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Pop - Released May 31, 1980 | Some Bizzare

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Pop - Released January 1, 2009 | Universal Music Group International

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Although they released three full albums, a number of EPs and a seemingly endless stream of compilations, Soft Cell will always and forever be known as "the duo who did 'Tainted Love'." This obscure R&B single, given a techno-trash workover by singer Marc Almond and keyboardist Dave Ball, was an enormous hit on both sides of the Atlantic and has been revived endlessly ever since its 1982 release. This 1994 EP, released to cash in on the song's newfound popularity due to its use in a television commercial, features one of the best of the many versions of the song, a lengthy medley which pairs Ed Cobb's tune with a languid version of Holland-Dozier-Holland's "Where Did Our Love Go." The EP also adds two later Soft Cell singles, "Loving You, Hating Me" and "Where the Heart Is," plus a negligible remix of the title track.
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Electronic/Dance - Released September 28, 2018 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Electronic/Dance - Released January 1, 2010 | Cleopatra Records

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Pop - Released October 7, 2003 | Cooking Vinyl

4 stars out of 5 - "...Absinthe to the Pet Shop Boys' vanilla..."
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Pop - Released October 1, 2009 | Cleopatra Records

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Electronic/Dance - Released September 28, 2018 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Pop - Released June 29, 2017 | Some Bizzare

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Electronic/Dance - Released May 31, 2017 | Some Bizzare

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Pop - Released May 31, 1982 | Some Bizzare

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Pop - Released May 20, 1990 | Some Bizzare

This would seem, at least by the title, that this would be a perfect Soft Cell collection, since it has the group's singles. Thing is, most of these are remixes and reworkings from 1991, not the original recordings, which means it's hardly of interest to the audience who just wants the original versions of Soft Cell's greatest moments. It's passable, to a certain extent, since it has the songs, but it's better to hold out for a collection that contains the real deal. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Electronic/Dance - Released January 5, 1983 | Some Bizzare

While it has some mediocre moments, this tense, quirky release also has some magnificent outings, including the epic "Martin" (based on the obscure George Romero psycho/vampire movie), a cut that was originally included on a bonus 12", and the relentless title cut. Not as cheap or sleazy in its sound as Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, the album was still prone to melodramatic writing and performance. By all means, miss the "Hendrix Medley," another bonus cut. ~ Steven McDonald
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Electronic/Dance - Released March 15, 2019 | Cleopatra Records

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Pop - Released January 1, 2002 | Cooking Vinyl

Soft Cell's fourth studio album was released a full 18 years after the duo's third, This Last Night in Sodom (1984). During those 18 years, both Marc Almond and Dave Ball pursued solo careers to huge success, and occasionally worked together on albums (Marc Almond's wonderful 1990 album, Enchanted) and remix singles. But here, the two are together in full force. Almond's lyrics are among the best he has ever written, especially on the tragic "Whatever It Takes," which seems to be the sequel to their debut single, "Fun City," revisiting the same character 25 years later. It all comes together with brilliant writing and Ball's atmospheric and swelling arrangement of the eerie music. And the music has grown; sure, it sounds like an updated Soft Cell, but the '80s are nowhere in sight. Wisely, this is not a "retro" album with re-recordings of the duo's big hits, but rather a more mature Soft Cell. Overall, the album has a dark, semi-political tone reflecting the late '90s and early '00s. While it is dark, it is also captivating and accessible. Almond's voice is strong and emotive, living and breathing his stories and observations. Autobiographical? Perhaps, but in the end it does not matter. The stories are vivid, and the music incredible. The only real shame is that Almond and Ball were not creating music for 18 years, because this album shows the talent and ability of these two writers, and how the times have adapted to them. ~ Aaron Badgley
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Pop - Released September 7, 2018 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

This single-CD compilation collects all the singles by '80s new romantic/synth pop duo Soft Cell. Fronted by the flamboyant Marc Almond, the group were chart fixtures for many years with their arresting combo of melodic, then-futuristic synthetic pop and dark, melancholy, almost Baroque lyrics. Alongside their biggest hits like "Tainted Love" and "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye," the album also contains the newly composed double-A-side single "Northern Lights"/"Guilty ('Cos I Say You Are)." [A comprehensive five-CD version, Keychains & Snowstorms: The Soft Cell Story, is also available in the UK, containing B-sides, rarities, remixes, and live recordings.] ~ John D. Buchanan
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Rock - Released January 1, 2008 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

4 stars out of 5 -- "The Manhattan Clique Remix of 'Bedsitter' is excellent...a long, tense build based on that cool double-speed bassline at the end of the original."
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Electronic/Dance - Released July 26, 2019 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Pop - Released January 1, 2000 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Although a vinyl box set appeared during the early 1980s, and several of the mixes therein were subsequently appended to CD reissues of Soft Cell's regular albums, 1999's three-CD The Twelve Inch Singles represented the first ever corralling of the duo's entire extended remix output, and with it, undying evidence for Soft Cell's claim to immortality. Great 45s and terrific albums told only part of the story, after all. Across their earliest 12" singles, the sequence that led from "Memorabilia" to "Torch," Soft Cell utterly rejuvenated a format that had been growing increasingly stale and uninspired, not only offering purchasers more music for their money, but ensuring that it was music they'd actually want, as opposed to an extra few minutes of beat nailed onto the outro. And so "Tainted Love" segued into a breathless lament through "Where Did Our Love Go?"; "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye," commenced with a three minute-plus clarinet solo, and "Torch" descended into a spoken word passage in which guest vocalist Cindi Ecstacy reduces Almond's attempts at fawning fan worship to ashes. Later in life, with the duo now bucking against the European Top 40 fame that had so unexpectedly embraced them, Soft Cell's 12"s stretched even further. Routinely doubling the length of the familiar 45s, the hysterical angst of the B-side "It's a Mug's Game," the haunting dismissiveness of "Numbers," and the percussive self-destruction of "Soul Inside" transformed songs that weren't that friendly to begin with into veritable fire storms of assaultive dynamics. By the time one reaches the final salvo of releases -- a pair of James Bond covers, a forgotten BBC radio session, and the electric "Down in the Subway" -- Soft Cell were all but unrecognizable as the sweet young things who sang "Tainted Love" just three years before. Their final single closed with a brittle cover of the Heartbreakers' "Born to Lose," and so, it seemed, it had turned out. Soft Cell broke up not because they wanted to, but because it was the only way they could ever achieve what they really needed. Completing and concluding the saga, the The Twelve Inch Singles package closes with four 1991 remixes. The initial 1999 release, however, also packed a "Club 69 Future Mix" of "Tainted Love," a track whose inclusion apparently so dismayed Marc Almond that he requested the release be withdrawn before issue (around 4,000 copies escaped to the stores). It finally returned to stores in 2001 with a revised version omitting the offending mix and, quite honestly, it isn't really missed. ~ Dave Thompson
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Pop - Released January 1, 2008 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Pop - Released September 7, 2018 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

This comprehensive five-CD collection gathers singles, B-sides, rarities, remixes, and live recordings by the British new romantic/synth pop duo Soft Cell. Fronted by the flamboyant Marc Almond, the group were chart fixtures for many years with their arresting combo of melodic, then-futuristic synthetic pop and dark, melancholy, almost baroque lyrics. [A single-CD version, Keychains & Snowstorms: The Singles, is also available, featuring the newly composed double-A-side single "Northern Lights"/"Guilty ('Cos I Say You Are)."] ~ John D. Buchanan