Song Lists: OMD

Since childhood I have experienced what I later found to be called Synesthesia, a mixing or blurring of the senses. This is particularly common in arts people and in my case manifests itself as hearing music as colour. For the last few years’ I’ve been charting the colour of songs according to my hearing. It dawned on me while doing this list that while only ever a casual fan I’d never heard an actual album other than Junk Culture which I could barely remember and the best of! So learning as I go. It’s also – can you believe – the 25th anniversary of Sugar Tax. As far as the lists go, this was a relatively easy one to do but while most bands operate with a favoured key or two (red and pink in their case) OMD are unique as they appear to operate on a slightly different frequency either a pitch up or below the norm in some cases. Example in the grey/red of Joan of Arc and red/green on Woman iii. Likewise on Messages; Paul’s synth motif is not quite white but it’s not mint green either, it’s an alt setting somewhere between the two. They are also especially good at intros that appear one colour yet blur into another (Beginning and the End, History of Modern ii, Statues). As always I hope this is both interesting and thought provoking. *please note I don’t list all songs just enough to give an overview.

WHITE

ALMOST (at 1.25 and again at 2.46 is an odd trilogy of dark green’s – difficult to explain even for me)
PROMISE (intro and chorus deep grey – I believe there is an element of  deep grey/khaki during the grey part but again it’s a deftly defined nuance at play)
SHE’S LEAVING (the first bass note which also feature on the chorus is in maroon) APOLLO
TALKING LOUD AND CLEAR
HOLD YOU
SPEED OF LIGHT
TOO LATE (grey at 2.13-2.29)
NEW BABIES: NEW TOYS
NIGHT CAFE

CREAM

*some of the above could be listed under cream but it’s much of a muchness really

MINT GREEN

THE MISUNDERSTANDING (save its industrial minute intro)

YELLOW

THE MESSERSCHMITT TWINS
PRETENDING TO SEE THE FUTURE (skeletal verses with the yellow more prevalent in the chorus, some mint green coming out of the chorus)
SECRET (this is one of those tracks that for years I’ve thought of as a honey colour which I think is still in there – notably in the synth motif at 0.26 to 0.34secs- but mostly it’s a lower registering yellow while the middle part from 2.15 to 2.51 is in orange)
DOLLAR GIRL
SAILING ON THE SEVEN SEAS (again the yellow is stronger on the chorus)
KISSING THE MACHINE
STAY WITH ME (more cloudy than Machine in its verses which are either a very low yellow or the dark blue/yellow couplet below, following a trait, the yellow is more prevalent in the chorus)

ORANGE

BLOC BLOC BLOC
AREA
BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES
IF YOU WANT IT (intro and bridge in dark blue/orange)

RED (varying shades)

2ND THOUGHT (after the icy tones of the initial synths it opens out into their first red)
JOAN OF ARC (in keeping with OMD tunings, this is not a clear red, more of a cloudy red)
GRAVITY NEVER FAILED (difficult to pitch the chorus, a one two notation somewhere in the crimson – maroon sphere but closer to the former on a second listen)
SILENT RUNNING (from 2.01 to 2.16 is an bright blue orange break)
66 AND FADING
LOVE AND VIOLENCE (there is nice middle section at 1.55 which goes through red, orange – 2.02, blue – 2.10 and back to red)
WATCH US FALL
CALL MY NAME (mostly red all the way through but for the ‘always end the same/there’s no-one else to blame and call my name’ lines in white, middle 2.43-2.58 is very fiery red)
DREAM OF ME (BASED ON LOVE’S THEME)
HISTORY OF MODERN PT I (a bit like Joan of Arc this is a cloudy red)
METROLAND (incredibly this is a definitive run of the mill red!)

DEEP RED/DARK GREEN

JUNK CULTURE (relief parts at 2.04-2.24 and 2.47-2.57 in white, the brass varies from red to maroon, the fairlight parts are in dark green then yellow – either way the album with elements of dub and funk is even more left-field than Dazzle Ships)
WOMEN III (initially it’s a deep red but when the second synth comes in on 17secs that’s where you get the couplet) *both of these are a good example of OMD being different, you’ll note later that there are no maroon songs, the couple here are in place of that – not far off but as mentioned OMD operate slightly out of the normal frequency.

GREY BLUE

RED FRAME/WHITE LIGHT (middle ‘synth motif’ section beginning 1.04 in dark blue/orange then it’s an off light blue hue – then back to grey blue the same ‘synth motif’ kicks in again at 2.23)
MESSAGES (verses alternate between grey and blue, then as mentioned in the intro Paul’s quirky synth part at 1.03 in an off white/green, later – at 2.10 – the same motif is in the same colour as the main song at a higher octave and finally on 3.01 it appears again in white/green, love Andy’s bass and Mal’s groove on this one too)
SOUVENIR

LIGHT BLUE

BRIGHT BLUE

GENETIC ENGINEERING
SWISS RADIO INTERNATIONAL
TESLA GIRLS
FLAME OF HOPE
THE BOY FROM THE CHEMIST… (middle has a slight dip to a lower slightly deeper grey blue and at 3.11 switches to grey blue)
HISTORY OF MODERN PT II (intro – the first 20secs – in violet and the bright blue is accentuated for the chorus)
OUR SYSTEM (first two choral parts in light blue)

MID BLUE (varying shades)

BUNKER SOLDIERS (the ‘numbers’ bit is another shade of  grey blue)
ANNEX (the latter minute or so of this – around 3.14 – descends into the dark blue/yellow  couplet)
WE LOVE YOU
BIG TOWN (there’s a slight shift to light blue in the bridge)

DARK BLUE

DARK BLUE/ORANGE

I BETRAY MY FRIENDS

DARK BLUE/YELLOW

THE LIGHTS ARE GOING OUT

LIGHT GREEN

*green and pink run together through the colour spectrum e.g. mint green/pale pink, light green/pink and dark green/maroon – so differentiating them can be very difficult! It all comes down to nuance.

ALT LIGHT GREEN

DECIMAL (for a song of only two notes, it’s extremely difficult to gauge, definitely in the green, it’s subtle and soothing as the light green above yet it also has a bright piercing quality to it).

GREEN

 

DARK GREEN

JULIA’S SONG (there is also a b side version of this which from memory is a mid blue)

PALE PINK

ELECTRICITY (some elements of the pink below but it’s mostly in the paler hue)
STAY (THE BLACK ROSE AND THE UNIVERSAL WHEEL)(dreadfully dated but interesting in terms of colour; intro – up to 35secs – in white, middle section from 1.40-2.28 in yellow and the brief squealing guitar solo that follows is in pink)
PANDORA’S BOX (oddly the bridge appears to be similar to the off white/green in Messages)
HELEN OF TROY (there are two pale pinks at play in the verses which alternate between each other as well as some shifts to pink in the ‘I cannot cry’ lines and in the middle at 1.56-2.12)
DRESDEN (the synth motif also has some violet in it, firstly around 19-24secs)

PINK

VCL XI
STATUES (intro is again in violet then switches to an alternating pink and white for the verses, extended periods of white between 1.02-1.18, 1.52-2.07, then a strong pink synth-line possibly some deep pink in this part up to 2.40 then back to the white synth break before returning to the pink/white verse, also the last 30-40secs or so strips things right down to the bare bones but the tonal qualities are a nice touch to close on)
DISTANCE FADES BETWEEN US (this is very strong and bordering on deep pink)
THE BEGINNING AND THE END (beginning is a mid blue up to 55secs, whereby it switches to pink/deep pink, between 1.30-1.44 is a serene interlude of pale red)
INTERNATIONAL
4-NEU
NEVER TURN AWAY
DREAMING
THEN YOU TURN AWAY
STAND ABOVE ME (bridge is a higher pitched deep red, light green coming out of the chorus)
BONDAGE OF FATE

DEEP PINK

TELEGRAPH (middle part at 1.09-1.16 in a lower register of deep pink)
*elements of the deeper hues of pink exist in a lot of the songs listed as standard pink, notably: International, 4-Neu, Never Turn Away and Dreaming. 

ROSE

WHITE TRASH (crazy track this one, but they were no less experimental after Dazzle Ships, bass or synth-bass at 35secs is white then at 47secs comes the crazy ‘Wang Chung – To Live and Die in LA’ style part which goes through dark blue/orange and fiery red on its way to Andy’s vocal, the aforementioned synth-bass line periodically continues and all manner of quirky electronics which don’t count as colour make it an all round aural assault!)
LOCOMOTION
WALK TALL (intro and middle in deep grey)
EVERYDAY (verse alternates between rose and black – this is the only example of black I can find in the OMD catalogue though I didn’t check out all the b-sides, song shifts to yellow at 2.54)

CRIMSON

ENOLA GAY (for years I’ve had this down as dark green but in doing the lists I’ve had to rethink some long held beliefs)

MAROON

VIOLET

PURPLE

STANLOW (bit of a mixed bag for this epic; initial synths at 34secs are deep pink, purple on 41secs then settles on crimson which as it’s a prolonged note becomes purple, on 2.36 it speeds up firstly to pink then to a pale pink/violet coupling for the verse, possibly an elderly cousin to Dresden before the slow down again 5.55 to the prolonged note of purple)
SO IN LOVE (the role of nuance is at play on both this and If You Leave below, violet is definitely in the mix but the songs are rich enough to be considered purple)
LA FEMME ACCIDENT
IF YOU LEAVE (intro and first verse in purple, part of the intro and first chorus in red, second verse in cream, second chorus in orange, middle/sax solo in purple, the third/fourth chorus is again the duplex of red followed by orange, then back to purple and finally cream for the finale)
AGNUS DEI

GREY (varying shades)

THE MOON AND THE SUN (bridge is also unique, cream/pale pink, chorus meanwhile is in white/grey/white)

GREY BEIGE

JOAN OF ARC – MAID OF ORLEANS (ahh, that intro.. but what the hell is its colour!? An icy metallic light blue as far as I can ascertain, things brighten up between 1.49-2.41 to pink)
GODDESS OF LOVE (very warm grey/beige for this one, third and fourth ‘Goddess of Love’ parts have a deep grey tint to them, also light blue at 2.36-2.51)

BROWN

RFWK

BLACK

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