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OMD's first album since 1996. The first classic-lineup album since 1986. "New Babies: New Toys" comes in clean like a virtual world sunrise then fuzz-rubbers the bass, toughs up the drums, throws words like "shit" around — "Cream will float but shit will sell" to be precise — well, they couldn't come out the other side of the mountain, Buckaroo Banzai-style, without some grunge sticking to their sleek sides, could they? "If You Want It," track two, everything OMD ever perfected and ever will perfect, an anthem for anybody who needs to stand up and throw their arms out, walk out proud, jump, whatever definitive they're missing — "Nothing stops us/ Not today!" That girl in Katy Perry's "Firework" video, the one without the perfect body who finally cannonballs into the pool with her beautiful-skinned friends? She lives in this song too.

"History of Modern (Part 1)" takes it all back, nicely, politely, but, so sorry — the sun's gonna burn out. Which renders "If You Want It" all the more urgent — young people think they have time to waste. Of course, "History of Modern (Part II)" goes right back to "If You Want It" — right here, right now emotional rock climbing. They're sorry they scared you back there, but they thought they had to. Some of the rest honors Kraftwerk with deftly placed minimalism, and Tomita with electronic choirs. But Kraftwerk and Tomita at their most interesting kept a pulse an analogue to our aliveness, moving digital blood. OMD remembers all the best well.

  • Album: History of Modern (2010)
  • Artist: OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark to you small-print mavens)
  • Label: Bright Antenna
  • Songs: (1) New Babies: New Toys (2) If You Want It (3) History of Modern (Part I) (4) History of Modern (Part II) (5) Sometimes (6) RFWK (7) New Holy Ground (8) The Future, the Past, and Forever After (9) Sister Marie Says (10) Pulse (11) Green (12) Bondage of Fate (13) The Right Side? (14) Save Me
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