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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WELL worth the wait for this one!
There's been a recent resurge of electronic music in the past few years and though it's stayed mostly in UK/Europe and hasn't crossed the pond to the states yet, hopefully with this, the first OMD album in 14 years, that will quickly change! 14 years is a long time but founding members Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys have found a way to bridge the gap of time and...
Published on September 28, 2010 by rockgirl

versus
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not so dark and moody
While I appreciate all of OMD's material, I have a deep and special fondness for their sparse, highly-textured and dark, pre-"Junk Culture" (1980-1983) songs. Only one track approaches that terrain on this release, "New Holy Ground". A few of the tracks sound too recycled as well, especially "Sister Marie Says", which sounds too much like "Enola Gay". If you're only into...
Published on November 1, 2010 by Etienne Genest


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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WELL worth the wait for this one!, September 28, 2010
This review is from: History of Modern (Audio CD)
There's been a recent resurge of electronic music in the past few years and though it's stayed mostly in UK/Europe and hasn't crossed the pond to the states yet, hopefully with this, the first OMD album in 14 years, that will quickly change! 14 years is a long time but founding members Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys have found a way to bridge the gap of time and produce what could arguably be called one of their best albums of their career. Offering a hybrid of new and old sounds, this gem is likely to not only please the long-standing fans but grab a whole new generation who, perhaps unknowingly, have been listening to OMD through influence in bands such as The Killers and LCD Soundsystem.

Opener NEW BABIES: NEW TOYS comes rearing out of the gate with a 'take that' attitude. It's edgier than what many think or remember OMD sounding but easily fits into todays mainstream with its bombastic bass, distorted vocals and heavy, head-bopping beats. It's followed by IF YOU WANT IT, a song written originally by Mr. M. for one of his past girl bands. Filled with a catchy chorus and choral "aws" it works, much in thanks to the retention of his valuable vocal quality at the ripe YOUNG age of 51!

HoM PART 1 and 2 are definitely OMD in their "pop hits" area and PART 1 is, in my opinion, OMD at their best. Mr. H.s synths, earlier described as 'call and reply' play well with Mr. M.s addicting melody, laced with lovely harmonies. I challenge anyone to try sitting still for this one!

SOMETIMES is a slower, groovy number with additional vocal samples by Jennifer John to help get across the message of despondent love, while RFWK is one of a couple Kraftwerk-ish songs but rightfully so since it's a tribute to the band and their influences on both Mr. M. and Mr. H. With touching offerings displayed in lyrics "I loved you when I found you, I loved you like a son" draped in synthetic, almost whiny keys, it makes one wonder just where these two would be in life had they not been in the crowd at the Kraftwerk show as teens!

And then there's NEW HOLY GROUND! This is a definite tear-jerker of a song. It begins with the sound of a woman's high heels hitting the ground as she paces the floor; an absolutely striking element to the song that repeatedly paints a vivid image to match the songs theme of profound self reflection and renewal. Add in deep, cello-like sounds and an achingly beautiful single key melody, along with vocals that crack with emotion and you've got one of the most moving songs on the album! (Plus the fact that it was created in literally hours is just proof of the magic these two can do when in a room together.)

THE FUTURE, THE PAST, AND FOREVER AFTER is a quirky little disco ditty that screams Georgio Moroder and could definitely get a dance floor going in both a retro and a modern club. SISTER MARIE SAYS, by Mr. M.s account, was a song shelved way back in the early days for sounding too much like Enola Gay but given new life with modern technology, it's much like the HoMs, good ol' OMD synth-pop!

PULSE, ah, PULSE....yes well, to put it mildly, it stands out. It's a song that is probably the farthest from OMD than any can be and will cause many (including myself)to blush or drop the jaw because of it's, shall I say 'adult' nature. It's filled with deep, seductively breathy vocals from Mr. M. with an almost equally alluring female backing track, all layered over an irresistible dance beat. What's not to like?! ;o)

After that, the cd takes a slower, more 'back to the beginning' approach. GREEN is in the realm of NHG with it's achingly divine melody and lyrical content that gets matched by Mr. H.s, captivating instrumentation that includes rippling keys and a steady pound. BONDAGE OF FATE is, in many ways, more enthralling than Green or NHG; for some reason it just mesmerizes me. Maybe it's the waltz-like rhythm, or the woman's babbling or the choral sounds...all together it's just wonderful! And THE RIGHT SIDE?, well this is another treasure. Giving one final nod to Kraftwerk, it's plinkering keys and ambient chorals easily make the 8.17 minute song seem to flow by in a smooth, relaxing way.

That leaves us with SAVE ME, a track added onto the American release and chosen to be the first single. It's a mash-up between Aretha Franklins Save Me and OMDs classic Messages. It begins with a computerized Messages entrance followed by a voice announcing "electronic, solar music" and that pretty much explains what comes next. Mash-up is a perfect word for this dance hall, hip, and carelessly fun song.

I rarely find a cd that doesn't have at least one song I don't like on it but can honestly say I like, and in more cases than not, LOVE the songs here. I'm a longtime fan of OMD so was hoping for a cd I could casually enjoy while rejoicing in the fact they even reformed and made an attempt at new music. INSTEAD, I got HoM, an absolutely brilliant piece of work that shows these guys still have it and can stand up to any of their counterparts (and surpass them imho). I think even newcomers to the world of OMD will embrace the caliber of the music on the release. Don't look at this as a 'come back album' from 'an 80s band' because it's so much more than that! It's proof that Mr. M. and Mr. H., who both really never stopped working, can still create wonderous pieces that stand the test of time and conform to the musical world of today while retaining the elements that ARE OMD. And with the addition of remaining original members Mal Holmes and Martin Cooper and talks of possibly yet another album to follow, I hope to say these guys are here to stay! A definite 5 stars from me. Welcome back boys!!!
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing return to form after so many years, September 28, 2010
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This review is from: History of Modern (Audio CD)
When I first heard OMD was releasing a new album I was excited, as I'd been happy with the past few albums under the guidance of Andy McCluskey - knowing I'd rather have a solo OMD than no OMD. When I heard this new album was going to include all four original members, I was ecstatic.

What they've achieved with History of Modern is not only a wink to their past, but a foothold into their future. Saying this is their best album in a few decades is accurate in the way that "Yes" was the best album in a few decades for the Pet Shop Boys. It's a return to form. It's a collective example of how a band can use the sounds they've created over the years and breathe new life into them. It's a difficult task for most bands and could have been an uphill battle, but for History of Modern it sounds easy. It sounds natural.

Songs like "HOM Part 1", "The Right Side" and "New Babies : New Toys" are absolutely euphoric and beyond anything I'd dreamed imaginable. Others such as "HOM Part 2", "Sometimes" and "If You Want It" are songs that any other band would kill to have in their arsenal of music. Catchy and unforgettable, the songs on HOM are also the best produced I've ever heard from OMD - the production is flawless. No rush job here.

With that, I'd say 60% of HOM is outstanding. Pristine pop with one foot planted firmly in the electronic maturity of it all. Another four or so songs are amazingly well crafted and break up the ear candy just enough to let your feet relax and appreciate the depth that this album has to offer. There are a couple tracks that are slow growers, but hey, that's the truth with almost every album - but having a 13-track album of this quality from OMD in 2010? Unheard of, until now. No complaints.

What I like most about this album is that OMD have created something that has been needed from them - a benchmark to reflect upon everything they've released in the course of their career while looking forward. Knowing that History of Modern is THIS good, makes me all the more excited as to what the follow up will sound like, as surely this can't be their last album. I'm hoping in many ways this is a new beginning.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely well worth waiting for, October 10, 2010
By 
Vicky Welsby (NSW, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: History of Modern (Audio CD)
Way back in the 80s whenever I bought a new album, I'd play it to death and drive everyone insane I'd play it so much. I haven't done that in many a year......until now! If I could give this 10 stars, I would. I just LOVE this album. From the stunning, stunning ballad "Green" which sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it, and the beautiful "Bondage of Fate" to tracks like "Pulse" (the adult nature of which, I have to admit, was a bit of a shock at first!) with its infectious beat. I've been a fan of OMD for over 30 years and I've always loved their instrumentation, and this is no exception, it's superb. I absolutely love every track and just can't decide which one is my favourite. This is OMD doing what they do best, they've gone back to their electronic roots instead of trying to be mainstream. I've only got one tiny, tiny gripe and that's that Paul doesn't do any of the lead vocals at all. But still, this album is BRILLIANT. I've no idea what that BBC reviewer on Amazons UK site was listening to, but he sure wasn't listening to the same album as I did. Well done OMD and welcome back!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I shouldnt have worried, November 16, 2010
This review is from: History of Modern (Audio CD)
I must admit I was more than a little worried when I heard that OMD were going to release a new album. I was quite happy when the miracle of the band reforming took place and they toured successfully playing their old stuff....safe ground, but a new album? OMD, the band of my youth, the band I grew up loving, OMD, the first concert I took my wife-to-be to, OMD, the band that I loved to listen to, even on the 90's when they had gone out of fashion. OMD, the band who's lead singer Andy McCluskey I had based my 80's haircut on. I am sure you get the idea, no, what I was nervous about the most was a new album dashing all of those fabulous memories of my formative years by being a shadow of their former selves........need I have worried so much? NOT ON YOUR LIFE, the album is a fantastic reflection on the early years.....no it's more than that, it is simply an EXTENSION of the early years with a modern twist, I love it!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm blown away!, January 3, 2011
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This review is from: History of Modern (Audio CD)
I've been an OMD fan since I got the "Best of" in 88'. I've bought every disc since along with everything before and was excited to discover they had a new one out. After getting it and discovering it was the original guys back together made it even better! I am definitely blown away by the sounds they've created here. These guys write with huge depth and build songs that are catchy and beg to be listened to. I love the layers of synthesizers and am having a hard time getting past the first 5 songs on the disc. The 2 History of Modern concept songs are brilliant! These guys are true to form on this recording and it should please any OMD fan!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Album, November 3, 2010
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This review is from: History of Modern (Audio CD)
Must confess to ordering this with some trepidation. OMD were one of my favourite bands from the 80s and I have been disappointed too often by continuing to buy albums based on a band's output from some 25 years previous. Not the case here. This is an excellent CD and, whilst being instantly recognizable as OMD and offering nothing radically different from the best of their past, it still manages to sound remarkably contemporary.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding return to form, April 17, 2011
This review is from: History of Modern (Audio CD)
The day I bought the History of Modern in the music store, I was in the mood for some synthesizers. I am sucker for them, but it took me a while to decide on what to get. I wanted to get something I didn't have. I was afraid of getting OMD's newest album because of fear that it would sound half-hearted, but I was astounded by how good it was.

I have the cd on repeat and even copied it to my Hi-MD minidiscs, my preferred medium in uncompressed pcm. All I have to say about the album is that side one is the smoothest. The second side starts with "The Future, The Past, and Forever After", which I had to get used to, but it segues to the wonderful "Sister Marie Says".

'Pulse' is another one that takes time to digest. It's not for everyone. The rest on side two is great. I love the last three tracks. Of note is that the U.S. release that I have has an extra track 14 "Save Me" with Aretha Franklin. The song does stick out because it doesn't sound like the others with only Aretha Franklin singing, but hey it's Aretha Franklin. How could you not love her. Actually with that bonus track it segues quite well to the first track when on repeat.

With this album I can not believe how they sound. They sound as if no time has passed since their heyday. I needed to take a double take.
I love this album because they are not trying to be modern. The inside sleeve has an interesting lesson on the history of modernism. I love the whole concept.

I find it funny that people of my age in their twenties listen to bands that sound like OMD and call them innovative, fresh, new, modern. But if they listen to the originals like OMD they would call them dated and so 80s. I hate that. OMD is awesome and I highly recommend this album. I would say that I love 95% of the album. The rest I will get used to. I can't wait till I love 100% of the album. I am getting there. But loving 95% of the album from the first listen means a lot. Not many album are like this.
It is a great new beginning. I hope more comes from OMD. Maybe they'll be like the Rolling Stones playing till god knows when.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best 80's Comeback Ever!, September 30, 2010
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This review is from: History Of Modern (MP3 Music)
If you are a fan of 80's music or just love great dance-pop, do not miss this one. In my humble opinion it is the best work OMD has ever done. It's as though they have taken their classic synth-pop sound and updated it with a bit of an influence from contemporary electronic artists like Moby, while recalling the song structure of some of their strongest albums like Architecture & Morality and Sugar Tax. My personal faves are "History of Modern pt.1" and "Rfwk" but don't skip a single track because you will be missing a compelling song. When the final track arrives, you will be treated to a club-banging single called "Save Me" featuring guest vocals from the one and only Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, and if you hadn't already figured it out by then, you will know you have been listening to an "event" album.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars OMD 21st Century manoeuvres, January 12, 2011
By 
James Simon (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: History of Modern (Vinyl)
History Of Modern is the long awaited return for OMD, their first album released in the US in fifteen years. A band that for the most part thought lost in the 80's since the acclaimed "Crush" and "The Pacific Age", they had a few album released in the 90's that tried to fit the sounds of the time but were for the most part ignored. Mounting a comeback in the 21st century would seem a daunting challenge but one OMD picks up none the less. History Of Modern harkens back to the well produced and thought out albums like Crush. The go back to their signature sounds of electronic strings and chorus-like vocals. Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys high tenor voices sound just as good as back then. They go back to topics they've covered before. Religious themes like Sister Marie Says (available for free at the OMD website) sounds like an updated version of Anola Gay. The refrain of "New Babies: New Toys ("It's better for the girls but it's bigger for the boys") has all sorts of possible imagery. "History Of Modern part I" is a techno-dance track with a philosophy of nothing today really matters as the moments move away. Many other tracks song of love and loss. Probably the most catchy song is "Pulse" which has a very strong to the classic Laidbach dance track, "White Horse". This is unquestionably one of their best efforts. Not a perfect album by any means especially "Sometimes" with the constant refrain of "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child". But OMD has successfully managed to bridge the decades together to put together a winning and provoking album.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poppy, 80's hitmaker era OMD is back!, February 15, 2011
By 
SoCalRay (West Hollywood, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: History of Modern (Audio CD)
Reviews of this album are really polarized between those who were fans of OMD's earlier experimental sound and those who liked their well-known 80's new wave hit output. (I am ignoring their last couple of albums that barely registered in the consciousness.) This album in particular reminds me of "Pacific Age" era OMD, combining some of that funkiness and wailing female vocals that they were adding to their songs. Like many OMD albums, there are some "eh?" filler tracks, but the 4 or 5 should-be-classic new wave tracks included are more than enough to make this a must have for any OMD fan. For those complaining about specific tracks, OMD has always been known for putting in some "wierd" sounding tracks among the hits, even on their most well-known albums, so I don't see this as any different.
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History of Modern
History of Modern by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (Audio CD - 2010)
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