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Systems of Romance [Import]

UltravoxAudio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 12 Songs, 2009 $4.99  
Audio CD, Import, Extra tracks, 2006 $12.41  
Audio CD, Import, 2004 --  
Vinyl, 1990 --  

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Image of album by Ultravox


Image of Ultravox


Ultravox is a British New Wave rock band. They were one of the primary exponents of the British electronic pop music movement of the late 1970s/early 1980s. The band was particularly associated with the New Romantic and New Wave movements.
This band was effectively led by two different individuals in its career, two frontmen who, curiously, never played together in the band at the same ... Read more in Amazon's Ultravox Store

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for 61 albums, 5 photos, discussions, and more.

Frequently Bought Together

Systems of Romance + Ha Ha Ha + Ultravox
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  • Ha Ha Ha $10.74
  • Ultravox $12.32

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 9, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Universal Import
  • ASIN: B000025WXM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #687,701 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Slow Motion
2. Can't Stay Long
3. Someone Else's Clothes
4. Blue Light
5. Some Of Them
6. Quiet Men
7. Dislocation
8. Maximum Acceleration
9. When You Walk Through Me
10. Just For A Moment

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten masterpiece January 23, 2004
By Clark
Format:Audio CD
Sometimes one stumbles across a 'forgotten' album by accident, listens to it, and wonders why it didn't get the huge ground breaking success it truly deserved. 'Systems of Romance' is one such album.
In my quest for having a complete collection of Ultravox albums I also bought (when I could find them) back catalogue recordings on vinyl of their previous incarnation with John Foxx. That 'Systems of Romance' was the last album I found was a rather cruel twist of fate.
Ultravox mk1 were very much 'arty' and experimental, leaning more to bands like early Roxy Music, David Bowie and to a lesser extent The Velvet Underground. The first album - 'Ultravox!' was pure 'art rock' weirdness, whereas their second 'Ha! Ha! Ha!' succumbed more to the influence of the then current Punk/New Wave movement.
With 'Systems of Romance', their third and final album with John Foxx, they seemed to say to hell with everything and all that was around at the time. Locking themselves away in Germany with some primitive synths, electronic musical equipment, guitars, bass, drums and the guidance of the late lamented German producer Conny Plank they came up with a master piece.
The year was 1978. Punk was still spewing bile, Disco was big and only bands like Kraftwerk were allowed to make electronic music. Then along came this album....
From the opening strains of 'Slow Motion', Systems of Romance proves its significance. Fat synth lines cavort with drums, guitars and the 'extremely English' vocals of John Foxx. It sounded totally unique, and only when Gary Numan (a fan of this album) came along a year later with 'Are Friends Electric?' and 'Cars' did this electro crossover musical style become accepted.
Every track on this album is worthy of a listen.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wistful and Alienated; An Overlooked Masterpiece October 9, 2003
By "eero"
Format:Audio CD
Quite simply, this it the finest album that Ultravox produced.
Recorded in 1979, it is best understood in the context of its contemporaries, and it owes more to Eno, <<Heroes>> era Bowie and Cluster than it does to the overwrought pomposity Ultravox produced once Midge Ure joined. John Foxx, the original lead singer, has a voice lacking Ure's power, but it is far more expressive and is the perfect timber for Foxx' laments about the Alienation of Post-war European urban life. Foxx has the ability to occupy a moment, especially in "Dislocation" with the chant echoing the rhythmic motions of of a swimmer and recalling the detatched quality of being cocooned in water while swimming.
Far more dependant upon synths than the punkier and more abrasive "Ha-Ha-Ha", it has a distant coolness and ethereal sense of longing which has after 24 years, the quality of still sounding new.
"Systems" lacks the baroque Poppieness of "Vienna" and is a far more introspective and less melodic. Though the melodies, including the sweeping Synth in Slow Motion and the ostinato in "Quiet Men" are eminently hummable and infectious.
I first heard this record while living alone in New York in 1979, having just been dumped by my girlfriend and spent the Summer working nights. It was the the perfect soundtrack for wallowing-for beneathe the angst of "Dislocation" with it's pounding pipe rhythm was the glimmer of hope of "Just for a Moment".
If you like Bowie's Low and Heroes, or Bill Nelson's more cerebreral work you will love this album. Fans of Vienna may see it as a crucial part of the path to Ultravox' later success. Fans of mindless and cheery Synth Pop will find it too austere.
For me, its the perfect expression of longing and wistfulness.
Its been on my top 10 list for more than 20 years.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Birth of Eighties Music September 5, 2006
Format:Audio CD
On this seminal 1978 record, Ultravox and producer Conny Plank ingeniously cut soaring guitar lines across electronic currents, creating a detached, stylish, expansive sound that just about everyone else would mimic until Nirvana released "Nevermind." "Systems of Romance" is basically the Rosetta Stone of new wave, putting everything Bowie tried to achieve with the Eno trilogy and the subsequent contributions of groups like Wire, Joy Division, and Tubeway Army into perspective. Its songs are strong and stunning enough, both lyrically and musically, to convey originality and wonder even today.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stylish Alienation, Synthesized for Your Enjoyment February 6, 2007
Format:Audio CD
It was November of '78, punk was dead as proclaimed by Mr. Lydon, and Joy Division's fame in the US was still several years away. Entering the scene was Ultravox with this, their third album, which received airplay on a recently revived KROQ in Pasadena. As a college sophomore working late nights, I listened to many hours of Chuck Randall ("The Midnight Lobotomist") on KROQ. On one such occasion I happened to hear the track "Quiet Men" from this album, and I was so taken with the sparse sound of synthesizers and soaring guitars that I went out the next day and bought the LP. Listening to the album start to finish was a riveting experience. On this album, the raw rage of punk has been replaced by the cold alienation of synthesizers and detached vocals. Even now, nearly 30 years later, the music has a stark power that serves it well.

From the start of Side 1 (now moot with the CD) "Slow Motion" begins the experience with a detached, spacey chorus. "Someone Else's Clothes" is a paranoiac fantasy sung with borderline hysteria by John Foxx, the creative genius behind Systems of Romance (he left after this album and the subsequent Midge Ure-fronted albums never managed to achieve one tenth of the power of this post-punk masterpiece). It is on Side 2 (tracks 6-10) where this album really works its magic. "Quiet Men" is a hypnotic gem, "Dislocation" puts into words the cold disorientation of alienation, "Maximum Acceleration" is possibly the most "drugged out" song of the era (in the words of one of my friends), "When You Walk Through Me" is the blueprint that Gary Numan would follow a few years later to commercial success and "Just for a Moment" is a plaintive coda, slipping into regret and loss while bringing the album to a close.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful
great music and cd in perfect shape. very uindervalued new wave band. their music influenced alot of other bands even up to now. the first john foxx years are the best too
Published 7 months ago by craig perkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultravox's best
This is easily the best release by any incarnation of the band. Though self-involved, Foxx's vocals and lyrics work against the grain of the music. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Michel Helmke
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish I'd known sooner
Ultravox was never one of my biggest favorites, I sort of liked them but never went too far out of my way with them, ya know? Read more
Published 9 months ago by D. K. Malone
5.0 out of 5 stars One great album before the breakup
The best of the Ultravox albums done by John Foxx as lead vocalist and creative source. You can easily see the roots of the more atmospheric "Vienna" in this album, with... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Kevin Trainor
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Banana Album" of synth rock
Other reviewers here have described what makes this album THE watershed album for the synth-rock movement. Read more
Published 20 months ago by peppergomez
5.0 out of 5 stars Techno Noir Classic
John Foxx and Ultravox made the classic way back in my college days. The beats, synths, guitar and vocals are dark, engaging and great all the way through. Read more
Published on September 30, 2012 by M. Oster
5.0 out of 5 stars The Garden
I have always been enthralled by the flights of dual consciousness John Foxx crafted for third Ultravox studio album, Systems Of Romance; "... Read more
Published on August 25, 2012 by G. Young
5.0 out of 5 stars The Romance of New Wave Psychedelics
Still one of the most awesome CDs! This keeps turning up in all my lists whenever I'm asked to compile my favorite fifteen best CDs of all time. Read more
Published on September 9, 2010 by Erik
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Foxx And Ultravox
This was really cutting edge and out there for its time. To put into perspective... In the charts that year were Brotherhood of Man, Abba, Kate Bush, The Bee Gees, Boney M, John... Read more
Published on July 22, 2009 by Plumbing Nightmares
4.0 out of 5 stars A really good album
This album is exceptional - it was ahead of its time in use of the electronic medium. Compare it to Ultravox's earlier effort "Ha Ha Ha" which had some wonderful ambient sections... Read more
Published on September 6, 2008 by A. J. Griffin
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