So after eight months and lots of travel interruptions, live concerts [including a fantastic OMD gig – my favorite ever, in April], and the occasional off-OMD post to break up the logjam, we stand atop the summit of Mount OMD and behold the vista before us! What, prithee, is the Rock G.P.A. that 22 albums [some OMD off-branded] and 39 years bring to us? In spite of four 4.0 ranked albums, the end result here was a solid B- average, at 2.8. Slightly better than Simple Minds had achieved on the previous Rock G.P.A®, which also lasted into over 70 posts. I promise that this won’t happen again, unless I tackle acts like Bowie, Roxy and Foxx. In all honesty, after his death, I spent three months on Bowie without even discussing his albums in detail at all!
It looks like a pretty typical graph for a band of OMD’s heritage who have been around for that long. Most of my favorite bands have a severe dip in quality in the middle of their careers followed by slow, steady progress, one handhold at a time, onward and upward. If they are lucky. Then there’s Duran Duran who just seem psychotic. Fortunately, OMD were smart when they reformed. They admit to having enough income [at least the main two writers] from their hits to not absolutely need to be recording albums and touring. They got back together at first for the novelty of it [German TV was putting them up first class to have them lipsync to a song or two] and then reminding themselves what it was like to be a band again. They wisely avoided most of the pitfalls that befell them the first time. Having a degree of financial independence instead of debt to Virgin Records, surely aided their decision not to let their career run riot over them as it did in the mid-80s, when they were lashed to the album/tour/album annual treadmill.
That forced activity sapped their youthful passions and interests in about 3-4 years, leaving them bereft of inspiration yet needing to produce product and grind it out like sausages. In the ten years that OMD have been reactivated, they have wisely released only three studio albums. They have also released four live albums; something they never troubled themselves with in their first or second phase. That’s about two more, really, than they should have supported, but at least three of them served to document special one off gigs and tours, so I understand the thinking. For two of them, I was certainly glad they made the effort.
Next: …Career Overview