German-born singer/songwriter Peter Schilling earned his 15 minutes of fame in 1983 with the oddly engaging Top 20 hit "Major Tom (Coming Home)," a techno-pop update of the astronaut character made famous in two David Bowie hits ("Space Oddity" and "Ashes to Ashes"). An atmospheric and distinctly European-sounding single, "Major Tom" proved to be Peter Schilling's only major U.S. hit. The tune was resurrected on 1989's The Different Story, an unnecessary release compiling the "best" eight tracks from Peter Schilling's previous two American albums (1983's Error in the System and 1985's Things to Come), augmented by one new track. As the previously released material on The Different Story proves, Peter Schilling specializes in rather bland, downbeat techno-pop. His thin voice is barely able to carry a tune, and even the catchy "Major Tom" suffers from a faceless performance and wafer-thin production. Predictably, most of the songs on The Different Story are "Major Tom" sound-alikes, the sole exception being the only track newly recorded for this collection. "Different Story (World of Lust and Crime)," produced by Michael Cretu (the mastermind behind Enigma), is a solid piece of pop craftsmanship, boasting a dramatic synth-laden production, beautiful female harmony vocals, and an energetic vocal from Schilling, who for once does not sound as if he just emerged from a coma. "Different Story (World of Lust and Crime)" is three and a half minutes of pure Europop bliss. The big mystery with The Different Story is: Why did Peter Schilling fail to release an entire album's worth of new material, rather than throw together seven bland, previously released tunes with his one big hit and one promising new track? "Different Story (World of Lust and Crime)" did manage a minor chart placing in 1989, but the lack of any other new material almost ensured the album's lack of sales. Perhaps he only had one strong tune in him, or perhaps the strategy was to re-release the older material in a last-ditch effort for it to be heard. Whatever the reason, "Different Story (World of Lust and Crime)" is a strong tune that deserves to be on another album altogether; after all, "Major Tom" already appears on several 80s compilations, and the rest of the material here just isn't worth the trouble.
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AllMusic Review by William Cooper