Men At Work - Business As Usual
Album Comparisons: Business As Usual
Business As Usual was the successful 1981 debut of Australian new wave quintet Men At Work, spawning two enormously successful singles in the U.S. after its stateside release in 1982. It was also an early CD release, seeing its initial release in the U.S. all the way back in 1984. In the years since, "Down Under" in particular has become a bona fide Australian anthem, a source of both pride and patriotism with its uniquely Australian blend of cultural slang and vibes. In 2003, Business As Usual was given a remastered re-release with four bonus tracks and upgraded packaging. How does it compare to the original CD from almost two decades earlier?

Who Can It Be Now?

1984 CBS CD release

Who Can It Be Now?

2003 Columbia/Legacy remaster

Who Can It Be Now?

I Can See It in Your Eyes

1984 CBS CD release

I Can See It in Your Eyes

2003 Columbia/Legacy remaster

I Can See It in Your Eyes

Down Under

1984 CBS CD release

Down Under

2003 Columbia/Legacy remaster

Down Under

Underground

1984 CBS CD release

Underground

2003 Columbia/Legacy remaster

Underground

Helpless Automaton

1984 CBS CD release

Helpless Automaton

2003 Columbia/Legacy remaster

Helpless Automaton

People Just Love to Play With Words

1984 CBS CD release

People Just Love to Play With Words

2003 Columbia/Legacy remaster

People Just Love to Play With Words

Be Good Johnny

1984 CBS CD release

Be Good Johnny

2003 Columbia/Legacy remaster

Be Good Johnny

Touching the Untouchables

1984 CBS CD release

Touching the Untouchables

2003 Columbia/Legacy remaster

Touching the Untouchables

Catch a Star

1984 CBS CD release

Catch a Star

2003 Columbia/Legacy remaster

Catch a Star

Down By the Sea

1984 CBS CD release

Down By the Sea

2003 Columbia/Legacy remaster

Down By the Sea
And the winner is: 1984 original U.S. CD release. All I have to say is, wow. The waveforms tell pretty much the whole story here. There has been a significant increase in volume with the remaster, on the order of 8-10 dB depending on the song, and zooming in on the waveforms reveals rampant clipping of the peaks throughout. Compression is extensive and very obvious. Despite the appearance of the waveforms, the 1984 release has overall wide dynamics with its loudest peaks in the upper limit of the compact disc's range, pretty much using the format in the way it was originally intended - though it could in truth be slightly louder in volume. Listening to volume matched samples, the treble sounds like it's been significantly boosted on the remaster, possibly in an attempt to increase apparent clarity, and this throws off the overall sound of the music. No contest here.