Frankie Goes To Hollywood join the ranks of so many other bands of yesteryear on November 2nd with a fresh (and in time for the Christmas markets) greatest hits package. This time round ZTT have seen fit to put together a double CD which collects the obvious hits, some new obligatory mixes and a bunch of rarities and hard to find items.
This is by no means a straight up hits package, for those old enough to remember Frankie the first time around their collaborations with the label ZTT and producer Trevor Horn often yielded an often dizzying amount of single variations which contained various remixes and re-edits coupled with some pretty unlikely cover versions.
For those looking to sate their curiosity and explore the band for the first time all the expected hits are on offer. ‘Relax’ and ‘Two Tribes’ have maintained a degree of timelessness (especially the latter) possibly due to Trevor Horn’s mythical production, times may have been changed these two singles haven’t been tamed by the passing years.
There’s also the ‘The Power Of Love’ which of course will get some hammer in the pubs at Christmas and ‘Welcome To The Pleasuredome’ which does show what the band could achieve when they put their shoulder behind the wheel. Some of the highlights of the album come in the form of the original remixes which despite the limitations of the time do work pretty well. Sadly some of the covers are ill advised and lets be fair it doesn’t matter who sings ‘Ferry Across The Mersey’, its still a sentimental piece of toss and even the most golden pair of tonsils couldn’t make a silk purse out of this particular sows ear. Versions of ‘War’ and ‘Born To Run’ were always going to struggle purely on the basis that they were battling against such fantastic originals and while Holly Johnson proved he could actually sing there are just some songs that should be left alone.
The brand new mixes might well have been a chance to shine some new light on old tunes, but it in this case I would suggest the wrong people have been chosen for the job. Edgier excursions would have been more than appropriate in this instance and you cant help but feel handing the remixes to people like Chicane was nothing more than a safe bet for a dull result.
As a consequence what you have here is by no means a perfect collection, perhaps guilty in places of self indulgence or from another perspective a chance to catch up on some of those rarities if you are a fan. However if you are looking to get a hold of all the big tunes in one handy package then I feel this should suffice.