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A friend introduced me to Industrial, EBM, Acid, and other sounds way back in 1990 while we were still in high school. What I never could've imagined is that I'd still be listening to them some 15 years later! This is testament to the genius that many of those bands were, but who never got to be appreciated by the mainstream quite the way they deserved. Official Version was to me THE album that defined Front 242's style and sound, with tracks like "Masterhit" and "Quite Unusual". I never get tired of playing this and other 242 albums, but I do go through streches of time when I don't listen to them and then I get to "rediscover" their beats and melodic sounds that really get the body moving. Front 242's Official Version. What a great band and what a great album!!
Through Official Version, the band members of Front 242 demonstrated further what they were capable of creating through their music equipment and image. This classic has amazing mixing and sequencing established through each track of the album. Front 242 stands like a rugged individual that is confronted by an era of autonomy and consent. The sound of the synthesizers, the lyrics and vocalization, the sequencing to each event, and the historic samples stand throughout the test of time. If the development of Front 242 was to be converted into pure light and energy, this album would represent one of the most significant signals and frequencies channeled through their great work. May the work of Front 242 continue to the end of time!
As always, Front 242 excels with the industrial sound... No surprise since they pretty much created the genre back in the 80's and have remained at the forefront of the dark side of dance music.
Front 242 are consistent and you always know what you are going to get; killer beats, slick keyboards, railing guitars, and introspecive lyrics delivered with a signature gutteral growl. Front 242 has a signature sound that many try to copy, but none can equal.
Yeah, this is an older album, but it is a 'must have' for fans of industrial dance music and fans of Front 242.
"Official Version" shows Front 242 finding for the first time the nuances, production values, and maturity that make them a classic group. Compared to "Geography", their previous full length, this album is much more powerful, layered, melodic and memorable. It's also consistent. The use of rhythmic, spliced samples is prevalent, and the synth work has grown beyond "tweaking" into full blown melodicism. Every song is a constantly shifting patchwork of sounds.
Jean Luc de Meyer is obviously much more comfortable with his elegant, low, smooth voice here. His vocal hooks provide most of the memorable moments on "Official Version". Unlike all but the best of "Geography", these lyrics are hard NOT to memorize. You'll have "The way morning broke was quite unusual" (Quite Unusual) and "It's up to you to decide!" (Agressiva Due) running through your head for days. Every lyric seems to function as a catchy, anthemic slogan, and yet they are all so meaningful. The attitude here is classic 242: clinical and analytic, yet socially conscious, mature and honest.
This album is FULL of classics. "Masterhit" is a danceable song with a beautiful, tasteful refrain that proves that an absurdly catchy EBM chorus need not be irritating or lacking in depth. "Quite Unusual" is a similarly wonderful dance track. "Rerun Time" shows their newfound ability to build tension over the course of a song. "Television Station" is one of my favorite tracks... a 2 minute build up that starts off sounding like late Skinny Puppy with a disjointed rhythm, whispered vocals and airy atmospherics (think "Mirror Saw" from Last Rights), and culminates in an indescribable melodic flourish.
There are several tracks here that branch into new directions, different from anything 242 have ever done. "Red Team" is such a track; a monologue over beautiful synth washes. de Meyer's political and intelligent lyrics shine here. The song is written from the perspective of the aggressor... "My willingness to destroy is your chance for improvement".
I could go on about every track here, but I've already written enough. Suffice to say "Official Version" is near perfect, and one of the absolute classics of 80's electronic music/industrial/EBM, on par with Skinny Puppy's "VIVIsect VI", Clock DVA's "Buried Dreams", Depeche Mode's "Black Celebration" and others. 5 stars.
Reviewed in the United States on February 21, 2001
I think that official Version is the first real masterpiece F242 ever made; The typical 242 style I usually bear in mind starts with this album and culminates with 'Tyranny For You'; their first hits are contained here, 'Masterhit' prophesies with its title its relative success, and other songs such as 'Quite Unusual' and 'Rerun Time' anticipates what later would become reality with 'Headhunter': a relative success outside the bounds of EBM music. I always think that if the best songs from this album would have appeared in a single cd with 'Front By Front's best songs it would have constituted a real masterpiece, since the style of these 2 works are similar; 'Official Version' is a good album which although not all the songs are like 'Masterhit', they all make up a really good album, as enjoyable and danceable as Front by Front and as melodic as Tyranny For You, though not as dark; I give it 4 stars, but Front 242 will always deserve 5 stars; it's a pity that the general mainstream usually forget this band when they remember the 80's; The Prodigy have usurped the success that Front 242 have always deserved; at least they admit the 242 influence; Was not Im Rhythmus Bleiben or Aggressiva similar to what Prodigy or Chemical Brothers are doing today? At least, I can still lock up into my room and enjoy Front 242's music in the intimacy and laugh at some prophets of music who usually think they have discovered in the "innovative 90's' what bands such as Front 242, Nitzer Ebb or Einstürzende Neubauten already did in the 'awful 80's'
Vengeful synths and angry rhythms, what else could we expect from Belgium's finest EBM group. What sets this album apart from the rest though is the skill of the song structures. No track feels like it's going nowhere, this is the sound of a band who knows what it wants. The opener, 'W.Y.H.I.W.Y.G'(What you hear is what you get) is an instrumental with menacing rhythms, but never too noisy to detract from the pleasure of listening. It is worth emphasising that, though influencing many of todays 'noise' and 'industrial' groups, Front 242 never overwhelmed the listener with noise. Every note can be heard, the force comes in the expression. 'Re-run' features Jean-Luc De Meyer in full force, his snarling tongue expressing the bands viewpoint with venom over an array of 80's synths and drumbeats. The standout track has to be 'Quite Unusual' with it's suprisingly melodic touches. Overall a great introduction to the sound of Front 242, and a landmark for all industrial music.
242's most remarkable album. This one had a profound effect on me in 1987. To this day I still can hear Jean Luc DeMeyer's vocals in my head ("Hey man you better move aside or I'll run you over..."-Television Station/ "The way the morning broke was quite unusual..."-Quite Unusual/ "It's a carnage, it's a carnage...official version..."-Slaughter). This album was a huge cold war statement and at the time really prevailed as well as 1988's VIVIsectVI by Skinny Puppy. Front 242 are THE prolific pioneers of the EBM movement. Bands like Funker Vogt, In Strict Confidence, VNV Nation, Informatik, etc. are obviously heavily influenced by 242. A "Tour De Force" album and by far my favorite!