September 17 — “Bizarre Love Triangle” as covered by Frente


If you only listen to one song today, make it Frente’s version of “Bizarre Love Triangle” (1994, from the album Marvin The Album). The song was, of course, originally done by New Order in 1986 as a non-album single. Although the original version never reached the top 40 either in the US or in its native UK, it’s probably New Order’s most well-known song. Years later, it was named #201 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s top 500 songs of all time. It did, however, achieve huge success in Australia, reaching #5 there.

The original version is really synth-y and stiff and Soviet-sounding, and nowhere as cool as you remember it being. On the other hand, the Frente version is acoustic and campfire-y and relaxed, and a little cooler than you remember it being. If the original is Miami Vice, the Frente version is Northern Exposure. If the original is Czechoslovakia, the Frente version is Wisconsin. Yes, I know. Just let it go for the sake of analogy. And for the sake of a movie reference.

Frente was an alternative pop group from Melbourne, Australia. They started in 1991 and they released two albums before splitting in 1996. They were very successful in their home country, and they had moderate success on college radio in the US, especially with today’s song.

This is that song.
“Bizarre Love Triangle” as covered by Frente

I love that it’s half the length of the original. I love that it doesn’t mess around. I might like the original more if it didn’t mess around so much and it didn’t have all those annoying vocoded parts. Even in the version that isn’t one of the many dance hall remixes, there’s plenty of that garbage. I mean, I know it was 1986 and all that, so I’m willing to extend some benefit of doubt. But these guys came out of Joy Division, for fook’s sake. I’ll never understand why they felt the need to sound like they came from a Ukrainian prison. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to appreciate New Order. Sorry.

Anyway, I like the simplicity of the acoustic guitar and clean, un-vocoded vocals.

Marvin the Album was actually released in Australia in 1992, but that version doesn’t include this song. It was released internationally in 1994, with a wildly different track listing. Two songs were omitted from the Australian version, and three new ones added to the “worldwide” version. After Frente enjoyed a bit of success with today’s song and also with “Labour of Love” from that album, they dropped the annoying exclamation point from their name and they released one more album. Shape did nothing for them, and they called it quits shortly after its release.

Apparently, Frente reunited in 2005, and has played a couple of one-off shows since then. They have not, though, recorded anything new.

Since Mammoth Records is no longer in business, I’ll suggest that you get a physical copy of Marvin The Album from amazon. Or get a legal download somewhere.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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