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Cruelty Without Beauty Enhanced, Extra tracks

4.5 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Enhanced, Extra tracks, October 8, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

First Soft Cell studio album in 20 years features both original members Marc Almond and Dave Ball. Package includes a second bonus CD featuring exclusive remixes of the first single 'Monoculture'. 4 bonus tracks, 'Monoculture' (Jan Driver Radio Edit, Play

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Darker Times
  2. Monoculture
  3. Le Grand Guignol
  4. The Night
  5. Last Chance
  6. Together Alone
  7. Desperate
  8. Whatever It Takes
  9. All Out Of Love
  10. Sensation Nation
  11. Caligula Syndrome
  12. On An Up

Disc: 2

  1. Jan Driver Radio Edit
  2. Playgroup Remix
  3. Antoine 909 & Oggie B Remix

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 8, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced, Extra tracks
  • Label: Cooking Vinyl
  • ASIN: B00006JO4W
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #411,666 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Cruelty Without Beauty is a fun album that proves "old guys" can still perform with the best of the current crop and even better in many cases. While none of the songs are as sinister as old Soft Cell works (something I kind of lament), there remains a pop sensibility and lyrical and musical craftsmanship that is absent from nearly everything else in dance and techno anymore. Dave Ball has always been an expert at the synthesizer, and Marc Almond's lyrics are often entertainingly sleazy (although sometimes his refined voice makes me long for the days of his more urgent untrained/pitch-poor-yet-striking vocals). A few of the disc's 12 tracks are spotty ("Sensation Nation" being one of the most irritating songs, musically and lyrically, I've heard in yonks), but far more of the songs are well-done, and a few of them are simply amazing ("Le Grand Guignol" strikes me as the duo's best track--a vivid, sleazy updating of the original Soft Cell sound; and "Desperate," which mixes dancy rythms and last-legs-Vegas wah-wah into a breathtaking portrait of neediness). "Darker Times" gets the album off to a great start, mixing tinkling bells with club beats. "Monoculture," "The Night," "Together Alone," "All Out of Love," and "On an Up" all offer great listening. Will it gain any airplay? Probably not. Will it go unnoticed? Perhaps. But that would be too bad, as these boys can teach the current chart-squaters a lot.
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Format: Audio CD
One of the reviews I read here stated that this isn't really the old Soft Cell sound but more an extension of David Ball's work with the Grid. This may be true to an extent but if you listen to this new Soft Cell CD a couple of times, you will certainly distinguish the old Soft cell sounds within each track. Back are the signiture clarinets and trumpets that the guys used on many of their past songs from the 80's. "last Chance" sounds like "Wave Hello, Say goodbye" prequal. "Darker Times" is dancable and reminds me of a cross between "Memorabilia" and "Soul Inside." "Carigual Syndrome" would have fit perfectly on "This Last Night in Sodom" Some of the songs do sound like nothing they ever recorded before. "Le Grand Guiginal" and "Together Alone" comes to mind here.
The best way I can sum up this CD is to imagine if Soft cell never broke up after 1984 and made 8 or 9 more CDs after "Last Night in Sodom." Well this one sounds like the "next" CD in that progression. It's like they never stopped recording together. While the roots of their earlier work are present, there is certainly no rehashing here. It's Soft Cell 2002.
This CD obviously has a much more mature sound to it than their earlier work and is reflected in Marc Almond's voice and the fact that they had plenty of time in between recordings {18 years...geez} to grow as musicians.
My favorite tracks are "The Night", "Darker Times", "Le Grand Guginal", "Carguial Syndrome" and "Whatever it Takes." But really, there isn't a bad track on here, its that good.
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Format: Audio CD
Nowadays it seems several 80's bands are reforming for the money and/or just for the sake of doing it without really having anything new to say. This is what I first thought the situation was with this new Soft Cell album before I popped it onto the CD player for the first spin. Thankfully to my surprise I was dead WRONG! Cruelty without Beauty is a FANTASTIC example of how bands SHOULD do it! Since their last album 18+ years ago the band hasn't been sleeping, more like waiting on the sidelines, absorbing information and influences. Finally when the time is right they decide to strike, and have PLENTY to say! I got into Soft Cell way back in Jr. High, it was something different and had a soul unlike many others. That soul is still there, but a little more mature, a little more grown up. Dave Ball's playing is phenomenal, and Marc's voice is stronger and has a much more solid foundation. Several songs from their earlier albums I could relate to back in Jr. High (Frustration was almost my theme song) and this disc hits the nail on the head for me today(Monoculture is the PERFECT example of what my frustration & perception of what the world is right now) The themes are updated (Whatever It Takes, Sensation Nation) even poking fun at what other artists (or even maybe themselves) are willing to do for that last shot of glory (like in Desperate) which certainly proves the band decided to focus on music integrity rather than cashing in on the hit single. However if the modern music industry has not changed and gone in the toilet so much I guarantee Monoculture and All Out of Love would be hitting the airwaves with full force. But alas, times have changed and it's nice to see Soft Cell release an honest album. It's a shame it won't get more exposure and is likely to only remain a "hidden treasure".
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Format: Audio CD
Soft Cell was one of the groups that truly helped launch the "synthpop" movement as we know it today. David Ball handcrafted wonderful electronic grooves around Marc Almond's soulful voice. 18 years after the last Soft Cell album, the same chemistry between the two hasn't faltered.
The first single "Monoculture" sounds as classic as any Soft Cell dance number, with just a hint of The Grid (David Ball's post Soft Cell electronic project). The song will pull you onto the dancefloor as easily as "Memorabillia" or "Tainted Love."
The rest of the album is a fantastic blend of vintage Soft Cell pop and balladry. Instrumentation is a superb cross-polination of classic synths and modern electronics. You can tell from the start that this is Soft Cell, but you don't feel like it is simply a rehash of old ideas. In fact the album fits right in with today's leading electronic acts.
The album will atract both longtime Soft Cell / Almond fans and those who were still in diapers when the group began. With bands like Depeche Mode drifting further and further from the synthpop that made them so famous, it is refreshing to see a veteran act like Soft Cell back as fresh as they were back in 1981.
Grab the CD and enjoy the bonus CD with 3 remixes of "Monoculture" and the humorous video as well. Then pull out some vintage 80's clothing, color your hair bright blue, and dance like a fool. Soft Cell is back....
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