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British-based German synth group active in the 1980s. Two proper albums were released under the name: A Secret Wish (1985) and 1234 (1990), though the latter tends to be the victim of Fanon Discontinuity due to the massive line-up changes and different sound. Their debut album was released on Zang Tuum Tumb (ZTT) Records, home of Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Art of Noise, meaning producers Trevor Horn and Steve Lipson, as well as rock journalist Paul Morley, had heavy input on their promotion and sound, like most ZTT acts.

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The band would break up in 1986, with singer Claudia Brücken being earmarked by ZTT for another short-lived group, Act. The band would eventually partially re-unite for 1990's 1234, which was produced by Tears for Fears producers Ian Stanley and Chris Hughes. Since 2005, the group has remained active as an on-and-off touring act, with members coming and going. They would eventually put out a new album, The Heart Is Strange, in 2022 under the name xPropaganda.


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Discography:

  • A Secret Wish (1985)
  • 1234 (1990)
  • The Heart Is Strange (2022)note 

Tropes:

  • Album Title Drop: A Secret Wish appears in the lyric to "P:Machinery". The title of the remix collection Outside World comes from "Frozen Faces".
  • Cover Version: "Sorry for Laughing", originally by Scottish Post-Punk group Josef K.
  • Epic Rocking: There are 10-minute-plus mixes of "Dr Mabuse", "Frozen Faces", "p:Machinery" and "Sorry For Laughing". More tenuously, "Do Well" runs over 20 minutes but it's really five tracks, not one.
  • George Lucas Altered Version: A Secret Wish was radically reconfigured by producer Stephen Lipson for its CD release. The B-side "Frozen Faces" is added between "Duel" and "p:Machinery", "Dream Within a Dream" is extended, the album versions of "Jewel" and "p:Machinery" are replaced with the 12" and 7" versions, respectively, and both "Duel" and "Dr. Mabuse" are remixed, with the latter being mashed up with "The Last Word/Strength to Dream" (the CD mix of "Dr. Mabuse" is moved to the end of the album because of this). While later reissues would restore the LP version (with some including "Frozen Faces" and the remixed "Duel"), Lipson considers the remix the definitive version.
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  • Longest Song Goes First: The original release of A Secret Wish opens with the eight-minute "Dream Within a Dream", the only song on the album to reach Epic Rocking status.
  • New Sound Album: 1234 was much smoother commercial pop, while The Heart Is Strange takes greater influence from 21st-century electronic dance music.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Dr Mabuse", "Duel", "p:Machinery".
  • No Pronunciation Guide: It's not clear whether "Lied" is meant to be read as the English or German word.
  • Rearrange the Song:
    • The band was on ZTT in the 80s, so this was bound to happen, with Trevor Horn and Stephen Lipson creating scores of remixes for each single. The remix album Wishful Thinking was edited together by Morley and an engineer to function as a rougher counterpart to A Secret Wish, that would get Propaganda tours alongside Siouxsie and the Banshees rather than with The Bangles, for example. Propaganda protested Wishful Thinking's release.
    • Outside World, Noise and Girls Come Out To Play and The Best of Propaganda are pretty much just remix compilations themselves.
    • On A Secret Wish, "Jewel" and "Duel" are the same song — the former is a rougher and heavier take, and the latter is a polished pop arrangement.
    • The 2-CD edition of The Heart Is Strange features instrumental remixes of the entire album on the second disc.
  • Shout-Out: "Dr. Mabuse" (to Dr. Mabuse), "Dream Within A Dream" (to Edgar Allan Poe).

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