The Second Disc

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It’s Their Life: EMI to Release One Old and One New Collection for Talk Talk

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Talk Talk Natural HistoryWith a unique blend of synthpop and post-rock aspirations, the short but powerful discography of Talk Talk is a most interesting one. Next month, two compilations – one classic one, and a new one personally overseen by the band’s elusive frontman Mark Hollis – will shine the spotlight on Talk Talk once more.

On their first two albums, The Party’s Over (1982) and It’s My Life (1984), Talk Talk cut themselves a powerful piece of moody, bubbling New Wave. But it was 1986’s The Colour of Spring and 1988’s Spirit of Eden that the band hit upon their most critically enduring work – minimalist, experimental art-pop for the at-times uncertain decade. Unfortunately, the albums did not enjoy the kind of success that EMI or Parlophone (who distributed Eden) had wanted; in turn, final album Laughing Stock was released by Verve/Polydor in 1991. By then, Hollis, essentially the only member of the group, wanted to spend more time with his family and disbanded the group. After one self-titled album in 1998, Hollis retired from music making.

Talk Talk Natural OrderThough the group openly protested the original release of Natural History (not being a fan of the compilation format itself, and later suing EMI over an unsolicited remix album), the set is a good starting point for the new fan, including all the band’s notable singles (including non-LP track “My Foolish Friend”) and a pair of new live cuts. Like a similar reissue in 2007, this disc is paired with a DVD modelled after the band’s video compilation, Natural History: A Video Selection, including 10 videos and two alternate versions. But it might be new counterpart Natural Order – Hollis’ first collaboration with EMI in years – that will make collectors happy. Billed as a “showcase [for] the ‘other’ side of Talk Talk,” this 10-track disc features album cuts as well as several non-LP B-sides. Best of all, this set includes two tracks from the Laughing Stock era, including a rare alternate version of single “After the Flood.”

Both sets are available in the U.K. on January 14. Hit the jump to check them out!

Natural History: The Very Best of Talk Talk 1982-1988 (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) (EMI (U.K.), 2013)

Disc 1: Original compilation (released as Parlophone PCSD 109, 1990)

  1. Today
  2. Have You Heard the News
  3. Talk Talk
  4. My Foolish Friend
  5. Such a Shame
  6. Dum Dum Girl
  7. It’s My Life
  8. Give It Up
  9. Living in Another World
  10. Life’s What You Make It
  11. Happiness is Easy
  12. I Believe in You
  13. Desire
  14. Life’s What You Make It (Live from the Hammersmith Odeon)
  15. Tomorrow Started (Live from the Hammersmith Odeon)

Tracks 1-3 from The Party’s Over (EMI, 1982)
Track 4 from non-LP single – EMI single 5373, 1983
Tracks 5-7 from It’s My Life (EMI, 1984)
Tracks 8-11 from The Colour of Spring (EMI, 1986)
Tracks 12-13 from Spirit of Eden (Parlophone, 1988)
Tracks 14-15 are exclusive to U.S. edition of this compilation (EMI CDP 593976, 1990)

Disc 2: DVD – Natural History: A Video Selection and more (originally released as Picture Music International VHS MVP 9912193, 1990)

  1. Today
  2. Talk Talk (Version 1)
  3. Talk Talk (Version 2)
  4. My Foolish Friend
  5. Such a Shame
  6. Dum Dum Girl (Take 1)
  7. Dum Dum Girl (Take 2)
  8. It’s My Life
  9. Life’s What You Make It
  10. Living in Another World
  11. Give It Up
  12. I Believe in You

Natural Order 1982-1991 (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) (EMI (U.K.), 2013)

  1. Have You Heard the News
  2. Renée
  3. For What It’s Worth
  4. Chameleon Day
  5. April 5th
  6. Wealth
  7. John Cope
  8. Eden
  9. After the Flood (Alternative Version)
  10. Taphead

Track 1 from The Party’s Over (EMI, 1982)
Track 2 from It’s My Life (EMI, 1984)
Track 3 was the B-side to “Living in Another World” – EMI 5551, 1986
Tracks 4-5 from The Colour of Spring (EMI, 1986)
Track 6 and 8 from Spirit of Eden (Parlophone, 1988)
Track 7 was the B-side to “I Believe in You” – Parlophone R 6189, 1988
Track 9 from CD single box set (Polydor 867 923-2, 1991)
Track 10 from Laughing Stock (Verve, 1991)

Written by Mike Duquette

December 12, 2012 at 16:20

3 Responses

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  1. John Cope and For What It’s Worth can also be found on Asides Besides:

    Robert F. Galgano

    December 12, 2012 at 16:47

  2. I’ve always considered this an odd band, starting as a “lite” new wave band à la early Duran Duran (which I’d normally have no time for) and evolving into something mysterious and unique and quite nice. Despite a fairly lush, produced sound, they’ve lately earned the same sort of respect as (say) Roxy Music. But while I’m happy they’re getting another push, the truth is that there’s not much here. Anyone who likes them should spring for the “Asides Besides” double CD, which collects pretty much all their non-album stuff. This is currently a little more than $9 at Amazon UK – quite a steal. And if you like that (or just their early or their later stuff), spring for the relevant individual remasters, which are also pretty inexpensive. DVD footage aside, there are only three “rarities” here. Two of them are live tracks from the out-of-print “London 1986,” which’ll get reissued eventually in toto. The third is the “alternate version” of “After The Flood,” which I’ve not heard . . . but I doubt it’s *that* big a deal.


    December 13, 2012 at 02:57

  3. I had great hopes reading tha Hollis was actively collaborating on these ones, but by reading these tracklistings I guess there’s nothing left to exhume…


    December 13, 2012 at 04:28

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