Tag: Marilyn Manson


There are many bands from the Synth Britannia-era that are often perceived as being electronic, when in fact they either started off in a traditional band format and integrated synthesizers/sequencers or remained like that throughout most of their career.

ULTRAVOX, NEW ORDER and GARY NUMAN all fell into that format, but what about others who have successfully managed to meld the rigidity and coldness of electronics with the more human element of guitars.

This list aims to highlight tracks both vintage and more recent that give the listener the “best of both worlds” when it comes to an electronic and live band aesthetic. It is presented in chronological order with a restriction of one track per artist moniker…

ULTRAVOX All Stood Still (1980)

With the exception of ‘Mr X’ (and even that featured Billy Currie’s viola), all of the tracks on ‘Vienna’ featured live instrumentation of one form or another; whether it be Midge Ure’s guitar or Chris Cross’ live bass. Despite being underpinned by the band’s’ trademark Minimoog bass pulse and Currie’s squealing ARP Odyssey solo, ‘All Stood Still’ rocks pretty hard with Ure’s guitar running throughout in what would become the fourth single to be released from the album.

Available on the album ‘Vienna’ via EMI Music


VISAGE Visage (1980)

A hybrid of Giorgio Moroder electronics and heavy guitars, the song with its extended middle section showcases some truly wonderful interlocking sequencer parts. Despite some major axe-wielding done by Midge Ure and John McGeoch, there was still room for some Simmons drum rolls by RUSTY EGAN and a trademark BILLY CURRIE synth lead.

Available on the album ‘Visage’ via Polydor Records


JAPAN Quiet Life (1980)

‘Quiet Life’ which was originally the B-side to the UK single ‘I Second That Emotion’, only became a chart hit when it was released by Hansa Records to capitalize on the success of the ‘Tin Drum’ album. Featuring guitar work from Rob Dean (who used an E-Bow to achieve the long sustained notes on the track), he departed the band after the ‘Gentlemen Take Polaroids’ album when his guitar work started be regarded as superfluous to the band’s sound.

Available on the album ‘Quiet Life’ via Sony BMG


GARY NUMAN I Die: You Die (1980)

Combining Jupiter 4 arpeggiators, a Roland CR78 and chugging guitars, ‘I Die: You Die’ was a song written by Numan about the symbiotic relationship he had with the music press. Considering the track was a single, it was notable in that during its 3 and a half minute length, nearly half of the track was instrumental with a long intro and extended musical outro.

Available on the album ‘Premier Hits’ via Beggars Banquet


DURAN DURAN Careless Memories (1981)

Combining both of the signature electronic sounds from their eponymous debut, flanged sequencer and string synth, ‘Careless Memories’ also rocks because of Andy Taylor’s guitar which takes over the track from the second verse onwards, affirming The Guardian’s 2015 synopsis that DURAN DURAN were indeed “an electronic band with a heavy rock guitarist bolted on”.

Available on the album ‘Duran Duran’ via EMI Records



Although only charting at No42 in the UK charts, ‘Love My Way’ still remains a mainstay of New Wave / synth compilations from its era. Featuring Numan-inspired synths and a marimba played by track producer Todd Rundgren, the promo video was directed by Tim Pope who would go onto make his name as director of choice for THE CURE while guitarist John Ashton had a sideline producing THE SISTERS OF MERCY.

Available on the album ‘Forever Now’ via Sony Music


TEARS FOR FEARS Pale Shelter (1983)

TEARS FOR FEARS’ ‘Pale Shelter’ was released three separate times with an edit of the Mike Howlett produced version being made available after the success of the ‘Songs From the Big Chair’ album. The promo video for the Ross Cullum/Chris Hughes re-recording of the track is in turns both surreal and incomprehensible, but still doesn’t diminish the power of a song which combines acoustic guitars and electronics seamlessly.

Available on the album ‘Rule The World: The Greatest Hits’ via Universal Music


PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED The Order of Death (1984)

Notable for its use in the sci-fi film ‘Hardware’, ‘The Order of Death’ is a primarily instrumental piece with Floydian-influences and a mantra-like chant of “This is what you want, this is what you get” being the only featured vocal throughout. This atypical PiL track was arguably one of the better things about the film ‘Hardware’ which was a low-budget affair that owed more than a passing debt to ‘The Terminator’ and ‘Alien’, while it also latterly appeared in ‘The Blair Witch Project’.

Available on the album ‘This Is What You Want . . . This Is What You Get’ via Virgin Records


THE CURE Just Like Heaven (1987)

The glorious string synth melody helps this CURE track make it into the 25 of this listing. One of Robert Smith’s most covered songs, with interpretations ranging from a grunge guitar version by DINOSAUR JR through to one by the wildly inoffensive KATIE MELUA; what is less known is that an instrumental version of ‘Just Like Heaven’ was used as the theme music to the French TV programme ‘Les Enfants du Rock’, helping give the song a wider European exposure prior to its eventual release.

Available on the album ‘Greatest Hits’ via Fiction Records


DEPECHE MODE Personal Jesus (1990)

Despite courting controversy, ‘Personal Jesus’ was inspired by a book about ELVIS PRESLEY’s wife Priscilla; Martin Gore revealed to Spin Magazine: “It’s a song about being a Jesus for somebody else, someone to give you hope and care. It’s about how Elvis was her man and her mentor and how often that happens in love relationships; how everybody’s heart is like a god in some way. We play these god-like parts for people but no one is perfect, and that’s not a very balanced view of someone is it?”.

Available on the album ‘Violator’ via Mute Records


ELECTRONIC Get The Message (1991)

With a verse vocal melody scaringly similar to ABC’s ‘All of My Heart’, ‘Get The Message’ was the second single from the debut ELECTRONIC album. The Marr/Sumner collaboration cracked the Top 10 in 1991, but didn’t go down well with Melody Maker who described listening to the track as “Like watching a pony chew on a carrot for half an hour”!

Available on the album ‘Electronic’ via EMI Records


RAMMSTEIN Ich Will (2001)

With a synthetic introduction that sounds like a prime Violator-era DEPECHE MODE track, the song also features the twin guitar attack of Richard Kruspe and Paul Landers. Translated as “I want”, the track is noteworthy for the call and response section latterly in the piece, where RAMMSTEIN fans were recorded in an arena to get the epic and some might say, controversial Teutonic rally feel.

Available on the album ‘Made In Germany 1995-2011’ via Universal Music


NEW ORDER Crystal (2001)

There are countless NEW ORDER tracks that could feature on this list, in fact you could probably fill all 25 slots with their hybrid electronic / rock tracks. The ‘Crystal’ promotional video is notable for inspiring Brandon Flowers from THE KILLERS to name his act from the fictional band which mimes to the song has the name emblazoned on the drummer’s kick drum!

Available on the album ‘Singles’ via Rhino Records


MARILYN MANSON This Is The New Sh*t (2003)

‘This Is The New Sh*t’ takes a lyrically cynical swipe at over-obsessed music fans devotion to their favourite bands. The track combines glitchy synths, analogue step sequencers, a ‘When The Levee Breaks’-style drum pattern and a dynamic screamed chorus from MANSON. In one of music’s most unlikely (and inspired) pairings, GOLDFRAPP re-interpreted the track with Alison adding a wonderful 20s influenced outro replete with her interpretation of the sweary vocals.

Available on the album ‘Hot Fuss’ via Interscope Records


THE KILLERS Somebody Told Me (2004)

With an opening 20 second blitzkrieg of synths and guitars, ‘Somebody Told Me’ needed a couple of releases for it to become a decent chart hit in the UK. Amusingly described by singer and keyboardist Brandon Flowers as “‘Rio’ with chest hair”, the song eventually reached No3 in the UK singles charts when it was re-released in 2005.

Available on the album ‘Hot Fuss’ via Lizard King Records


THE BRAVERY An Honest Mistake (2005)

American act THE BRAVERY actually won ‘BBC Sound Of 2005’ and had a Top 10 single with their debut track ‘An Honest Mistake’, but unfortunately weren’t able to follow it up. Successfully merging sequenced synths and NEW ORDER-style guitars, the band also secured the support slot on DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Touring The Angel’ set of live shows but ditched the synths by their lukewarm second album ‘The Sun & The Moon’.

Available on the album ‘The Bravery’ via Polydor Records


METRIC Poster Of A Girl (2005)

Led by Emily Haines, Canadian combo METRIC and their ‘Poster Of A Girl’ features a mixture of fizzing monosynths that evoke those used on THE CURE’s ‘Seventeen Seconds’ and ‘Faith’. The song’s deliciously filthy lyrics and seedy video combine to make this track a classic hybrid of guitars and synthesizers.

Available on the ‘Live It Out’ album via Last Gang Recodes



‘Only’ breaks all the rules of song structuring (the listener has to wait a full two minutes and eighteen seconds before the chorus hook comes in) and showcases a video promo which owes more than a passing debt to MIDGE URE’s ‘If I Was’. The song itself has one of those signature Reznor synth parts that immediately identifies it as a NIN track and combines this with sequencers and guitars to great effect.

Available on the album ‘With Teeth’ via Interscope Records


INFECTED MUSHROOM Smashing The Opponent (2009)

It would be easy to dismiss Israel’s INFECTED MUSHROOM as an EDM / Psytrance act, but dig a little deeper and you will hear a multitude of influences. ‘Smashing The Opponent’ featuring vocals from Jonathan Davis of KORN, owes a major debt to DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Behind the Wheel’. A superb sequenced synth bassline drives the track along whilst a mixture of clean and distorted guitars help give the track an added live dimension & power that electronics alone would struggle to manage.

Available on the album ‘Legend Of The Black Shawarma’ via Perfecto Records


MUSE Uprising (2009)

An unholy mix of the ‘Dr Who’ theme, ‘White Wedding’ by BILLY IDOL, ‘Call Me’ by BLONDIE and the BLACK SABBATH track ‘Children of the Grave’, ‘Uprising’ saw MUSE bring synths to the fore with this GOLDFRAPP-inspired schaffel stomp from the album ‘The Resistance’. The similarity with the BLONDIE song resulted in Debbie Harry and co mashing up the two songs when playing live.

Available on the album ‘The Resistance’ via Warner Music


WHITE LIES E.S.T. (2009)

One of the standout tracks from their debut album ‘To Lose My Life’, ‘E.S.T.’ was inspired by Electric Shock Therapy, the form of medical treatment that was given to WHITE LIES bass player Charles Cave’s mentally ill great grandmother. The track combines U2 style guitar lines and bombastic synths with Harry McVeigh’s Julian Cope aping vocal style to great effect.

Available on the album ‘To Lose My Life’ via Fiction Records


KORN featuring SKRILLEX + KILL THE NOISE Narcissistic Cannibal (2011)

From the ‘When KORN went Dubstep’ phase, with SKRILLEX on production duties and synths/programming. ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK vividly remembers the general confusion which greeted KORN when they unveiled their new electronic direction in 2012; the act played Brixton Academy supported by Dubstep act DOWNLINK and a DJ set from frontman Jonathan Davis, much to the general bemusement of the band’s hard core fans.

Available on the album ‘The Path Of Totality’ via Roadrunner Records.


IAMX I Come With Knives (2013)

With a German lullaby-style intro vocal, ‘I Come With Knives’ has a pretty low-key start until the listener is dragged screaming and kicking into the chorus with Chris Corner’s histrionic vocals at times evoking MUSE’s Matt Bellamy. The track successfully combines live drums, guitars and synths and is a definite standout in the IAMX catalogue.

Available on the album ‘The Unified Field’ via IAMX


BATTLE TAPES Valkyrie (2015)

The standout track from LA-based BATTLE TAPES’ debut album ‘Polygon’. ‘Valkyrie’ is a brilliant merging of rock band dynamics and sequenced electronic elements. Lyrically the song is one of those that the listener can analyse countless times and still not have a clue what it’s all about (…and that’s a good thing).

Available on the album ‘Polygon’ via Battle Tapes


VOX LOW Something Is Wrong (2015)

Taking their cues from JOY DIVISION but welding them to a dance music aesthetic, France’s VOX LOW’s epic 8 and a half minute single ‘Something Is Wrong’ is a slow builder with wonderfully quirky lyrics about patching synths and flangers. “You plug the wire… not the good wire…”

Available on the single ‘Something Is Wrong’ via Correspondant 35


Text by Paul Boddy
13th January 2018

The Synics Guide To LADY GAGA

Et Je Veux Ta Revanche

LADY GAGA first came to prominence in Summer 2008 when her debut album ‘The Fame’ was released in the US and her song ‘Just Dance’ became a huge hit.

This was superior pop R’n’B but despite slices of synth, there didn’t appear to be anything at the time which stood out within a modern electronic pop context.

Then in December 2008, Caroline Sullivan’s now prophetic article for The Guardian entitled ‘Slaves To Synth’ was published.

Her piece proudly announced that in 2009, female fronted electro pop would be the next big thing with her focus not only on LADYHAWKE, LA ROUX and LITTLE BOOTS but also LADY GAGA.

At the time, a full European campaign had yet to be fully engaged but by January 2009, the former Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta had reached No1 in the UK with ‘Just Dance’ and ‘The Fame’ began. While the album had far too many songs on it, several cuts proved to be space age pop at its finest and indicated there was more than meets the eye.

LADY GAGA’s well thought out publicity machine ran like a dream. There were her controversial promo videos and extravagant live appearances which included amongst several props, a pyrotechnic brassiere! And there was her quirky interview style; who could forget her appearance on the BBC’s Tonight With Jonathan Ross sipping from her infamous china tea cup!

The brilliant ‘Poker Face’ was released as a follow-up single. LADY GAGA was now in a bizarre way spearheading the Revenge Of The Synth. Many young ears had now been opened to sound of electronic music for the first time.

As the year progressed, many LADY GAGA fans were finding that acts such as LA ROUX and LITTLE BOOTS were appealing to them too.

Although a total theatrical queen (she says she is a gay man trapped in a woman’s body!), combined with her vivid imagination and classical training, this has done all the musical talking. Thanks her main collaborator Swedish producer RedOne, a European retro-futuristic sheen highlighted all the melodic and dynamic structures within her best songs.

This sound came fully to the fore with ‘Bad Romance’ from ‘The Fame Monster’ 2CD repackage in late 2009. Observers who had admitted to not being in the slightest bit interested before had now succumbed to the joys of LADY GAGA. This was hardly a surprise because when all the hype dies down, what always survives and prevails in music are good tunes.

‘The Fame Monster’ also appeared to reflect an enhanced European musical sensibility. In an age where free downloading is the norm, the Haus Of Gaga has actually sold in vast quantities. And now with new album ‘Born This Way’, LADY GAGA prepares for total world domination with an even more immediate Euro friendly sound.

Despite the war cry of “Don’t be a drag, just be a queen” to signal her return as cheerleader for the downtrodden outsider, the title track was a comparative disappointment compared with the quality and impact of ‘Bad Romance’.

Structural similarities with MADONNA’s ‘Express Yourself’ haven’t helped in the critical assessment.

Also, the terribly cheesy but enjoyable Latino dance romp ‘Americano’ is likely to make some listeners throw things.

As with her debut collection, there are just too many tracks to make ‘Born This Way’ a wholly satisfying listen. By the law of averages, the LADY GAGA catalogue is not all good stuff with some dire rock numbers and generic urban fodder included.

But the RedOne and Fernando Garibay productions in particular with their synthetic pop feel are quite superb. If all the best bits were taken from the Gaga musical portfolio, there would be a fantastic eighteen track Best Of in there. But with the incredible number of superior remixes out there too, it is difficult for the curious to actually know where to start.

So ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK proudly brings you a synics guide to LADY GAGA, specially tailored for the more discerning synthpop fan…

Just Dance

Her first big hit featuring rapper Colby O’Donis, it was nominated for a ‘Best Dance Recording’ Grammy in 2009 but eventually lost out to DAFT PUNK’s ‘Harder Better Faster Stronger’. Although rhythmically rooted to modern R’n’B, the song’s arrangement touched many bases and became a good introduction to LADY GAGA. The mash-up with ‘Confusion’  put together by DJ EARWORM under the title ‘Just Dance to New Order’ is one of the many variations worth checking out.

Available on the album ‘The Fame Monster’

LoveGame – Chew Fu Ghettohouse Fix

Naughtiness personified, the lush intricacies and melodic complexity of ‘LoveGame’ revolve around a repetitive backing track. The genius of this song has been highlighted by a superb orchestral arrangement by Walt Ribeiro. On the ‘Chew Fu Ghettohouse Fix’, what better than to have a noisy duet with the ‘Anti-Christ Superstar’ himself, MARILYN MANSON. A sped up heavy house remix with lots of shouting from the one time Brian Warner, this rework keeps both Goths and pop princesses happy on the dancefloor!

Available on the album ‘The Remix’

Poker Face

With its staccato vocal and what sounded like backing provided by a bunch of robotic stormtroopers, the brilliant ‘Poker Face’ amusingly recalled BONEY M with its “Mumm-mumm-mumm-maah” refrain. The song has since become ubiquitous and spawned some amusing mash-ups featuring renditions by actor Christopher Walken and South Park’s Eric Cartman who incidentally sounds like DIVINE in his version!

Available on the album ‘The Fame Monster’

Paparazzi – DEMOLITION CREW Remix

Seemingly about fame, this actually is the most disturbing stalker’s anthem since MORRISSEY’s ‘The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get’. While the original R’n’B flavour suits the track, the DEMOLITION CREW offer this superb remix which is more New York electro disco with pulsing arpeggios and syncopated machine rhythms galore.

Available on the single ‘Paparazzi (The Remixes)’

Eh-Eh (Nothing Else To Say) – PET SHOP BOYS Remix

Pur-lease! The reggae version on ‘The Fame’ is actually quite lame. But given a danceable poptastic treatment, it was rescued from down the dumper by this PET SHOP BOYS remix. Messrs Tennant and Lowe were already big fans of LADY GAGA and enhanced her standing no-end when she joined them to sing ‘What Have I Done To Deserve This?’? as part of their BRITS 2009 medley performance.

Available on the album ‘The Remix’

The Fame – Glam As You Remix

The album’s title track is a great funky disco number with a very catchy chorus, but here it’s given the squelchy bassline and buzzy synth treatment by Guena LG. It is also specially fortified with a solid four-to-the-floor dance beat. Although appearing to be obsessed with the cult of celebrity, she was actually poking fun at attention seeking rich kids, something she would be well qualified for as a former class mate of Paris Hilton!

Available on the EP ‘Hit Mixes’

Bad Romance

The almost Italo disco styled “woah-oh, oh-oh-ooaaah” refrain, layered synthetics and big chorus suddenly woke people up. It was at this point that Gaga synics began to change their minds. Ending with Ms Germanotta sitting on a bed with a burnt corpse, there are hints of some strange things going on upstairs. This all adds up to making her such a fascinating character. Oooh la la!

Available on the album ‘The Fame Monster’


LADY GAGA fused danceable pop with a New York performance art cool that hadn’t really been seen since MADONNA. T. ‘Alejandro’ offered a modern day electro take on ‘La Isla Bonita’ with its blissful Hispanic feel. One of the great LADY GAGA traits is her uplifting choruses, always simple but very effective. And speaking of MADONNA, their bitch fight on Saturday Night Live in 2009 showed that she had a sense of humour too.

Available on the album ‘The Fame Monster’


“Don’t call me Gaga” she exclaims: “I’ve never seen one like that before!” It starts like a typical Euro tune but then the drums pound away in accented syncopation. The dark lyrics almost have as many deviant sexual thoughts as an episode of True Blood: “That boy is a monster, he ate my heart and then he ate my brain!”

Available on the album ‘The Fame Monster’

Dance In The Dark

Highlighting the dangers of cosmetic surgery, this is brilliantly euphoric with a classic synthpop feel that features strong hints of ‘True Faith’ and Strangelove shaped by Fernando Garibay who impressed enough here to attain a more significant role in the production of the ‘Born This Way’ album. ‘Dance In The Dark’ is probably the nearest LADY GAGA will come to doing a NEW ORDER or DEPECHE MODE cover although there was actually a rumour going round that she was considering covering ‘People Are People’!!

Available on the album ‘The Fame Monster’


A duet with BEYONCE that has R’n’B producer Rodney Jerkins at the controls, ‘Telephone’ turns out to be a bouncy work-out reminiscent of some of the more interesting urban/electro fusions that divas like RIHANNA have taken into the charts in recent times. Whereas ‘The Fame’ was very much an electro R’n’B album, most of the eight songs on ‘The Fame Monster’ bonus CD could probably be defined as more electropop with some R’n’B influences thrown in.

Available on the album ‘The Fame Monster’

Marry The Night

On ‘Marry The Night’, the opening salvo on ‘Born This Way’, LADY GAGA does a rippin kittin as she goes all warrior queen via DONNA SUMMER with this club friendly celebration of hedonism. Almost like a 21st Century take on PET SHOP BOYS’ ‘Tonight Is Forever’, producer Fernando Garibay adds some darker electronic progressions compared with the brighter digi-pop of his predecessor RedOne while the chorus soars with uncradled euphoria. Listen out for the DURAN DURAN sample too…

Available on the album ‘Born This Way’

Government Hooker

Despite a touch of MARIA CALLAS operatics in the intro, ‘Government Hooker’ launches into some dysfunctional electropop in the vein of GIRLS ALOUD at their XENOMANIA-led best with a chunky bass triplet in the engine room powering away alongside the Casio bleeps and percussive Man Machine blips. This sly dig at history’s political sex scandals is one of the ‘Born This Way’ album’s highlights.

Available on the album ‘Born This Way’

Judas – MIRRORS Une Autre Monde Mix – Nuit

MIRRORS take the discordant verse backing on their ‘Une Autre Monde Mix – Nuit’ and keep Gaga’s bizarre intonation that lets her get away with saying “arse” rather a lot but remove the very poppy chorus that was not wholly unlike that of ‘Bad Romance’. The result gives things an extra darker resonance in keeping with the implied blasphemy. The edgier synthpop continues with the pulsing middle eight that somehow manages to have both feet in The World Of Mirrors and The Haus of Gaga.

Available on the download bundle ‘Judas (Remix EP Part 1)’


Almost reborn in the USA, this is a guilty pleasure that sounds like it’s been lifted straight off the soundtrack of ‘St Elmo’s Fire’. ‘Hair’ is Gaga in full ‘Brat Pack’ mode with sax, piano, compressed drums and power chords thrown into the melting pot plus the sort of voice that the big bouffanted Wilson sisters from HEART used to belt out regularly on MTV. Although not as interesting as album closer ‘The Edge Of Glory’, this is immensely catchy and gives BELINDA CARLISLE a run for her money.

Available on the album ‘Born This Way’


“I don’t speak German but I can if you like! Ich bin mir absolut klar, ich trag den Namen Monster”; the Germanic dance influences on ‘Scheiße’ come to the fore with Ms Germanotta monologuing in Deutsch while RedOne provides his futuristic trance sheen on this thunderous, highly enjoyable warehouse romp. Only SCOOTER and lots of shouting are missing from this party!

Available on the album ‘Born This Way’

Bloody Mary

A superb mid-paced beat driven ballad in the vein of MADONNA with Gregorian chants, pizzicato stabs, vintage synths and increasingly prevalent religious references in the mix. “I won’t crucify the things you do” she says. If ‘Judas’ is LADY GAGA’s ‘Like A Prayer’, then ‘Bloody Mary’ could well be her ‘Oh Father’.

Available on the album ‘Born This Way’

The Edge Of Glory

This superbly bizarre and anthemic number may well be constructed like a Springsteen stomper complete with a wholly authentic Clarence Clemons sax break, but ‘The Edge Of Glory’ strangely ends up sounding like PAT BENATAR mashed up with LA DÜSSELDORF over a Teutonic techno beat! Another Fernando Garibay production, he ably fills the mantle previously held by RedOne as chief helmsmen.

Available on the album ‘Born This Way’

LADY GAGA’s albums ‘The Fame Monster’,‘The Remix’ and ‘Born This Way’ are released by Interscope/Polydor Records



Text by Chi Ming Lai
16th June 2011, updated 1st February 2018