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Simply Frankie Goes To Hollywood

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It comes to something when a compilation which is targeted at, in the words of the label, ‘the casual fan’, is a 190-minute, three-disc extravaganza, full of ‘hits, tracks & remixes’. That is what you will find on Simply Frankie Goes To Hollywood, a new budget priced triple-disc set from Union Square Music.

This new release comes in a tin. Part of a Simply Tins series, by all accounts. Gimmicky though that may be, it’s almost entirely irrelevant because the tin still fits nicely on the music collector’s shelf with the standard jewel case CDs (see comparison images below) and you are not paying any extra for the metal – this is a mere £6.99 on Amazon UK. Another bonus, if you are really offended by the metal packaging, is that you can dispense with it altogether, because although the presentation is basic (no booklet, or sleeve notes of any kind) Union Square have cannily put each CD within its own card wallet inside the outer casing. So you can chuck the tin away if you so wish and still have storage/protection for the CDs.

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All seven of Frankie‘s UK hits (including number ones Relax, Two Tribes and The Power of Love) are present and correct, but they add up to just 35 minutes of music which means you have well over TWO HOURS of extra material on top of the familiar singles. But while the track listing is ludicrously generous, it’s also extremely broad and rather random. It’s as if the record label have tossed a large fishing net into the ocean of previous releases (compilations, deluxe editions etc.) and whatever gets caught in the net, goes in! You could say it’s a fish pie of a compilation, that includes a very long (23 minute) remix from a CD single, some B-sides, bonus tracks from previous reissues, a promo remix, some rare-ish instrumentals, a few actual period twelve-inch mixes and some good old fashioned album tracks. Phew!

But much like an ‘all you can eat’ buffet, just because it’s presented to you doesn’t mean you actually want or need it. Is the ‘casual’ fan going to be happy to digest the rambling B-sides One September Monday and One February Friday which consist of Paul Morley interviewing the band to a pulsing industrial backing track? Seems unlikely. And sitting through the six minutes of absurdity that is Rage Hard flipside (Don’t Lose What’s Left) Of Your Little Mind is akin to torture. It’s musical excrement. To make matters worse Simply Frankie Goes To Hollywood chooses the long six-minute version above the shorter four-minute cut. An truly atrocious idea to force this upon someone who quite liked Relax and Two Tribes.

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The bottom of the Frankie barrel has effectively disappeared, such is the vigour with which it has been scraped over the past five or six years. As an enthusiast, I’d love Frankie deluxe editions to keep on coming, but even I have to accept that the material just does not justify it. After all, the band released just two albums and only one of them is anything close to being ‘good’ (Welcome To The Pleasuredome).

Perhaps Union Square and ZTT recognise this, after all there is nothing ‘new’ on Simply Frankie. No umpteenth unheard version of Relax. Of course, it is a record company’s job to release music – or re-release as the case may be – but there was a time when you waited decades between ‘hits’ collections (Kate Bush’s last one was 29 years ago) but 15 months on from the same label’s Frankie Said deluxe – a smart and compact hits collection that truly fitted the bill in terms of what a casual fan might want – comes Simply Frankie Goes To Hollywood a bloated collection that surely no one wants. Nothing to see for the diehards, too much to see for the curious.

Does the cheaper-than-a-seven-inch-single-on-record-store-day price tag render all criticism redundant? Possibly, but either way, it’s hard not to conclude that Simply Frankie is simply pointless. I never did like fish pie. Frankie Say, Enough!

Simply Frankie Goes To Hollywood is released on 6 July 2015.



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Frankie Say Compare: New tin not much bigger than an digipack
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Less is more: The collection offers over 180 minutes of music
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peter

Well, Rage Hard (The Young Person’s Guide To The 12 Inch) is the full 12:08 length.
All previous Frankie collections included a ‘shortened’ 10 min version. Only a recent ZTT catalog sampler called The Art Of The 12 Inch included the full 12 min version.
So, maybe this budget release is somewhat worth.

Neil

It’s only appearance on a Frankie compilation before was Reload and it was edited because there wasn’t enough room on the CD. It appeared in full on the original CD single titled Slam Bam as well as Back to the 80’s: The Long Versions 2 in 2003. They could have at least put a decent version of Relax on it as that Sex Mix, Edition Two is garbage.

Neil

I waited years to hear Relax (Sex Mix, Edition Two) and had to buy that rubbish Zambient One compilation to get it and what a letdown that was. I see HMV are not stocking this online or in their stores i wonder why that is.

Ian Gilchrist

Just to clarify which label this new tin is or isn’t on: the Simply range is one of the imprints of parent company Union Square Music (now the catalogue arm of BMG UK), which also owns Salvo.

This release is not in any way a Salvo title…it’s simply (ha!) a repackaging at a different price point on another imprint in the label group. It’s not aimed at the collector/devotee, but at a more casual listener, as pointed out by a few people.

This was compiled by Ian Peel with a mandate to offer value for money, which it undeniably does, whether one likes the packaging or not.

As always…no one is forcing anyone to buy this…step away if it offends your delicate sensibilities gang.

Ian

Eric

Oh dear. Next time ask if they’ve got Simple Minds………. ;)

lee

well, i went to HMV. when i made polite inquiries about where in their store i could find Simply Frankie Goes To Hollywood, i was counter-offered some Simply Red.

i am now eagerly awaiting my order from amazon later this week.

i’ve just bought this on autopilot.

Neil Kelly

And too think i didn’t get a job there once despite all my musical and film knowledge and a good interview. Even asked ‘what’s this weeks number one’ which i knew. Pathetic.

Ed

Couldn’t agree more. I have no clue what’s in the charts.

Neil Kelly

Got mine today. It’s July. Why does the box say 2014??

[…] Simply Frankie Goes To Hollywood […]

Neil

Two Tribes (annihilation) has appeared on CD 26 times not as bad as Tainted Love / Where Did Our Love Go though which beats it by some way at 145 appearances.

lee

it’s got Two Tribes (annihilation) on it. i only have 10 copies of that remix on CD, so i will be off to HMV tomorrow at lunch to buy this (i am hoping they have it in stock) and i do not care if i do not have enough time to eat after that.

thank you, all concerned, for making absolutely sure that Two Tribes (annihilation) can be purchased and enjoyed on compact disc.

Neil

It’s not on their website which is unusual.

thegreatelephant

someone will see this out and about-will have heard the odd track here and there- and will buy it. at 14. maybe. then a convert. hopefully. I had the t-shirt, we probably all did. the kids are alright – hope this does the job for them.

Graham

Why is Happy Hi always overlooked, it is a great track and would have made a great A side release somewhere between the WTTPD single and Rage Hard.

Neil Kelly

Always loved Happy hi !!!

Neil

It should have been on the second disc of WTTP as well a lot of other relevant b Sides from that era instead we got crap like the greek disco mix of Relax. It’s on Frankie Say Greatest and the original CD of WTTP (CID 101 ).

Daran

I have a guilty liking of this release. Now I know why – the tin has hinges! Cool…. three cheers for it not being like a shortbread tin. I think it looks pretty cool. It’s fuscia, not pink.

Darren

If I’m opening a tin, I’m expecting a biscuit….

Eric

Or at least Lionel Richtea…

Darren

Bourbonanarama

Eric

Oreo Speedwagon.

Martin Ingram

Have I missed something, or is Two Tribes Surrender still not available in digital format anywhere? I realise there’s a snippet of it on the Keep The Peace cassette mix, but surely they missed a trick here?

Andrew Robinson

It’s on the 1989 German CD single, which is fairly easy to get hold of (http://www.discogs.com/Frankie-Goes-To-Hollywood-Two-Tribes/release/223538) … and possibly elsewhere too. I’ll admit I lost track of which ZTT tracks I have on CD more than once sometime around the mid 90s!

Neil

It’s on the War (Hidden) digital download from Salvo.

Seth Hollander

There is something for everyone!
I think I WILL order this. It’s been on my Amazon “save for later” list for a few months now. This is the first time I’ve seen the back cover art.
Why will I buy this?
1- The only FGTH track I still “need” on CD is the Young Person’s Guide remix of Rage Hard (I actively dislike all ZTT artists except FGTH and AON, so I didn’t buy the previous CD issue of this track, despite AON’s “Closely, Closely” being on that release also).
2- $12 on Amazon US. Watta bah-gan!
3- I have bought all the FGTH comps in the last 10 years. One thing I have learned is that I don’t like the WTTPD and L periods jumbled together! On this comp, CD1 is all WTTPD and CD 2 is all L. That really rubs my belly!
4- Did I mention it will only take $12 out of me?
I can totally understand not wanting this, and even thinking it shouldn’t have been made, but I am happy about it.
Ironically, it is the pictures in this negative review that helped me decide to get it.
Danke, Paul.

Andrew Robinson

This release makes perfect sense to me – it’s not supposed to be superdeluxe, or to appeal to hardcore fans, it’s there for people who haven’t got any Frankie on their CD rack, but might well have some vinyl in the loft. It’s great value and shows off the whole range of material that’s there if you want to further explore the back-catalogue.

Full marks to Salvo for not pulling the usual trick of adding one or two slightly different or ‘first time on CD’ tracks to this in order to make the dedicated fans re-buy 175 minutes of stuff they already have to get 5 minutes of new stuff.

If there was one of these for other 80s acts that are not represented on my CD shelves yet, I’d have no hesitation in forking out my cash.

Andrew Robinson

Well, I’ll start by saying I’m definitely not in the target market for this, as I’m a huge ZTT fan, but if there was a Blondie tin, or a Go West tin, or a Thompson Twins tin… I’d be after a good selection of 12″ mixes and hits, and I’d far rather have 3 CDs for £6.99 than one for £5, as that’s far better value for money – £2.33 a disc is a real bargain. Compared to the Metro Select Frankie Best of, it’s just 39p more for an entire extra third disc. It’s true that the single CD of Frankie Said has a really solid set of tracks on it, and the tin is much more variable, but let’s not forget, this is aimed at people who don’t know the artist and their catalogue well, and as a non-fan they can’t tell what the good stuff is by looking at a track listing, and they also don’t know that ZTT isn’t plagued by the same sort of problem that (for example) Gary Numan has, with a million and one compilation CDs with bafflingly non-representative track listings (although the Metro Select Art of Noise ‘Best of’ seems to have been compiled by throwing darts at the back catalogue).

Andrew Robinson

Hi again Paul – yes, it’s definitely an interesting debate. For me, a triple CD by an artist I’m not obsessive over would be more likely to make me feel I’ve ‘got enough’ of their stuff than a well compiled single CD, and that in itself has value to me.

I think this conversation is actually going to boil down to the fact that your buying strategy and mine are different. I’m fine with skipping a few tracks, and value for money plays a big part in my decision to pick up a CD or not. There are (for me) a lot of artists I’d take a punt on at £2.33 a disc that I wouldn’t at £5 a disc. I do appreciate a well compiled CD, but for impulse buys, I’m not willing to do enough research to know one when I see one, so I’m happy to take a scattergun approach because somewhere on those 3CDs there’s bound to be something I like. For you, a well complied CD means a lot (and considering you compile CDs for a living, that’s got to be a good thing!), and I’m guessing that means you’d do more research than I would and you don’t have as many disappointing impulse buys on your CD shelves as I do? Having said that, neither of us are really in the target market for this CD (although counterintuitively, we’ve both ended up owning it because we’re ZTT obsessives!). To me, it’s supposed to be a cheap impulse buy for non-fans, and I think for that purpose I think the ‘pile it high, sell it cheap’ approach fits the bill.

Paul Kent

Gazelle sums it up perfectly. Don’t get me wrong, I love Pleasuredome, too, but it is a mixed bag with one mediocre cut for every classic single, padded out with covers. Liverpool is a proper stab at a long player after the debut and, although the songs alone don’t hit the giddy heights of the WTTP singles, they are all of a consistently good quality, making for a more satisfying listening experience. Of the two, it’s the one I’ve got the most mileage from :)

Simon

Sorry Jez, I for one would not want to hear tracks overlapping when they were never originally designed to. Also when you then cherry pick such tracks on to your own compilations or play yr music randomly, you’ll have these odd bits of other tracks getting in the way. If I want a new listening experience involving previously-released material, let me find my own way of doing so.

gary C

here is my suggestion for one last cash grab/attempt at merit even, and that would be a collection of all the compacted/cassetted mixes in one box. They are spread out and about the catalogue and not in one place right, and they need attacked sound wise too.

SteveW

As a casual fan who only owns a couple of 12″ singles the price might well tempt me to dip. So I guess the record company have it right. :)

Cal Alex

“I never found a ‘way in’ to Liverpool.”

No, me neither. The cartoon promo video absolutely destroyed any chance of a serious listen anyway.

It wasn’t until Morley said in the Salvo 2xCD it was a concept album based on what it’s like to live (here) in Liverpool that it actually twigged.
But that was just hyperbole and 25 years too late.

Francis

Are this band well known as they seem to be getting a lot of their material reissued? Ha, Ha. Apparently their is another band that could take off big, they are called The Beatles. He, He.

colin

Hey Paul S,
Have you heard of anymore artists in this ‘tinned’ series and when they will be released? Ta Colin.

Eric

Actually, I agree with Paul K on the merits of Liverpool…it’s half a brilliant album, and the other half is still okay. The deluxe we got from Salvo is enough, though.

Paul Kent

“After all, the band released just two albums and only one of them is anything close to being ‘good’ (Welcome To The Pleasuredome)”. How dare you!!! I love Liverpool – I actually think it’s a better album than WTTP!

Gazelle

I agree with Paul K. I think that ‘Liverpool’ is better in terms of being a cohesive whole: eight focused, unifying songs with no flab or filler. ‘Welcome To The Pleasuredome’ is sprawling, overlong and, iconic singles-aside, made up of fairly average original songs and cover versions. I feel that the ‘Pleasuredome era’ is best represented by the associated individual single releases and the ‘Liverpool era’ is best represented by the album itself.

So, what possible future reissues and compilations could possibly warrant our enthusiasm? I’d still like a seven disc box set where each single is given its own disc, replete with ALL available period mixes and b-sides (I’ve no idea whether all the material would fit onto 80 minute discs for each single).

Eric

Hi Gazelle, I have actually done this in iTunes (with plans to make the actual CDs one day), and I can confirm that, in a couple of cases, everything from a couple of the singles exceeds 80 minutes. So a track or two would have to be sacrificed.

peter

On Qobuz there are all FGTH digital singles for sale in lossless quality.
Every different remix/edit is included.

Gazelle

Peter, many thanks for the tip-off re. Qobuz. I was not aware of this site. Very interesting indeed…

Eric

Frankie Say……Ouch!

You’ve called this one right, though, Paul.

Darren

The tin is absolutely ghastly. The idea of throwing the tin away and being left with 3 card sleeves is no better. This is the sort of packaging you see on CDs in pound shops. Yuk!

Beatsystem

Actually starting to feel concerned for Frankie completists these days. I mean… how can they afford to eat with this release schedule?

As said above, for Frankie and all other ZTT stuff, now available in single-disc, double-disc, triple-disc, box set, deluxe edition, super deluxe edition, highlights from the super deluxe edition, heavy press audiophile vinyl, multi-vinyl 45s and book, 8-Track and braille…. NO MORE!

(Ironically, ZTT did invent the multi-format overload back in the day – doesn’t justify this level of fan-fleecing though).

Neil

Still waiting to hear a decent version of Two Tribes (Video Destructo Mix) on CD the one on the Repertoire Twelve Inches sounds horrible. As for this compilation unless you want a novelty tin it should be avoided as you could make it up yourself from various other releases.

jymy

Indeed the Repertoire Twelve Inches sounds horrible. The ZTT 2-CD sounds better, less compressed and distorted. It has a different tracklisting though, omitting that rare TT mix.

Bobbins

What track is the 23minute remix of??? As I’m a sucker for remixes (and Frankie’s were usually pretty decent) I’ll still take the plunge at just £7.

Will

Frankie Says…..No More

Mike Bushell

Yes this looks utterly pointless, but I like the packaging. There’s a trade off between interesting packaging and the room it takes on a shelf. In the end it’s the music you want to hear.

This compilation does pass my first test of FGTH: it contains Maximum Joy, my favourite track of theirs

Cal Alex

Am not buying this, but would still like to see ‘Liverpool’ getting the ultra deluxe box set treatment.
Unless it’s as crap and overpriced as the AON box set.

Darren

In terms of a super deluxe of Liverpool, I image another PledgeMusic campaign is the only possibility

colin

Agreed Paul!

DJ Control

Hmm…it’s very…pink!

Paul H

Very nice review Paul, and not what I expected to read but that is exactly how I feel about it. I love Jez’s ideas as well, but ultimately for me the whole subject has been (over-) done.

dave

hey . at some 7 quid hardly ripping us off im in !

Jez Orbell

Here’s how I would’ve ordered the tracks between the three discs.

Disc: 1 – Singled and Singled Out
SINGLES, ALBUM TRACKS, ORIGINAL 12″s
1. Relax
2. Two Tribes
3. Welcome To The Pleasuredome (A Remade World)
4. Black Night White Light
5. The Only Star In Heaven
6. The Power Of Love
7. Rage Hard
8. Warriors of the wasteland
9. Maximum Joy
10. Watching the wildlife
11. Is Anybody Out There?
12. Bang!
13. Two Tribes (Annihilation)
14. Rage Hard (The Young Person’s Guide To The 12inch Mix)

Disc: 2 – Hiding and Hidden
B SIDES, RARE TRACKS AND MIXES
1. Relax (Sex Mix, Edition Two)
2. Warriors of the wasteland (Attack Mix)
3. One September Monday
4. One February Friday
5. The World Is My Oyster (In Its 7inch Form)
6. Watusi Love Juicy
7. (Don’t Lose What’s Left) Of Your Little Mind
8. Suffragette City
9. Warriors of the wasteland (Compacted)

Disc: 3 – Voiced and Voiceless
COVER VERSIONS
1. Ferry Cross The Mersey (And Here I’ll Stay)
2. War (And Hide)
3. Born To Run
4. San José (The Way)
5. Do You Think I’m Sexy?
6. The Last Voice
INSTRUMENTALS
7. Watching The Wildlife (Voiceless)
8. The Ballad Of 32 (Mix 2)
9. Rage Hard (Voiceless)
10. Watching The Wildlife (Movement 2)

Mark Vick

A much much better order. Good thinking

Jez Orbell

It is a very odd compilation that serves no real purpose. No booklet is disappointing but not surprising at the price. What labels need to start doing us think more laterally and do something more interesting with the sequencing, even by overlapping the beginning and end of tracks for a different listening experience. With those tracks selected here they could’ve at least split them up better so it was the singles on CD1 (casual listener), remixes and rarities on CD2 (fans) with a Voiced (cover versions) and Voiceless (instrumentals) on selection on CD3

Darren

I absolutely cannot stand any overlapping of tracks. I like a clear gap between tracks because I often play tracks in isolation rather than sit through an album.

Jez Orbell

I hear you – to be clear I’m saying no to the Jive Bunny treatment :) Just remember that these tracks are already available as individual songs elsewhere so if that’s the case why bring them out again unless it’s offering something different. Yes, this is a tin but is that really a reason to do it? My suggestion was merely a potentially different way to present the songs. How often do we listen FGTH as whole CDs these days – most of us would dip in and out I supect unless its the original albums. Think how side 1 of Pleasuredome is essentially all one track and Wish (the lads were here) and the Ballad of 32 go together too. Warriors and Rage Hard does that on Liverpool as does Lunar Bay and For Heaven’s Sake. It’s about being a bit more creative with the material available rather than tipping out a bucket of songs out to form a playlist.