Wednesday, October 11
Musical "supergroups" come in all shapes and sizes, and are almost always in the eyes of the beholder. Few would argue that Crosby, Stills & Nash (& Young, eventually) legitimately fit that label, but what of the slew of '80s-era mash-ups that aspired to those same lofty heights (Asia, Power Station, Damn Yankees)? Do they deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as CSNY, Cream, or even the Traveling Wilburys? And what of today's scene? Are Foo Fighters a supergroup? The New Pornographers? Um... Supernova?
It's probably safe to say that these questions weren't exactly of front-and-center significance when New Order frontman Bernard Sumner joined forces with former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr to form Electronic in 1989. Along with Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant, the group collaborated on the single "Getting Away With It" primarily as an effort to stretch their musical boundaries and to do so outside of the sometimes strangulating confines of their day jobs. Indeed, two years would pass before Sumner and Marr could be bothered to reconvene and release their debut LP.
For its primary members, Electronic would remain only an occasional and informal endeavor -- in other words, exactly the thing they'd always wished it would be. They would produce two more full-length efforts (1996's Raise the Pressure and 1999's Twisted Tenderness), as well as a handful-and-a-half of singles that -- commercially, at least -- made less and less of an impact as time dragged past.
With Electronic now apparently kaput for good, Rhino released Get the Message: The Best of Electronic back in September. Long-time fans and neophytes alike will find the group's best-known songs here -- a few of them in slightly re-jiggered form -- along with some of-interest b-sides and album tracks. For beginners, especially, it's as good a place as any to start and end with this particular branch of the "supergroup" sub-species.
[MP3] "Like No Other"
[MP3] "Disappointed" [single mix] [w/Neil Tennant]
[MP3] "For You"