Total Pop! – The First 40 Hits
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.
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.
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