Icon (Rare & Unreleased)

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An eye-catching collection of Nico's early-'80s output, Icon does, in fact, represent something considerably more valuable than a quick glance down the track listing lets on. While "Saeta" and "Vegas" represent another appearance for the 1980 single that broke Nico's recorded silence after six years in the wilderness, and "Mutterlein" and "We've Got the Gold" simply add more weight to the vast corpus of available live recordings, the remainder of Icon comprises the revised version of Drama that producer Philippe Quilichini engineered following the album's original release. Only briefly available in Europe before the law descended upon what was little more than a bootleg, this new version spent the next decade-plus as little more than a collector's dream. Icon, however, represents the first official appearance of all six songs that Quilichini revamped and, while Nico herself was absent from these secondary sessions, Quilichini's own insistence that his work represented a return to the values she originally envisaged for the album finds little to contradict it. Only the unseemly synth pop keyboards tracking through "One More Chance" seem at all out of place -- elsewhere, "Genghis Khan" gains a very effective backing vocal, while "Orly Flight" is positively uplifting. Few people would argue that Quilichini added anything more than variety to songs that were already perfect in their original released incarnation. But, of all the legends that lurk within Nico's back catalog, Icon proves that one, at least, was every bit as intriguing as it was supposed to be.

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