Thursday, October 7, 2010

Headhunter by Front 242

When I discovered Front 242 with the release of their Never Stop EP and the Front By Front album, the effect on me was explosive, and it sent me on a chase to find backcatalog recordings and similar artists. I hadn't realized that any variety of industrial music could be sufficiently listenable and danceable that I'd actually enjoy it.

The song "Headhunter" is probably their magnum opus, and it was the most commercially successful industrial music track ever recorded up to that point and the attendant CD Front by Front is the best selling item in the history of legendary industrial label Wax Trax! Records. Belgian Front 242 was hugely influential, and even after the 80s, bands like Covenant, Funker Vogt, and Apoptygma Berzerk were eager to admit that they were imitating Front 242's style in many ways. British band Mesh even were proud to announce that a reviewer had called their music, "like Front 242, only more melodic." While I don't necessarily agree with that (they sounded more like a fusion of Music For the Masses era Depeche Mode and Pretty Hate Machine era NIN to me, at least at that point in their career) the point is that they want to be identified with Front 242. That's a good thing.

After many years of listening to the original version, I got a little tired of it, and a few years ago I picked up this Funker Vogt remix, which is quite faithful in tone to the original. It was released on the Headhunter 2000 CD, which is a frankly kind of ridiculous 2 CD compilation of nothing but a gazillion remixes of the song. That means you don't get to see the bizarre Anton Corbijn directed music video (Corbijn did all of the video directing for Depeche Mode after 1987 or so, and also designed album covers for U2, Depeche Mode, Metallica, and more.) But you get to hear a different version of the song, at least.

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