Wicked!! (EMI, 1992)

Wicked

Wicked r

Review
Wicked!! takes its name from the opening seconds of track one: Ebeneezer Goode, featured here is the rare Shamen Vocal mix. The compilation is a one-off, a curious mix of styles showcasing the good, the bad and the ugly of 1992 – with the tagline “18 massive hits”. Ashley Abram and the Box Music team are in the driving seat. Naughty, naughty, naughty: if you have the UK CD single of Ebeneezer Good, you’ll notice that the track known as Shamen Dub is actually this sublime Shamen Vocal. Now that’s cleared up, move onto Abba-esque, Erasure’s summer-defining EP that works as both a faithful updating of the Swedish pop sound and a glorious synth pop trip. Including the lesser-played Lay All Your Love On Me is a wise choice; resigned melancholia never sounded so danceable.

The heavenly sounds continue with Snap’s Rhythm Is A Dancer and U2’s uplifting Even Better Than The Real Thing (The Perfecto Mix). It’s the 4:32 radio edit; a hedonistic reminder of youth. Read more about that era on Now Dance ’92. George Michael’s reboot on Too Funky is superb; infectiously groovy and 100% funk. Time for the 7″ edit of Jimmy Nail’s Ain’t No Doubt with its quality bassline and smooth horns which in turn slips into Undercover’s smooth sax groove Baker Street. Wrap all of this up in a Boo ribbon as Betty brings us on a sultry spin to the lush textures of Let Me Take You There.

“In the midst of life we are in debt, etc.”
And now, The Smiths. Although split since 1987, WEA were about to release Best…I, a random collection of singles and album tracks. Originally their second 45, This Charming Man was reissued to promote the compilation, its two CD singles rounding-up the 7″ and 12″ B-sides [Jeane, Accept Yourself, Wonderful Woman] and all those remixes. The regular version is here – forever known as (Manchester) – and sounds as amazing as it did when I saw it on Top Of The Pops in 1983. The 12″ from White’s, Wexford.

“But I’m going to meet the one I love”
Appropriately enough, I Don’t Care is next. The band took their name from the forlorn 1985 Smiths single and dropped an E. A fantastically wild and catchy number. The single version starts about 40 seconds into the video below. We then edge back to the dance floor. Build it up with Sunscreem’s undying devotional hymn Love U More. And then KWS covering Rock Your Baby while Kylie steers the ship with the questioning What Kind Of Fool (Heard All That Before). Recorded for her Greatest Hits collection and her last original single for PWL, emerging in August 1992.

Take That And Party’s fifth single was the pleasant I Found Heaven, written by Billy Griffin. Next comes one of 2 Unlimited’s lesser lights, The Magic Friend. This CD is hotly mixed; Messiah’s I Feel Love jumps in, disco inferno. And finally some move-bustin’ R&B: Bobby Brown’s super jamming joint Humpin’ Around. Close out this most enjoyable disc with the sweet sounds of En Vogue’s My Lovin’ with its locked sample of The Payback.

Favourite tracks
George Michael – Too Funky

Shakespears Sister – I Don’t Care

Lest we forget
The Smiths – This Charming Man

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6 Responses to Wicked!! (EMI, 1992)

  1. Andrew Chinnock says:

    This always felt a bit like Awesome 3, but without the Now style inlay. Pity about the overlapping of tracks on this. Some rarely compiled tunes but not the album to get pristine 7″ versions unfortunately. The Betty Boo track is used again on Now 23.

    Pity Lay All Your Love On Me wasn’t the opening track on Now 22. Best on the Abba-esque EP for me!

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Thanks Andrew. Ah yes “hotly mixed” is how I described it. Describing this as Awesome! 3 is very apt – pity the same quality control wasn’t kept. Might make my own version sometime. Agree re Lay All Your Love On Me – brilliant!

      • Andrew Chinnock says:

        Talking of pristine 7″, any idea where there is a top version of the Perfecto Edit of Even Better Than The Real Thing? Discogs doesn’t suggest much and the only 2 UK compilations I know of where it appears (this and Now Dance 92) suffer from overlapping. There was a promo cd single for well over £40 but I wasn’t going to pay that! I have the cd single and I’ve done my own edit (same as I did to get a proper radio edit of M People’s ‘One Night in Heaven’) but it’s nicer having an original!

        • nlgbbbblth says:

          Hi Andrew, the Island promo (which originated in the US) is best source – I think it has been down as low as €15 / €20 in the past. Someone else I know ripped the audio from the music video which is on the Achtung Baby Super Deluxe. It was curiously absent from all the CDs (I bought regular remaster, Super Deluxe, Uber Deluxe)

          • nlgbbbblth says:

            U2 Songs lists the following:
            NOW DANCE ’92: Even Better Than the Real Thing (The Perfecto Mix – Radio Edit) (4:26)
            “This mix is a shortened version of the radio edit. It is part of a continuous mix therefore the first and last few seconds are tracked with the song before and after, leaving the song ending earlier than the Radio Mix found on promotional CDs.”

            WICKED: Even Better Than the Real Thing (The Perfecto Mix – Radio Edit Alternate) (4:33)
            “This version is very similar to the Radio Edit of The Perfecto Mix but there are some slight differences. This version is shorter. It removes the 0.69s of silence at the start, and removes 3s of silence at the end of the radio edit. It fades out slightly earlier, ending 0.43s earlier than the radio edit found on the promo CD. And this version adds an additional 0.12s of sound at the start of the mix which isn’t present on the original radio edit found on the promotional CD. On the Wicked!! CD this is labeled The Perfecto Mix only.”

            • Andrew Chinnock says:

              Thank you for those. I find it quite amazing that it’s such a difficult version to locate. Abram ruined 2!!

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