I must admit I've never understood the appeal of Theatre of Tragedy. The Norwegian band originally formed in 1993 and released three albums filled with gothic gloom and doom before abandoning that sound for an upbeat mix of industrial rock and electropop that had lovely vocalist Liv Kristine singing with what often seemed like the Pet Shop Boys.
Astonishingly, given that musical shift, Nuclear Blast signed the band and released ToT's controversial fourth album, 2000's Musique — the first disc to mark the sudden stylistic change. Now you can hear what all the fuss was about in crisp remastered sound on this Metal Mind Productions limited-edition digipak version, complete with four bonus tracks. Of those, "The New Man" (a bouncy and unexpected B-52s-style rocker) works best, followed by a funked-up previously unreleased mix of "Radio" and a murkier mix of "Reverie."
As for the album proper, "City of Light" is a Rammstein wannabe, while "Космическая эра" (Russian for "Space Age") lives up to its proggy title and the aggressive "Crash/Concrete" (a nod to ToT's roots) sounds harshly out of place. But it is the title track — with its hip-hop grooves, cyberpunk vocals and expansive chorus — that could be a hit today on Top 40 radio stations in the United States. In fact, by revisiting Musique, one could argue that the disc is actually more relevant now than it was at the turn of the millennium.
2) City of Light
11) Космическая эра
12) The New Man (Bonus Track)
13) Quirk (Original Version)
14) Radio (Unreleased Mix)
15) Reverie (Unreleased Mix)