I'm not often enthusiastic about club-dance-techno-pop bands, most of which seem determined to copy each other to the point of exhaustion. But I'll make an exception for Erasure, which has a great deal more going for it than the vast majority of music you're likely to hear the next time you hit the dance floor.
Chief among the band's assets is vocalist Andy Bell, who has a remarkably rich and passionate voice--but Erasure does not rely on Bell pure and simple. It is the combination of Bell's vocals, a bouncy beat, and the often unexpectedly thoughtful and frequently bitter lyrics that do the trick. The result is a consistent sound that crackles with a sensuous passion, and at its best creates one memorable cut after another.
POP! suffers from the usual failings of every compilation album, which is to say that it generally goes for the obvious choice even when a lesser-known selection is clearly superior. But even so, it offers a solid overview of Erasure, from the purely danceable to the disquietingly emotional playing against the dancefloor rhythm. "Ship of Fools," "Chains of Love," and "A Little Respect" are perhaps the side of Erasure that are most recognized--but when the selections turn to such intense and lyrically sharp selections as "Drama" and "Love to Hate You," you know that you've stumbled into something special.
The compilation, in my opinion, saves the best for last, running a gamut from the intensely passionate and romantic "You Surround Me," to the purely elegant "Blue Savannah," to angry "Chorus," to the moody and introspective "Am I Right"--the latter of which may well be single finest thing in this collection. As a garnish, the collection finishes up with a very enjoyable cover of Abba's "Take A Chance." But whichever you happen to prefer, it's all good stuff. Recommended.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer