On this month’s Patreon-supported and selected bonus commentary podcast Alex and Bruce talk Ministry’s love-it-or-hate-it new wave debut With Sympathy. This is definitely the record we like the least of any we’ve done a commentary for, but behind the cheese and the fake accents there’s some pretty fascinating connections both to Al’s later work and the origins of the project. What he say? Find out on We Have a Commentary! You can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, download directly or stream from the widget down below.
I love this album, as well as twitch and a reasonable amount of later ministry. I don’t see why it has to be one or the other as you mentioned. It’s totally empty headed and cliche, but it’s fun and bouncy synthpop, regardless of how derivative it sounds. I can understand why you would dislike it though.
“When people talk about how much they love sympathy, they’re actually talking about how much they like revenge.”
Taken in the context of philosophical concepts, this might be tied for my favorite line from any episode of this great podcast.
Taken in the context of the album, agree +100.
Hard to believe that after 34 years this album still gets as much attention as it does. I was completely immersed in the genesis, writing, recording and promotion of this disc and find some of the commentary a little confusing. It was Roy Thomas Baker protege Ian Taylor (not Iain Burgess) who was responsible for the sound of the album. Vince Ely had little to do with it having only made a couple of appearances in the studio to shakes hands with everyone before heading off to some Back Bay seafood restaurant. I didn’t listen all the way through but were any other band members besides Al mentioned? Except for the 4 songs that were written in the studio to fill out the album the rest of it was essentially a group effort. Granted Al was the singer and the ringleader but he didn’t actually play much, except guitar, on the material that had been written and assembled prior to the actually recording of the album. But then Al’s best musical quality has always been his nose for PR.
Thanks for the insight. As we were going off of liner notes, discogs info and other tidbits we could glean from interviews, our understanding of the record is obviously pretty third hand. If you have information on the writing and recording of the album you’d like to share, we’d love to read it! Cheers!
Alex and Bruce can’t relate to this record; they probably just recently heard it via Spotify or YouTube. At a time when most of the interesting stuff was coming out of Europe [some from Canada too], With Sympathy represented the American scene quite well when it was released. Even to this day, it still holds its own against some of the best albums from that era. If Mr. Jourgensen wants to distance himself from it, that’s his prerogative; that’s not going to make me stop enjoying it. Anyway, Ministry have been dead to me since after Twitch.
Fair perspective, although as Bruce points out on the podcast neither of us feels it holds up against comparable records of the era from our pov.
Oh and just to be clear, I’ve owned With Sympathy on one format or another for aproximately 20 years, although I did do my prep for this podcast by listening to it on Spotify. 🙂
The clearest way to dissect the album is to consider that it’s essentially two EPs. As I mentioned, consider that the first EP consists of the material that had been written and performed live by the band before the WS sessions began. These songs were recorded as a band with some assistance from Bostonians Hallen & Pothier. The second EP are the 4 songs that AJ wrote and recorded (at great expense) in the studio after the sessions started.
Fans can decide for themselves which formula provides the more favorable listening experience. From what I can gather they already have.