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Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret (Deluxe Edition)

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Album Review

In the U.S., Soft Cell, the British duo of singer Marc Almond and instrumentalist David Ball, was a classic one-hit wonder, that hit being the remake of Gloria Jones' "Tainted Love," which dominated dance clubs and eventually peaked in the pop Top Ten with its synth-pop sound and Almond's plaintive vocal in 1981-1982. In the U.K., the group not only had a longer career, but also influenced a raft of similar performers. Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, originally released in Britain in the fall of 1981, contained both the band's first hit and its follow-up, "Bedsitter," its title referring to what in America would be called a studio apartment. (A third U.K. Top Five hit, "Say Hello Wave Goodbye," emerged from the LP.) At full album length, lyricist Almond's primary preoccupation, only suggested in "Tainted Love," was spelled out; this was a theme album about aberrant sexuality, a tour of a red-light district. The point was well made on "Sex Dwarf," with its oft-repeated chorus "Isn't it nice/Sugar and spice/Luring disco dollies to a life of vice?" Songs like "Seedy Films," "Entertain Me," and "Secret Life" expanded upon the subject. The insistent beats taken at steady dance tempos and the chilling electronic sounds conjured by Ball emphasized Almond's fascination with deviance; it almost seemed as though the album had been designed to be played in topless bars. British listeners saw through Almond's pretense or were amused by him, or both; more puritanical Americans tended to disapprove, which probably limited the group's long-term success stateside. But the music was undeniably influential. The 2002 CD reissue added two lengthy 12" single mixes of "Tainted Love," one of them a medley with the old Supremes hit "Where Did Our Love Go," the other a dub version. [Mercury UK issued a Deluxe Edition in 2008.]

Customer Reviews

4.5/5 - A Nearly Perfect Album

Marc Almond solidified himself as one of the most important lyricists of the 80s with this album. The songs are about drugs, sex, youthful frustration, and the discovery of "alternate approaches to life." The arrangements are minimalist and dark, but retain a refreshing dose of satire and humility. The only reason why I wouldn't call "Non-Stop..." a masterpiece is because the drum and synthesizer sounds, though good, become very redundant by the end of the album. In other words, they pretty much use the same sounds for all the songs. A great start to a great career, however.

Classic album, but...

This is easily one of the best albums of the early '80s, beginning to end. But, one glaring omission from the box set: the 7" mix of Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go, the very single that broke Soft Cell in the US in the first place. Oh well. Otherwise, lots of goodies tacked on to this deluxe version.

my secret life ...

finally waited so long for this album release where are the rest of them ... i love this album

Biography

Formed: 1980 in Leeds, England

Genre: Pop

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

Art students Marc Almond and Dave Ball formed Soft Cell, a synth pop duo famed for its uniquely sleazy electronic sound, in Leeds, England in 1980. Originally, vocalist Almond and synth player Ball teamed to compose music for theatrical productions, and as Soft Cell, their live performances continued to draw heavily on the pair's background in drama and the visual arts. A self-financed EP titled Mutant Moments brought the duo to the attention of Some Bizzare label head Stevo, who enlisted Daniel...
Full Bio

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