place...'Twilight of a Champion' is co-written with Roli Mossimann (Wiseblood, Young Gods, Foetus)- & sounds like a blend of 'Enter the Exterminator' & Spear of Destiny's 'Never Take Me Alive' (apologies...). It's much better than it sounds! & a precursor of 'Good Morning Beautiful' on 'Mind Bomb'...The final track is 'The Mercy Beat'- we move from atmospheric guitar to an industrial beat & pulsing horns. Matt tells us about his Faustian-pact & one of the finest albums of the 80's is concluded (almost). Just after 'Mercy Beat' we get a short-ambient instrumental which is very Eno...The extra tracks on this used to be 12"versions of 'Infected', 'Sweet Bird' & 'Slow Train'. Now, apart from the improved sound, we get the b-side of 'Infected', 'Disturbed'- a mad barrage of percussion reminiscent of Cabaret Voltaire's 'Ghost Talk' or the conclusion of 'Giant'. Pity other b-sides like 'Flesh & Bones', 'Harbour Lights' & 'Born in the new SA' were not included...This album shows that you can write great pop songs with the darkest lyrics & refutes the cliche that the 80's were all vacuous & Spandau-esque.
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on 18 January 2001
Infected--the single and album sold well in the UK in the mid-80's--but this old VHS is a real triumph in the face of 80's music videos, or, hell, even today's music videos. In fact, make that ESPECIALLY in face of today's.... The video interpretation of "Slow train to dawn" alone is worth it, but Matt's clever (okay, been done before, notably Springsteen's Pink Cadillac album) but subtle repetition of catch-phrases gives the album a thematic point of view not seen since the Pink Floyds et al of the seventies. But the sound is definitively Matt Johnson, extending the solitary despair of Soul Mining and Burning Blue Soul into more of a cumulative culture growl at the moon: "I sold my soul to pay for my dinner, my body grew fatter as my heart grew thinner," "I asked the angels for inspiration but the devil bought us all drinks--he's been buying them ever since," and "if I acted like someone else I'd be more comfortable with myself..." Wow. I at least lived it at the time--and then some. Maybe you are now... an eye-opener.
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on 3 June 2004
Each song is immensely strong but if Infected, Heartland and Twilight of a Champion don't immediately get under your skin, well, you're just not human. It's almost 20 years since I first heard this album, and snatches of the lyrics still pop into my head at odd moments.
The track list for this version doesn't list the extra 12 inch mixes that I have on my CD, but even if this only includes the nine original songs, you're still getting great value. This album will become part of the furniture in your head.
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on 5 February 2016
Superb cd remaster of one of the best albums from the 80's.
I owned this on vinyl when released in 1986 altough
it's been many years since I last heard having sold my vinyl ( something I will always regret) sometime in the mid 90's,
but 30 years on and the cd remaster ,(minus the 3 12" tracks from the original ) loses none of it's hard hitting appeal.Sound quality is excellent, far better than the original cd version which like most cd's from the 80's sound flat and muffled in comparison.
For 3 quid new at time of purchase an absolute bargain.
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on 11 February 2014
When he wrote the words "This is the land where nothing changes" I don't supposed he really believed it, but these songs are fresh as the first bloom of the fury that spawned them. Really nothing changes, Sweet Bird of Truth, Heartland. The sax intro to Sweet Bird still blows me away, crank it up loud in a really good pair of head phones.
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on 4 January 2014
It's difficult not to give 5-stars to an album I loved so much through the '80s and which still sounds outstanding today on any medium. But...back then I believed in much of the sentiment voiced throughout songs like Heartland and Slow Train to Dawn and now quite frankly I .....sort of don't. Infected is still an outstanding opening track on a cracking album but it must say something (though I'm not sure what) that Sweet Bird of Truth, the one track I didn't like much back then, is now most definitely my favourite. I suppose we all change a bit with time and a great album will always be just that (my15 year old son has downloaded it onto various bits of technology that I don't understand and is avidly introducing Matt J to his mates) but listening to Twilight of a Champion and not getting all deep and thoughtful was a bit of an eye opener to the way we all move on.
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on 24 May 2009
Infected" She was lying on her back with her legs parted sqrealing like a stuck pig, I was going through the motions rolling out emotions writhing around like a lizard on a stick" (apologies M Johnson if misinterpretation!). This album became the soundtrack to 1986, replacing the banal dronings of hair metal and clipped and equipped funksters! This album is in fact the only thing that mattered way back when we were 16, Matt taught us adoilescent angst and whe our parents and teachers said "no" Matt said "YES YES YES", as a musician one could rattle on for hours about Johnsons vocals etc etc but that just would be missing the point, this album is genre creating as well as it is destructive to the genre at the time, Matt told us to question, question and question, The The were more punk than the sex pistols and the clash........... "Here comes another winter of long summers and high hopes"
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on 3 September 2012
Matt Johnson is angry.In fact he's as furious as a motherf****r but he's not predjudiced both the British and American governments are treated equally.
He needs to make a new CD because a lots happenned since Infected.The expenses scandal,the bankers in both the U K and the U S,the border controls,the shocking treatment of troops in Afghanistan,the Hillsborough Cover Up,the release of the Lockerbie Bomber.
Gordon Brown has got off lightly and David Cameron is not fit for purpose
And that's just the tip of the iceberg
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on 20 May 2008
I'm not a big fan of the eighties but two things that left an indelable impression on me were Infected by The The and Tin Drum by Japan.

Infected HAS to be initially listened to whilst watching the video. The combination of both is so powerful. A true pioneer of the video album. I wouldn't call it a concept album but there are definitely 'threads' and themes that give it the feel of a complete piece rather than a collection of videos.

This should be on DVD!
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