Total Pop! – The First 40 Hits

Onge's Review

Seventeen years after Pop! The First 20 Hits, 2009 saw the release of the second complete collection of the band's singles. This double CD includes the original Pop! release, as well as a second CD which is home to (almost) all of the band's output from 1994-2009. All the great Erasure singles are present and correct: Oh L'amour, Sometimes, Ship Of Fools, A Little Respect, Stop!, Blue Savannah, Always, Fingers & Thumbs (Cold Summer's Day), In My Arms and Breathe, as well as many other great pop songs. For the first time, all the tracks on this release have also been digitally remastered and this coupled with the comprehensive nature of the compilation renders the band's previous greatest hits compilations utterly redundant. To the untrained ear, there is little to distinguish these remasters from their original counterparts, but for those that can tell, most tracks sound cleaner and crisper in their remastered form (not that there was anything wrong with them in the first place). A couple of tracks actually seem a little inferior to the originals (to me anyway) but that's no criticism of the quality of the remasters, more an admission that I'm no fan of my favourite tracks sounding slightly different to how I know and love them.

But if the second CD is patchy and dispensable, it only serves to emphasise the unimpeachable brilliance of the first... in an era when the contrived camp affectations of The Scissor Sisters and Mika is hailed as in some way progressive and ground-breaking, Erasure deserve to be celebrated for their sparkling originality and crusading flamboyance, but mostly for their impeccable tuneage. Be out and be proud.

thequietus.com

The original Pop! was home only to the single mixes of the tracks and whilst this is upheld on Total Pop! there is one exception in Breathe, which here is the album version of the track. It is also debatable whether Rock Me Gently should have been included on this release at all, seeing as this track was never a single in the UK, so could not by any definition be deemed a hit. For CD space limitations some singles were left out of the physical release but these are available on the download version of the album, namely and the original mix of All This Time Still Falling Out Of Love, the acoustic rendition of Boy and the dire Oh L'amour (August Mix).

The deluxe box set edition of this release also includes a brilliant live CD that captures classic Erasure live performances covering their entire career as well as a packed DVD full of TV performances from the BBC archives, again spanning three decades. The box set comes in a hardback book form, with the booklet containing never before seen photos as well as an exclusive interview with the band. For those not sure whether to get the vanilla double CD release or the box set I urge you to choose the latter - it is simply the finest Erasure package ever released. You will not regret it.

Summary

A timeless, sublime and comprehensive collection of pop tunes crafted by the finest synth band to ever grace the earth - it is simply impossible not to give this release five stars. The deluxe box set, with all its extras, deserves six stars in all honesty. If you're not up-to-speed with Erasure's more recent output or if you're feeling nostalgic and want to rekindle your love for some of the finest songs of the past twenty years, you owe it to yourself to own this release.

Fan Reviews

Below are some fan reviews written by visitors to this very site. Once you've read these, please feel free to use the form at the end of the page to write your own review.

  1. I’ve never had pop idols, but Mr. Clarke and Mr. Bell are the only exceptions to this fact and it’s quite simple to explain this. They make Pop Music as Pop Music was supposed to be: delightfully melodic + accessible without being silly. Besides, Erasure have one of the best pop voices ever + the deservedly most celebrated synth genius.

    This truly extraordinary compilation brings many of their best tunes, but they really own at least another forty songs (among non-single album tracks and even b-sides) with the same perfect pop appeal than these 38 ones (I dislike “Heavenly Action”).

    The first cd is “Pop! – The First 20 Hits” remastered, so it’s the same party for every erasurians’ ears with a plus. It’s noteworthy to point out here the beautiness of the 4 single ballads, since “The Circus”, “Ship Of Fools”, “You Surround Me” and “Am I Right?” are all among the best singles of this 1st age on Erasure’s career, but they hardly get the same recognition than their most dancey hits.

    The 2nd cd, which has been called as Pop 2, can already be considered as the most underappreciated pop collection ever, since most part of its 19 tracks weren’t exactly radio hits. “Don’t Say Your Love Is Killing Me”, “Freedom and “Here I Go Impossible Again” aside, the other sixteen ones are nothing less than brilliant. Well, but those other 3 ones are pretty enjoyable anyway. Thus, it’s definitely not “patchy and dispensable”, on the contrary, it’s a second compilation that just serves to reinforce Clarke & Bell’s uncomparable talents as pop songwriters. Anyway, Mrs. Darren Lee wrote a review kinder than usual for an Erasure’s album, since most critics seems to love to hate them indeed.

    In short, this is a pop record for bringing a big smile to anyone who aren’t converted to the bland pop that is made nowadays. Oh, but don’t take me for a grumpy uncle, since I love Mika, Lily Allen, Scissor Sisters and Gnarls Barkley.

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Fábio André, Brazil
    3 March 2009 12:11 pm (GMT)
  2. Well, Onge, if only I’d read your review before – I’d have bought the deluxe set. Well, maybe not but you definitely sell it well….

    I was indecisive for about 5 seconds about buying this as I already have the first half of it (didn’t I buy you your first ‘Pop!’?) but in your honour I went for it. And I have to say I recognised CD 2 more than I expected and I really enjoyed those that I wasn’t familiar with too…

    If only I had your musical sophistication I may have noticed the subtleties of the remasters but I just put it on and sang along. And very enjoyable it was too (for me anyway)

    Orange ain’t my fave colour – I think green may have worked better but other than that – flawless – pure POP!!

    Here’s to the next 20 :)

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Joanne, Beckenham
    9 March 2009 6:06 pm (GMT)
  3. Why do we love erasure, this wonderful compilation clearly demonstrates whey they are still filling halls thirty years later. Excellent stuff.

    9 out of 10
    Reviewed by pmrelliott dublin
    2 March 2015 4:31 pm (GMT)
  4. For the casual fan, this is the one to buy. Get the box-set. I have so many Pop! disks on my ipod. Pop! Pop 2! Pop! Remixed Pop! Treasure.

    I think that covers it. This is a brilliant compilation.

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Jonathan Andrews – Florida, USA
    15 March 2016 6:03 pm (GMT)

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