60 ALBUMS @ 60 : #50


Electronic – Electronic (1991)

Collaborations don’t work.

The sentiments of a tongue-in-cheek song by FFS in 2015….FFS, of course, being the ‘supergroup’ formed by Franz Ferdinand and Sparks.

Musically, such coming togethers should be a disaster, with too many egos likely to get in the way.  It wasn’t the case in December 1989, when Bernard Sumner, Johnny Marr and Neil Tennant came together to record and released the sublime single Getting Away With It.  

The music press would provide the occasional snippet of information that plans were in hand for further collaborations under the Electronic banner, but the longer the time passed the more it felt, to those on the outside, that the egos were probably getting in the way. It wasn’t until April 1991 that we next heard from Electronic, with a single which blended the most wonderful things about New Order and The Smiths:-

mp3: Electronic – Get The Message

One month later, the debut album, which included Get The Message, but not Getting Away With It, hit the stores.  As someone who thought the world of Barney and Johnny, I rushed out to pick up a copy.

It hardly left the CD player for about a month.  I also made a copy onto cassette so that the album could accompany me on the daily commute to and from Edinburgh.  And later in the year, shortly before Christmas, when they played a very rare live show at the Glasgow Barrowlands, I made sure I got there early to be right at the front, worshipping literally at their feet (Johnny’s in particular).

I know I came to this album pre-judging that it would be nothing short of a triumph.  There were even occasions as I played it so often in 1991 when I thought it was better than anything else either of the two main protagonists had been involved in.  I really did consider it to be a perfect record.

Time has passed, and my initial giddy excitement has dissipated slightly.  I still love and adore the debut Electronic album, but I do fully accept and acknowledge that the protagonists have made better, more influential and more enduring records. Spoiler alert – this isn’t the last time Barney or Johnny or Neil appear in this rundown.


7 thoughts on “60 ALBUMS @ 60 : #50

  1. Loved this album when it came out, seemed like one of the perfect record for 1991- some of the songs have stood up well, but it sounds weirdly tinny listened to now- a bit brittle, needs more bass. But great songs not least Get the Message. I saw them at Heaton Park that summer, the Cities in the Park mini- festival, Johnny and Barney cool as fuck and Neil and Chris joining them for Patience of a Saint. Hooky played earlier in the day with Revenge, like a cross between NO and Sisters of Mercy. I like some of the Revenge stuff now, 7 Reasons is superb, but there’s now doubting Bernard won this particular war.

  2. I loved both singles unreservedly but I didn’t get the album. I was struggling to think why until you mentioned the release date, May 1991. I was travelling around Australia at the time, still a few months away from coming home. When I eventually did, a combination of re-entering full-time education, living back home with my parents and having very little money meant that my record buying was pretty much limited to bargain basement 12″ or secondhand albums. Electronic sadly fell through the cracks and I’m ashamed to say I’ve still not listened to the album in full to this day. Great post though, JC!

  3. Khayem – You think that you have a good excuse for not hearing this album?! I have all four Electronic CD singles from this album campaign, including the sublime “Disappointed,” and why have I never picked up the album? I really have no excuse, other than cheapness! When I saw Johnny Marr on the “Messenger” tour, I was pleased that “Getting Away With It” was a highlight of his encore.

  4. Chaps- if I may say so, apart from the singles, Tighten Up, Reality, Patience of a Saint and Some Distant Memory are all worth the price of admission.

  5. I tried to like it but to be honest I don’t think I could get past the fact that it wasn’t New Order

  6. By the time New Order managed to follow up “Technique,” I was beyond caring. I ended up enjoying The Other Two and Electronic [but not Revenge] more than anything I’d hear from New Order going past 1989. Like TVLKING HEVDS ca. 1983-1988. The solo material was better for me.

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