Sigue Sigue Sputnik / 21st Century Boys-The Best Of Sigue Sigue Sputnik

21st Century Boys - The Best Of

Sigue Sigue Sputnik were a British new wave band formed in 1982 by former Generation X bassist Tony James. The band had three UK Top 40 hit singles, including the song “Love Missile F1-11” and “21st Century Boy”.

The Analysis—-

Video Trailer Mix—-I suppose this small intro is to remind us that SSS were above all else a multi-media experiment and a very visual band. As I recall, they were the first and probably only band to sell commercials that appeared in between songs on the first proper release. This mash-up of songs basically prepares us for what is ahead.

Love Missle F1-11—-Perhaps the bands best known work, this Moroder produced single embodies the late 80’s sound with spacey synths, sound effects…manipulated vocals and a constant familiar guitar from Tony James. The track is an extravaganza of sound and textures and still plays very well today.

Hack Attack—-The synth line that runs through the under belly of this track seems very Moroder inspired also, reminding me of some classic Disco songs from the late 70’s. The effects are all over the place…the song moves from speaker to speaker in an extravaganza of sound and constant effects. The vocals are almost done in a dub manner….hit and miss with the effects really being the star of the show. This really does sound excellent in headphones and once again is rather timely.

21st Century Boy—-A huge single for the band overseas, this band was never really a well-known entity here in the states. The musical track is a bit noisier…with James really adding more guitar than usual. The effects are all in place…the music from this band rarely deviated from the very first single…so every track suffers a bit from the ‘sameness’ effect. The hits package almost plays like one very long song. It is the innovation that is remarkable.

Buy EMI—-This track really does have a bit of a different sound to it, although the band never steers to far from the trademark sound. With a nod to their record company EMI, this almost reminds me of something Gen. X might have done. There are some nice chord changes in the song that mix up the sound but the synth line is always present. I rather like this track.

Rockit Miss USA—-With a fantastic spoken word intro….including a cameo from Clint Eastwood, the band quickly falls back into familiar territory that mimics the earliest sounds of the band. The effects very upfront…the vocal effects bouncing back and forth and the far back guitar from Tony James always present…seeming to play the same melody over and over. This is not a bad track, but the sound is so predictable. There is little room for variance with this band.

Teenage Thunder—-Coming back at you with the predictable synth line, the vocal begins a bit more subdued and pushed to the back of the mix. The guitar is more present and a bit varied than on previous tracks…this almost plays like a modern synth punk rock track. I love this song.

Suicide—-Darker at the onset, this has a slight different heavier synth line if you will. The low hum that runs through the track gives everything a darker feel. The vocal is again in a dub style that floats behind all of the effects…and the guitar sounds fuzzier and more intense. Not a favorite…rather tedious to get through.

Massive Retaliation—-Borrowing a huge bass line from the rap world, a synth line that reverberates your head and a beat that is different from previous tracks makes for a really great track. This envelops all of the classic sounds of the band but with the use of sampling gives us something really large and different. I had forgotten about this song….really fantastic!!!

Sex Bomb Boogie—-With a really nice guitar intro, the song quickly dissolves back into the familiar and constant synth that plays through most every song from this band. The lack of variance is a bit tedious…but the effects that are layered upon layer make things tolerable. This is a chore after a few songs…but the whole concept of the band was rather brilliant.

Success—-This is so much jauntier, if you will. The synth line is huge and encourages a mass of voices to sing along with the almost joyous feel of the song. This is brilliant…..the pace of the song is increased and the movement is incredible…I really love this track…another song I had almost forgotten about.

Frankenstein Cha Cha Cha—-Another track that offers a nice guitar intro before dissolving into the familiar synth line, this seems to be the same song that we heard earlier with different lyrics. The track plays almost exactly like Sex Bomb Boogie…but the words are a bit different. The chorus is a nice affair…but the self rip-off is evident.

Dancerama—-This has a darker more ‘revolving’ synth line that is quieter and a bit different for the band. To say this is subdued is an understatement. This is nice production placement…it serves to break up the ‘sameness’ effect from this band….allowing you a cool down and a look at the more introspective part of the band. Tony James gives a nice guitar solo mid-point…this is nice.

Barbrandroid—-With a futuristic intro, the classic voice that did all of the commercials for the band introduces the song. This is again, more subdued and sedate with that swirling synth line that makes you think of Moroder and Summer. The deep spoken word is throughout the track and this has a more chill, experimental feel to it. Again, the song placement is brilliant…really breaks up the release.

Albinoni vs. Star Wars [Part I]—-Light and airy at the onset, this is again a bit more low key and filled with huge atmospheric synths that almost sound orchestrated. The airy feel and the light pleasant melody is in sharp contrast to the earlier things we have heard on this release. This plays like a film score….freakin’ brilliant. Mid point is the Tony James guitar…but it never takes from the airy and intense feel of the track.

Albinoni vs. Star Wars [Part I & II]—- Not differing from what we heard on the previous track, I would have rather they included Jayne Mansfield instead of a redux of this track…until the midpoint of the song! It becomes alive and sounds like every fantastic 80’s band that you keep hidden from your friends. This is brilliant…a nice mix of trademark sounds and a laid back mellow sound that you can really listen to over and over again. Fantastic!

Rio Rocks—-Returning to full throttle SSS sound, the synths are back in full swing. The track sounds a bit under produced…the crisp sound with all of the effects are not as present. This plays like a rather dated punk rock anthem that you can sink your teeth into. This is a lot of fun and a bit dated….but still sounds fantastic!

Aliens—-Again, the synth line on the opening of this track is much brighter and less muddled with mass effects… the band more substance and to me credibility in the talent that was there. This is lighter and with more air…..building and building with an almost pretty melody line.

Love Missle F1-11 [Westbam Remix Short Version]—-Removing the loud synth line, this remixed version makes the song a bit more dance floor friendly with the predominate bass line and allowing for contrast between this and the original. I much prefer this…the mid point of the song becomes very alive with a fuzzy synth while removing the vocal to the back of the mix. This is outstanding!

Sputnik Advert—-Just  a short advert for EMI…..classic SSS!

**** out of 5

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