Electronic ‘Electronic (Special Edition 2013 Remaster)’ (EMI)

The original is a classic, but this ‘Special Edition’ is nowhere as special as it should have been

Remasters reschmasters. What’s not in doubt is the quality of the 1991 debut album from Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr. Essentially, Electronic were New Order with a better guitarist… and when Neil Tennant was in the room, a better singer. No offence Barney, we’d listen to you sing the Maccy D menu, but facts is facts. 

The original album still sounds as thrilling today as it did on release, with nary a duff track in sight, although the baggy shuffle of ‘Feel Every Beat’ does sound dated now. But heck, Marr’s guitar riff is a corker. So what are we doing with a 2013 remaster? It’s the same songs, right? Maybe it’s to do with making it sound good for people who spend £160 on those Dr Dre headphones they then plug into mobile phones. Or maybe it’s all about the ‘Special Edition’. That’s the bonus disc to you and me. Bingo. 

“You must think / I’m a fool,” sings Barney on ‘Twisted Tenderness’, the title track to the THIRD Electronic album and featured here on the aforementioned Special Edition of ‘Electronic’, their FIRST album. Did no one notice? And it appears here not once but twice, for reasons further unfathomable. The same unfathomableness goes for ‘Turning Point’, the B-side to ‘Second Nature’… from the SECOND album, ‘Raise The Pressure’. Ditto ‘Until The End Of Time’, co-written with Kraftwerk’s Karl Bartos admittedly, but again from ‘Raise The Pressure’. Then there’s the seven-inch version of ‘Disappointed’, which is no stranger to Electronic fans, what with it being a single. We do like the karaoke, sorry, instrumental version of ‘Getting Away With It’ and the 12-inch cut of ‘Idiot Country’ is corking, but we’ve got that on, well, on 12-inch.

Generally, unreleased stuff is unreleased for good reason, so why haven’t EMI just put together a disc of the best bits? The excellent ‘Second To None’ from the flip of ‘Feel Every Beat’ is actually here (although we’d rather not have an edit), but there’s no sign of any of the superb remixes of ‘Getting Away With It’ or ‘Get The Message’. 

Therein lies the rub. See, this isn’t aimed at newbies, it’s aimed squarely at fans, collectors, purists, who incidentally aren’t going near this with your bargepole let alone their own. They’re going to be, already are if you look online, hopping up and down cross at this daft extra disc. There’s nothing, literally nothing, here than anyone other than a total mentalist, sorry, completest would actually want.

We’d bet chocolates and crisps that Sumner and Marr have been nowhere near this. Surely if they were involved, as would have been sensible, we might have got something worth having. Demos, outtakes, sessions, re-recorded versions. It could have been something really worth shouting about. As it is, we’re just shouting at it. 

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