Timewatching: The Divine Comedy Album-by-album thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by LivingForever, Nov 5, 2020.

  1. Dalav

    Dalav Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey
    "If you told me you were drowning I would not lend a hand..." That's some brave signing for a wedding! Either that or it's my kind of humor, hehe. Well done. :)
     
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  2. robbroncs

    robbroncs Forum Disgrace

    Location:
    NJ
    yer all NVTS.

    cathy's voice
    adorable playfulness between the two of them. all of the analogies, especially the the line about minor chords.
    the shuffle and walking bass line.
    the way the sing along to the piano.

    top tier TDC 2.0

    5/5


    always enjoyed this one
     
  3. ericthegardener

    ericthegardener Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Funny Peculiar

    There's not really anything wrong with song, nice melody & arrangement, clever lyrics. But in the end it's just too cute for my taste. 2.5/5 (I do find the version that @robbroncs posted above kind of charming, though.)
     
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  4. The Turning Year

    The Turning Year Lowering average scores since 2021

    Location:
    London, UK
    Love this post, you're quite right.
    Changed my mind :D:D
    3.8/5

    Love this version too!
     
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  5. The Booklover

    The Booklover Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    Glad to have you back and continue with this thread. Thanks for the reminder, I was on a short internet-free holiday but am now back on board for the final stretch.

    As with the other post-Regeneration albums, I only discovered Foreverland when the box set was announced.

    I usually prefer album covers without the artist's face as well (it feels more arty and less self-promotional), but I'm likely to make exceptions if the artists in question make an effort and dress up for the occasion. So while I do like this album's cover, I really appreciate the one for Bang Goes The Knighthood as well. I can also understand that the Foreverland one might irritate a TDC fan, since Neil ususally is pictured on the front, and the two previous exceptions are his least celebrated albums.

    I feel similarly about it (though I may have to give a couple of 2s).

    Ha, I've had the same problem with some of the songs (including some on Victory For The Comic Muse), in particular with the two you mention. It doesn't help that both also have synth-heavy alternate versions on the bonus discs, though the one for "My Happy Place" sounds edgier.

    Napoleon Complex
    I'm with Neil here in that I also haven't come to a firm conclusion which version is the definitive one. I love all of them and (like @LivingForever) I'm glad to have three substantially different ones to choose from.

    Yes, the percussion and the strings are so great here, and the chorus is one of his best: sufficiently leftfield to irritate the MOR crowd but catchy in its own twisted way.

    Completely agree with you: to me it's the obvious single from the album (besides "How Can You Leave Me On My Own").

    Seconded. Neil singing the main line of the chorus at the end is something that is missing on the disco version (which makes up for this by being more energetic).

    5 in any version.
     
  6. Radiophonic_

    Radiophonic_ Electrosonic

    Location:
    Royal Oak MI
    "Funny Peculiar": Twee is one of those things where one person's too much is another's just right, and this song is on that 'too much' scale for me. It's just too cutesy. Musically I find it fairly blah, and I'm not overly enamored with her voice in general, I'm sorry to say. It's a song that just rubs me the wrong way. Automatic skip every time. 1.5/5
     
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  7. DaniMoonstar

    DaniMoonstar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Staffordshire
    Catherine the Great
    I like the swooping, swirling beginning as if we’re stepping back in the mists of time that gives way to stately horns and a winsome lyric that seems at odds with her allegedly violent nature (“couldn’t wait to invade”?!). I do like the little Baroque interludes too. A little disappointed this didn’t make the recent best of, whilst another track did, but we’ll come to that…

    4/5
     
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  8. DaniMoonstar

    DaniMoonstar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Staffordshire
    Funny peculiar
    Cute! Feels like Neil having a go at an old fashioned Hollywood musical tune, which you could imagine Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds, or Fred and Ginger having a go at.

    3.5/5
     
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  9. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Leeds, UK
    Funny Peculiar

    Oh! Here it is! a chance to reopen the old Divine Comedy-My Life Story fan feud by posting the old My Life Story song of this name. Unfortunately.... I can't, because it's not on youtube. Turns out it's a b-side so obscure it's not even on their b-sides compliation! (the a-side was the less good "Funny Ha Ha". I have "Funny Peculiar" on a mix tape somewhere).

    Instead, I'll post Al Bowlly's "Guilty" which might be familar from the Amelie soundtrack, which is the song I think is going to happen every time I hear the intro to The Divine Comedy's "Funny Peculiar". The intro is the first two lines of the verse, note for note.


    My reaction is similar to these reactions. 2/5.

    It might seem odd that I've panned two songs in a row when I said that I played this album a while ago and was really impressed. Well, there's better stuff to come.
     
  10. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    Ha! Seems I also don’t have the song to listen to right now, but isn’t “Funny Peculiar” just a sort of slowed down, quiet acoustic version of “Funny Ha Ha”?

    (you’re right though, this must be the most obscure song by one of the most obscure bands we will mention on this thread!)
     
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  11. Hazey John II

    Hazey John II The lyrics are fine, there's no problem there

    Unexpectedly short of time, and who cares exactly why these two don't do it for me anyway, so I'll just say:

    Catherine The Great: not great. 3/5
    Funny Peculiar: not funny or peculiar. 2/5
     
  12. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    It is very Catherine-y, though… ;)
     
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  13. ericthegardener

    ericthegardener Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Was there any feuding between Neil and the MLS dude back in the day?
     
  14. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Leeds, UK
    I doubt it. I was referring back to when I mentioned them before, when I said I knew a MLS fan who claimed it was impossible to like both; TDC were the anti-MLS and vice versa. No idea if anyone else felt this way.
     
  15. The Booklover

    The Booklover Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    Foreverland
    Relistening to this after having discussed the musical, it was the first thing that came to my mind as well, not only regarding the lyrics but also the type of music.
    I agree. Also, this is one of the weaker title tracks, though they haven't exactly floored me in the past (with only "Absent Friends" coming close). I always feel that the song that gives the album its title should be one of the highlights.
    I'm with you here, too. I'm not a fan of this. That said, it sounds more mournful than overly jolly, so I find it easier to stomach.

    I love the sentiment of the song, which was described so beautifully by @The Turning Year, but I wish the music would affect me more.

    3

    Maybe this remark was inspired by it originating in "Pictures", which sounds quite folky to me. Speaking of which:

    Pictures
    Yes, when I first listened to it, I didn't find the vibe sad at all, wistful and nostalgic sums it up better. I love the feel of the music and the majority of snapshot reminiscences covered by the spoken words. It was an immediate contender to replace "Foreverland". However, the ending did make me sad:
    It's not that I'm prudish per se, but these last lines completely destroy the wonderful atmosphere the song has conjured up so far by being the TDC equivalent of defacing school toilet cubicles with penises (and the occasional ******), a puerile obsession that I never found funny. Even though all the memories associated with the pictures seem to be unconnected (apart from concerning a couple freshly in love), the fact it all ends with the dick pic makes it sound like it was meant to be the "shocking" conclusion to the whole theme. Without it, I'd give it a 4 if not more, but as such it loses several points.

    Edit:
    This forum seems to be prudish when it comes to female private parts: a ***** isn't censored, but bafflingly a ****** is.

    Edit 2:
    Ah, ***** is now censored, too. So it's okay to write penises (plural) and vaginas. As you can see, I'm really not prudish, but I still dislike this lyric.;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2021 at 3:04 AM
  16. The Turning Year

    The Turning Year Lowering average scores since 2021

    Location:
    London, UK
    I enjoy the fact that more than one is fine, but just one of either by itself is unacceptable! :laugh:
     
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  17. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    And if you write “cock”, “balls” and “lady parts” like Neil put in the lyrics, that’s totally ok too :D
     
  18. The Booklover

    The Booklover Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    Catherine The Great
    I can understand @Vagabone's complaint, too, but at the same time I also have to agree with @jon-senior.

    I totally get your problem here.
    That's a convincing defence, espescially since it doesn't negate that the use of "girl" is a bit awkward.

    Hm, I actually prefer the demo. It sounds great enough, but isn't overburdened by piling on extra stuff like harpsichord and sickly sweet backing vocals to make it more attractive for Radio 2. The guitar licks in here give the song a more urgent feel compared to the slightly drowsy vibe of the album version.

    Thanks for posting this, I think this might be my favourite version. It shows that the song itself is very good, but (in contrast to other TDC songs) all the windowdressing via production and arrangement doesn't do it any favours. It just waters everything down and makes it too syrupy.

    Yes, this is easily the worst bit, but again it's more successful in the acoustic live version where it's just Neil singing her Russian name. What I don't like are the choral vocals on the studio versions, which again remind me of Swallows And Amazons. I do like that Neil sings it alone once on the album version, which I kind of miss on the demo.

    This sums up my feelings about the song and album, too. I give it a 3.5, though, and the demo would definitely get a 4. It's a bit of a shame that we're generally rating the album version of each song (which then make up the album average) instead of the song itself based on the version one prefers. Anyway, my recalibrated tracklist of the album includes the demo version of this song.
     
  19. lazzaa

    lazzaa Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Catherine The Great - Again another one that I jut never come back to (a recurring theme here!) - a boring song with a boring tune, but with a decent horn section. Like so much of this album I find it cloyingly safe. It seems to me like he sat down and thought 'what do people want from a Divine Comedy song? Harpsichords and lyrics that raise a slight smirk!' but the result is just so nothing for me. 1/5

    Funny Peculiar - Now this is a bit more charming, if a little too saccharine. The tune is very, very catchy (I've been humming it for days!), but again, no real urge to ever come back to it. I do like the end harmony lines 'you're the one for me honey, yes indeed'. 2.5/5
     
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  20. The Booklover

    The Booklover Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    Funny Peculiar
    A very apt introduction to this song.

    Thanks for this connection. Well spotted. It doesn't come as a surprise that we have another TDC connection to this soundtrack, does it?

    You're right. That's an interesting aspect that hadn't occurred to me.

    No, not nearly ironic or daft enough to undermine the saccharine music. Though that might have made it even more of a nuisance.

    Yes, that's my take on it, too. I just don't need to listen to this kind of song.

    My main complaint, too. Ideally, a love song (like any song) should move me. I know that it's easier done with a song that captures the feeling of unrequited love, but it should also be possible to capture the joy and giddyness of falling in love or the happiness of being in a trustful longterm relationship. I just feel that the format of a love duet is inherently cheesy and cringeworthy. However genuine the intention, it also comes across as showing off: look what a lovely couple we make!

    I agree, that sounds very sincere and unrehearsed.

    I second this word for word.

    Ha, this sums it up perfectly.

    1.5
     
  21. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    Sorry for the delay - was waiting until I could manage to upload the demo version of today's track :)

    Today's song is:

    The Pact

    Here’s Neil:

    I think everybody who's in a band secretly wants to be in a different band. Just like Kevin de Bruyne secretly wants to play for Manchester United. The struggle is not to let your fanboy admiration of other acts influence you so much that you cease to be yourself.

    But when you love people like Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich as much as I do, songs like The Pact seem naturally occurring. Thankfully they will always be snatched away at the last moment from the tribute act precipice by the fact that, no matter how authentic the music, I don't sound at all like Edith or Marlene. The demo of The Pact on the bonus disc is quite different, but equally valid in its approach. A more emotive reading. The album version is more fun and stylish. I like them both. Yay!

    On the surface the words might appear rather detached, cool almost. A meditation on international diplomacy. Ironic then that I can't sing it without bursting into tears.



     
  22. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    And here’s that demo Neil mentioned:

     
  23. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    And here’s a rare live recording! (See if Neil bursts into tears!)

     
  24. The Turning Year

    The Turning Year Lowering average scores since 2021

    Location:
    London, UK
    I also like both, and find it an emotional song as well, which beautifully evokes the companionship and mutual support of finding love a little bit later in life, when both people know themselves and what they have to offer.
    The lyrical detachment definitely helps makes the sentiment stronger; for me Neil's writing is at it's best and most authentic when he's hiding behind metaphors. Or at least, that's the side of it that attracts me the most!
    I love Edith Piaf as well, and although Neil doesn't sound like her exactly I think in recent years he's been able to capture somehing of that somewhat scratchy and emotive style in his singing. Someone else said he's become a good actor and I'd agree with that in terms of his vocal performances.
    I think I think I marginally prefer the straighter demo version as it feels so sincere, and lacks the window dressing of a lush, 'fun and stylish' arrangement which very slightly detracts from the emotional hit a tiny bit for me.
    But still I'd like to score the album version:
    4.7/5
     
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  25. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Leeds, UK
    The Pact

    After two songs I wasn't too keen on, we're back in business in the nick of time with an extremely melodic 3/4 time tune whose words fit perfectly with the themes of the album. It gives me an eerie feeling of inevitability, as soon as the first line is sung; a feeling like, "Of course Neil would eventually write a song called 'The Pact', and of course it would sound exactly like this".

    The demo is definitely as good, probably better, and we're at the point where his demos really don't sound like demos anymore. 4/5
     

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