In the 80′s, when I wanted a Zang Tuum Tumb tattoo, drew ZTT logos all over my portfolios and wished to be in England in the summertime with my love (HEY!), I became a huge fan of the German group Propaganda. I’m not sure if it had to do with them being German, but I loved Kraftwerk and Accept so maybe it wasn’t much of an issue. However, their music seemed to be a bit more dark and melancholy than some of the British pop going on at the time. But looking back, I think much of what I was hearing from England in the 80′s came from MTV, back when the former-music network was showing a ride range of sounds. While Propaganda didn’t get a lot of airtime in the U.S., it was the idea of them being “something that should be more popular” that kept me listening. A Secret Wish was an album that seemed a bit more sophisticated compared to the random-yet-carefully-selected sounds of Art Of Noise and the deliberate sexual overtones of Frankie Goes To Hollywood. As a teen, maybe that made an impression on me, that something so dark and melancholy could also be sensual. Maybe that’s me.
25 years later, ZTT/Salvo have reissued the album as a special 2CD Deluxe Edition, and if you were ever someone that made attempts to collect ZTT’s vast discography, you’re going to enjoy what’s on here. Not only do you get the original A Secret Wish album in full, but you also have a number of remixes and “revisions”, some unreleased remixes, and even the original program that was on the “Duel”/”Jewel” cassingle. At least for me in the U.S., the cassingles were hard to come buy after their initial release, so hearing the 20 minute “Do Well” (which utilizes “The First Cut”, “Duel”, “Jewel (Cut Rough)”, Wonder”, and “Bejeweled” is a trip.
Not surprisingly, all of these songs hold up incredibly well 25 years later, especially “p-Machinery” with its massive wall of synths and the underrated “Sorry For Laughing”, and to hear Claudia Brucken speak in “Dream Within A Dream” and “The Last Word (Strength To Dream)” brings me back to a time when I was dreaming for bigger and better, and to find a way to live out my dreams.
The booklet will be a treat for liner note junkies, designed in typical ZTT fashion with loads of classic photos used throughout the years on album and 12″ single covers, and with that Anton Corbijn eye for things that I came to know and love. It would be nice if some of these songs were covered by today’s artists, and maybe it will come around again in another 25 years. In that time, that could be 25 years of Propaganda appreciation, which would not be a bad thing at all. This deluxe edition has me on my knees, but years later, I now need assistance to get me back on my feet.