From memory, I can count about nine different CD issues and re-issues since Island Records produced CID126 for West Germany in 1985. CID126 was the only correct edition, in my opinion, and I've listened to my long-out-of-print CD ever since I found it still in an import bin in early 1991. All the re-issues since — Japanese CD edition 1986, Island-Polygram 1990, ZTT 1994, Island-Universal 1997/8, Repertoire 1999, the CD + DVD limited edition of 2003, the SACD 2004 re-issue — they were all wrong, all detracting from the original content, either through remixed editions prepared at around the same time for alternate markets (North American) or for packaging limitations (vinyl LP). Each re-issue came with that terrible letdown of "Why did you clowns bother?"

But this week, thanks to a tip from my friend in the forever awesome music group LMP, a proper 25th anniversary release of my all-time favourite album ever made, Propaganda's A Secret Wish, was announced and just put to sale.

At long last, hallelujah: THEY GOT IT RIGHT. Buy this as if your life depended on it.

By this, the original 9-track CD album (the fabled CID126 — that is, a product number — edition) has been restored for the first time since 1985. This was technically referred to as the "analogue recording." And oh my lord, it sounds astounding. It sounds like things that words haven't yet been made to describe. It is so much improved that I can still hear new elements within the music that I have never heard before in a thousand listenings. It is so good that you can undoubtedly make out synthesizer oscillations! I'll explain how and why in the mini-review )

So it's a dual-disc edition, and I'm obviously ordering a copy for my library. If a limited edition, audiophile quality vinyl production of this is made available, I will buy that, too, as probable as there will continue to be oxygen on this planet.

In the meantime, I'm listening to a "preview" from the internets, and it is truly without peer, oh my god. I haven't smoked in seven years, but once this ends, I'll be looking for a cigarette. It is truly that much better — even to ears that have heard this album north of a thousand times since the first time a co-worker friend in October 1990 lent me a copy of the 90288-2 U.S. Island CD version to preview. This was back when I was raving on end about Propaganda's 1990 reformation LP called 1234 that most Propaganda obsessives won't even dignify with their precious breath (mostly because Claudia Brücken had long since moved on to Act and to her solo work, while Ralf Dörper and Susanne Freytag only made brief cameos, leaving Michael Mertens to his own devices to assemble a "new" Propaganda with ex-members of Simple Minds and vocalist Betsi Miller. It was a critical and commercial disaster, though I still like it). My friend thought I could use a shakeup and made me listen to ASW.

Good move, Eric — wherever you are now.

January 2011

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