One month ago today, Editors released their first greatest hits compilation, Black Gold: Best Of Editors, including 13 tracks spanning their first 6 albums, plus 3 brand-new songs. Most of the obvious choices are there: We have “Munich” and “Bullets” from The Back Room, “Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors,” “The Racing Rats,” and “An End Has A Start” from their sophomore album, and “Papillon” from In This Light And On This Evening. We rightfully have “A Ton Of Love” and “Sugar” from The Weight Of Your Love, “No Harm” and “Ocean Of Night” from In Dream, and “Magazine,” “Hallelujah (So Low),” and “No Sound But The Wind” from Violence. Furthermore, all three new songs are fantastic. Both “Frankenstein” and “Black Gold” were wonderful previews, and now that we can finally hear “Upside Down,” it more than lives up to the compilation.
However, there are so many great songs that were missed. Some are singles that were surprisingly omitted; others are the unsung standouts that deserve more attention and love.
Editors have said in many interviews that their first decision in making a best-of was choosing whether to make it a single disc set as opposed to a double disc set. But what if we’d actually gotten that second disc of career highlights? Fear not: I’ve collected 16 additional album tracks that I think deserve a bit of celebration.*
*No bonus tracks, b-sides, or non-album singles appear here. That will come in another blog coming soon!
Without further ado, here are the singles and album tracks I’d add to a longer version of Black Gold: Best Of Editors.
The Back Room
“Blood” – Following “Bullets” and “Munich,” “Blood” was the third single from The Back Room (and was later re-released as the final single). All four singles are highlights of the album, and I was surprised “Blood” didn’t appear on the Black Gold tracklist. When I was getting into Editors, I started with In Dream, then worked my way backwards. For whatever reason, The Back Room wasn’t grabbing my attention at first. But then I heard “Blood,” and I was hooked. It’s such an instant song, and it was an early standout for me. It served as my gateway to The Back Room, and is still among my personal top two on the record.
“All Sparks” – My other favorite on The Back Room is “All Sparks,” which was the fourth single. Out of all the songs on that album, “All Sparks” captures Editors’ energy the best. It’s snarky, catchy, and grooving. If “Blood” was the song that got me into Editors’ debut album, “All Sparks” is the one that made me want to keep listening and dig into the other songs.
An End Has A Start
“Escape The Nest” – One of my all-time favorite Editors songs, “Escape The Nest” wasn’t ever a single, though it could have been. Its screeching guitars draw you in and get your heart pumping. The verses build up anticipation, then the chorus breaks through. It’s one of Editors’ best choruses, capturing a glorious and freeing feeling. It’s anthemic and makes you feel weightless, then those guitars come back in and get you rocking out again. This is ones of the band’s finest songs and a highlight not only on An End Has A Start, but within their entire discography.
“Push Your Head Towards The Air” – Following “SmokersOutside The Hospital Doors,” “An End Has A Start,” and “The Racing Rats,” the third single from Editors’ sophomore album was also their first proper ballad. “Push Your Head Towards The Air” is a tender song that shows a more emotional side of Editors. It takes its time unfolding, allowing the dreamy song to really get under your skin.
In This Light And On This Evening
“The Big Exit” – Coming from my more rock-oriented background, I wasn’t sure how I’d like Editors electronic-leaning records. But In Dream is how I discovered the band, so after I sat with and grew to love their rock records, I was ready to hear Editors’ first foray into the electronic realm. Following “Papillon,” the next highlight on In This Light And On This Evening is the intense “The Big Exit.” It stampedes in with a terrifying sawing sound, breaking way for the restrained but tense verses. On the chorus, frontman Tom Smith shows off his falsetto, yet it sounds more eerie than romantic here. “The Big Exit” is uneasy but mesmerizing, and an underrated gem on Editors’ third album.
“The Boxer” – However, my personal favorite on In This Light And On This Evening has to be “The Boxer.” It’s a heartbreaking song that paints a picture of a defeated man alone in a dark city. It perfectly captures the feeling of recognizing your own childish naïveté, feeling small and lost despite how far you thought you’d come. “The Boxer” is the saddest song on the album, and the most emotionally captivating.
“Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool” – After “Papillon” and “You Don’t Know Love,” the superbly titled “Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool” served as the third single on In This Light And On This Evening. It’s a weird song, and one that Editors have admitted to initially being unsure of when they were in the studio. Luckily, producer Flood convinced them to forge ahead with it, because “Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool” has gone on to be a standout in Editors’ back catalogue. With its creepy looping percussion and shrieking flourishes – not to mention its vulgar lyrics – it’s an unsettling and bizarre song that shows a whole new side of the band. But there’s something addictive about the song, and I’ve always liked the strange tunes as it is, so “Eat Raw Meat” will always be one of my favorites.
The Weight Of Your Love
“The Weight” – After my initiation with In Dream, it was The Weight Of Your Love that drew me into the Editors world next. From the very first track, this album is a masterpiece. It begins with “The Weight,” the effective title track and a dramatic, enchanting song. Its opening choir gives way to a simple guitar strum as Tom sings about a lightning strike of love. The song gradually grows, more details weaving in and holding your captive interest to the very end.
“What Is This Thing Called Love” – After the first three songs on The Weight Of Your Love, it was the fourth song that took a few listens. I admit, I didn’t love “What Is This Thing Called Love” at first. Perhaps I wasn’t prepared for that much falsetto; perhaps the song felt too different from the other Editors songs I knew. But the more I listened, the more heartbreaking and beautiful I found the song to be. “What Is This Thing Called Love” now counts itself among my highlights from the band, and it was a worthy last single from the album.
“Nothing” – An instant favorite for me, “Nothing” had me from the very first notes of the strings. In contrast to the upbeat live performances of the song, on the album “Nothing” is a gentle waltz backed only by strings. It’s a beautiful, sweet song that could belong to any time and should be a part of everyone’s life. This is a romantic, hopeful ballad that deserves to be heard and remembered.
“The Phone Book” – Editors tried out a lot of different sounds on The Weight Of Your Love, and “The Phone Book” marks a win for their vision of mournful folk. Over a railroad beat and simple guitar, Tom sings a tender song that’s heart-wrenching and poignant. There’s nothing flashy about “The Phone Book,” but its yearning lyrics and understated beauty make it a special song.
“Life Is A Fear” – Editors do disco? Indeed, their In Dream single “Life Is A Fear” is strangely grooving despite its sorrowful lyrics. It’s a dark song you can dance to, and it has great replay value to keep that sad party going. Tom sings low on the verses, the kinetic beat underneath waiting to unleash on the big choruses. There Tom sings in falsetto, driving home that disco flair. “Life Is A Fear” is an uptempo, fun song, even if “fun” doesn’t look so optimistic.
“All The Kings” – Another single from In Dream, “All The Kings” is a highlight for all the single boys. Tom has described the song as his version of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies,” but this time for the uncoupled men out there. He sings about “loneliness forever,” but somehow it doesn’t sound sad. If anything, “All The Kings” feels like an uplifting celebration, and it’s impossible not to enjoy this song.
“Marching Orders” – Editors’ most epic song to date is In Dream closer “Marching Orders,” the second single from the album. Over simple chords, Tom sings the first verse low, his rich baritone giving the song weight. He then jumps up an octave on the second verse, giving the song a more earnest quality. Finally, “Marching Orders” breaks through on its majestic chorus, Tom singing about the rules they break and taking less than you give. The song spends several minutes fading away, an extended outro allowing “Marching Orders” to settle in and stay with you.
“Cold” – The opening track from Violence, “Cold” was also, in my opinion, the best of the four singles. It glides in softly, pinging synths accompanying Tom’s low first verse and chorus. A ghostly interlude transitions to the second verse, an octave higher than before. Ironically, “Cold” is a warm, comforting song and a highlight on their most recent studio album.
“Counting Spooks” – It wasn’t a single and isn’t ever performed live, but it’s a thoroughly enjoyable song nonetheless. “Counting Spooks” is an underrated standout, an “identity crisis of a song” that switches styles about halfway through. It starts with a hazy, swampy soundscape, lyrics describing two people going through the motions. Equally great is the second half, a synth-driven dance tune with the repeated “holding it together” motif carrying us through to the finish. “Counting Spooks” is a personal favorite that deserves more attention than it gets.
Black Gold: Best Of Editors
So there you have it: 16 songs I’d add to Editors’ new greatest hits album. In spite of this list, don’t think I’m dissatisfied with the songs that did make it onto the Black Gold tracklist. Quite the contrary, Editors just have too many incredible songs that deserve some extra celebration! I love all 13 of the catalog songs Editors included on Black Gold and the three new songs, too. I’m also impressed with the eight acoustic songs on the deluxe edition bonus disc, and even with the early Snowfield Demos EP that came with official site orders. But one can never have too many Editors songs to revisit, and I’m always happy to shine a lot on standout songs.
What songs did I miss? Which ones would YOU include in a second Black Gold disc? Let us know your favorite Editors songs in the comments below!
Enjoy the new compilation Black Gold: Best Of Editors, and enjoy this bonus playlist to accompany it.