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I Ran: The Best of A Flock of Seagulls (Re-Recorded Versions)

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Album Review

Some bands are best heard in concentrated doses or with compilations rather than a series of albums, which is exactly where A Flock of Seagulls fit in modern music history. None of their full records can be described as classic, but they had some lovely singles that captured the early-'80s sound of Western pop music perfectly. Best does the trick for the band, perhaps including one too many nondescript numbers from albums, but otherwise putting the peaks of the band in a perfect package. The two most well known numbers lead off the compilation: "I Ran," a nervy, tense slice of emotional paranoia, and its thematic counterpoint, "Space Age Love Song," a wistfully romantic and nostalgic piece. Both capture the band's basic stylistic ground: droning and mysterious background keyboards, Joy Division/U2-inspired guitar heroics, dancefloor-friendly new-wave percussion lines, and lead singer Mike Score's thin but serviceable vocals, all of which combine to be something more than the sum of their parts. "Wishing" is another all-time great, a dreamy love song given a majestic synth arrangement, some fantastic E-bowed guitar work, and a soaring chorus (an unnecessary remix of the song is also included here). The other high points serve up variations on the basic theme, sometimes brilliantly so: the brief "Telecommunication," an attractive two-and-a-half-minute pop blast sharply produced by Bill Nelson, starts as a simple drum-machine and vocal combination, then bursts into a soaring, full band-accompanied chorus. Also worthy of notice is "Nightmares," which features a stripped-down arrangement with just enough edge and tension to befit the titular subject. Clearly the perfect place to start if you want to find out more about the band, and for most it will be all they need.


Formed: 1980 in Liverpool, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

As well-known for their bizarrely teased haircuts as their hit single "I Ran (So Far Away)," A Flock of Seagulls were one of the infamous one-hit wonders of the new wave era. Growing out of the synth-heavy and ruthlessly stylish new romantic movement, A Flock of Seagulls were a little too robotic and arrived a little too late to be true new romantics, but their sleek dance-pop was forever indebted to the short-lived movement. The group benefitted considerably from MTV's heavy rotation of the "I Ran"...
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I Ran: The Best of A Flock of Seagulls (Re-Recorded Versions), A Flock of Seagulls
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