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Best of the Alarm

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Audio CD, April 4, 2006
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 4, 2006)
  • Original Release Date: 2006
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Capitol
  • ASIN: B000EHQ7ZG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,658 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Sixty Eight Guns [single version]
2. Spirit Of '76
3. Rain In The Summertime [single version]
4. Strength [single version]
5. The Stand
6. Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke? [single version]
7. Majority
8. The Deceiver [single version]
9. One Step Closer To Home
10. Presence Of Love
11. Sold Me Down The River
12. Rescue Me (Tearing The Bonds Asunder Mix)
13. Absolute Reality [single version]
14. Unsafe Building (live at The Gathering, 2001)
15. Knocking On Heaven's Door (live in Boston, MA, 1985)16. Walk Forever By My Side
16. A New South Wales
17. Love Don't Come Easy
18. Blaze Of Glory [alternate version]
19. 45 R.P.M. (Never before released in the U.S.)
20. Superchannel (New song- never before released in the U.S.)

Editorial Reviews

This compilation contains the band's UK hits and singles including '68 Guns', 'Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke', 'Sold Me Down The River', 'Absolute Reality', 'Rain In The Summertime' and 'Strength'. In addition there are some of the band's more mellow and best-loved album tracks including, 'Walk Forever By My Side' and 'One Step Closer To Home' Hailing from Rhyl, North Wales, Mike Peters, Eddie McDonald, Dave Sharp and Twist were The Alarm - one of the most powerful and popular rock bands of the 1980s. Often described as the new U2, the band recorded five studio albums for IRS and spent 8 years touring and gained a massive fan base along the way. Capitol. 2006.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Tim Brough TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 8, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Like many of the post-punk bands to spring up in the wake of The Clash and U2, The Alarm pounded out revolutionary anthems that boiled over with angst and purposeful sounds. The sound, early on, was all acoustic, but the songs were roaring forces with big meaty choruses. They even refered to their works as recordings of "electric folklore." "68 Guns" and "The Stand" (inspired by the Stephen King book, no less), were undeniably catchy songs, and the bands' earnestness was infectious. Problem was, they were constantly walking in the shadow of U2 (try not to think of Bono and his gang when listening to "Strength"), and the comparisons were deserved. Like Bono and the boys, the best of the Alarm's work sounded out calls to arms with a questioning conscience. The albums were frequently uneven affairs, with Mike Peters' reach often exceeding his grasp. Even with that in mind, the members of The Alarm were great musicains. Drummer Twist, bassist and songwriter Eddie McDonald and guitarist Dave Sharp combined chops and energy to make The Alarm always come across as dramatic and passionate.

It's also why this collection punches harder that just about any Alarm album. With the exception of "Strength" and "Eye Of The Hurricane," most full length Alarm's efforts were madly uneven. But all these albums were worth holding on to for the extraordinary singles. The Alarm was defiantly into big statements; just listen to how many times words like hope, faith, strength and spirit pop up in the lyrics, and also note how many of these songs are about the confrontation of authority and agonizing over the potential conforming of their young lives.

The Alarm was also a killer live band.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jason W. Bellenger VINE VOICE on September 26, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I cannot believe that none of the reviews yet have commented on the audio upgrade here! I'm probably in the minority here, but if a collection has brilliant sound that stands above the rest, I'm more inclined to give it a favorable review even if the tracklisting has some flaws. Some fans are complaining about the use of edits here, but I'm actually happy to have them here since these are often the versions heard on the radio and included on the singles. If I want album versions, I listen to the albums. Keep in mind, as well, that this 2006 Capitol/EMI release clocks in at over 76 minutes of playing time with a total of 21 tracks. Perhaps another 3-minute track could have been squeezed in and yes, a number of singles are missing. Yet, how many compilations include such a generous tracklisting?

Prior to this collection I was quite unfamiliar with much of The Alarm's back catalogue. In fact, I only recognized a few songs here and there from the tracklisting -- that is, until I actually heard the songs. I discovered a number of gems that I had completely overlooked or had only heard a couple of times as a child. While I cannot comment on every track here and argue over tracks included versus those not included I can comment that the collection as a whole works very well, highlighting a number of the band's single and b-side material from 1983 - 2006.

The 24-bit remastering by Robert Vosgien @ Capitol Mastering Studios is the main reason I bought this release. It is brilliant! In fact, I wasn't going to buy this release until I saw Vosgien's name listed in the credits on an online site. The drums are loud, punchy, and crisp. The guitars and vocals are clean and soar.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Ross on July 3, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a terrific album from a band that many Americans have never heard of. Great lyrics, stirring guitars, and passion are served up in equal measure by Mike Peters and co. A great buy for seasoned fan and Alarm newbie alike!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Timothy P. Young on July 16, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In many ways, the 80s were a singles era. While it's true that great albums were being produced by people like U2, Springsteen, Jackson, Costello, et al, a lot of the great songs of the 80s came from short-lived bands that pumped out a few albums with a few great songs on each. The Alarm, as good as their album output may have been, never made much of a splash in the US, and therefore, the best way to remember them for the fan of the 80s is via this collection.

In an early profile, Rolling Stone called them 'like the Clash, but with acoustic guitars'. That's true, to some extent. There's definitely a Clash influence on tunes like the anthem "Sixty-Eight Guns." But other influences abound as well--Springsteen on "Spirit of 76," Stephen King on "The Stand," and so on. They also carve out their own sound on my own personal favorite Alarm song, "Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke?"

But the Alarm isn't some cheap pastiche of 80's rock and new wave. Mike Peters and company put together a stew of the above influences, a very distinct lyrical style, and cap it all off with that distinctive 80's production sheen--big drums, echo-y background vocals, and a remarkable sincerity and earnestness that's often lacking in today's music.

These songs serve as a great reminder of what was good about 80's music--the best bands could carve out a niche for themselves, remaining distinct while staying within the 'sound' of the era. These are big songs, friends. Big anthems, big vocals, big meaning. Other highlights on this collection include "One Step Closer to Home" and "A New South Wales.
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