As an overview of Art of Noise
's brief output, this best-of can't be beat, though it does inadvertently track their slide from forerunners to recyclers and cultural panderers. The 1-2-3 rush of "Beat Box," "Moments in Love," and "Close (To the Edit)" make this CD worth the money already -- at the time of their release, these singles swiped electronic music back from America (by way of Germany) and cut the whole thing up with ridiculous samples (a car starting, the omnipresent orchestral hit) and enjoyable art school posturing. It was like Dada
had invaded the charts, circa 1984. But soon, after their break with ZTT and joining China Records, it wasn't long until they were parodying themselves and trying to score pop hits with a recognizable "sound." Singles featured older pop stars trying to score a hit again (Duane Eddy
on "Peter Gunn," Tom Jones
on "Kiss"), current celebrities riding their own popularity wave (Max Headroom), or cover songs gussied up with a few more car starting sounds (the made-for-hire "Dragnet '88," used in the regrettable film remake). The vinyl version contains the (sometimes preferable) single mixes; the CD and cassette contain 12" remixes, good for the collector, bad on the patience. A similarly covered CD, only in pink (and released two years later), is also called "The Best Of" but focuses more on the group's album tracks.