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Timewatching: The Divine Comedy Album-by-album thread

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

  1. drykid

    drykid Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hereford, UK
    I find this a bit weird, ABBA aren't really a band where you can only know a few of their songs. Even the people who detest them could usually sing you all their hits word-for-word if forced to (or at least that's my assumption; I should add that I don't actually go round forcing people who hate ABBA to recite their songs back to me.)
     
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  2. The Turning Year

    The Turning Year Lowering average scores since 2021

    Location:
    London, UK
    Haha, well maybe I'm a bit weird.... :cool::p
    All I really know of them is some dreadful medley that was thrust down our throats at school discos in the 90s, and one or two other snippets. I'm pretty sure I could recognise an ABBA song if I heard it, but could probably only name about 5 songs...?
    Waterloo, Man After Midnight, Dancing Queen, Winner Takes It All... well I'm actually stuck there! :hide:

    If asked in 2001 I'm sure I would have known more, but to be honest I haven't listened to pop music radio since around 2004, so have had plenty of time to forget their songs!
     
  3. christian42

    christian42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lund, Sweden
    But isn't that typical of social media? Now, I don't have Facebook myself, but it's the same in the YouTube comments for the video in question. A whole bunch of gushing, overwhelming positivity, with no hint of criticism.
     
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  4. jon-senior

    jon-senior Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eastleigh
    True. At the same time, fair enough. I was quite happy to criticise the song here on this forum, but doing the same thing in a comment on the band's official YouTube channel would seem a bit rude, I think.
     
  5. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    Very true. And that’s just one reason why this thread is so much better than a Facebook group!
     
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  6. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    I’ve been trying to work out what’s annoyed me about this new song - and I think it’s that it lives up to all the things that people who don’t like TDC are always telling me they don’t like about TDC.

    By which I mean - Inoffensive, “cardigan and slippers” music, with “oh aren’t I so clever” lyrics.
     
  7. Radiophonic_

    Radiophonic_ Electrosonic

    Location:
    Royal Oak MI
    I did see someone in the YouTube comments compare this song to Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Proust, so I’m not sure what voodoo magic this song is working, but clearly “Neil’s still got it after all these years!!” While I’m never going to bother posting a comment on YouTube, I did vote the video down. It’s about as cringey as the song, particularly the “would I choose then or now” bit and we get that cut to him mouthing ‘no,’ ugh, it’s terrible. And as has been mentioned, the “I’m no angel but I’m no fake” line... It’s one of those lines that the first time you hear it, you mentally facepalm. I suppose part of my pique at this song is due to the overwhelmingly positive reception elsewhere, which is baffling. What am I missing here? It’s the epitome of “meh” in song form. 2/5
     
  8. The Turning Year

    The Turning Year Lowering average scores since 2021

    Location:
    London, UK
    Haha I saw that too but couldn't fathom what they were on about!
    I think the video is more cringey...! Is the cream suit meant to represent being in his 'mind palace' again (or maybe being dead, like that character revived by Vic Reeves in some TV drama...?), and the black suit parts are the actual 'now'?
    I've only watched it once, mind you, and don't really want to watch it again as it has left it's mark (especially the bit where his face gets replicated like in the Bohemian Rhapsody video *shudder*, the bit where he gets tangled in the sparkly Father Ted Eurovision streamers at the end, and the numerous uses of that specific 'pop star' hand gesture...:laugh:).
    Yes! That's definitely the impression Neil gives to those who don't dig any deeper (or are we just deluding ourselves....!;)).
    My husband had a go at playing Tonight We Fly on the piano the other night and said it's the only TDC song he likes as he's not into clever lyrics and slushy crooning, and that one has more to it in the way of conjuring up a feeling or atmosphere (he got that impression mostly from last year's streamed Barbican gig and that documentary). I won't introduce him to the lastest song!

    It just struck me as quite funny that had you posted that elsewhere on this forum (or most of the internet...!) things would have kicked off!
    Just shows how pleasant this little group is - I will definitely miss this discussion! :cry:
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
  9. drykid

    drykid Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hereford, UK
    Really? Don't see what was particularly controversial. I only said that some people detest ABBA (though I should add that I'm not one of them!) Anyway it's pretty much a statement of fact as far as I'm concerned. Would be pretty surprised therefore if anyone felt the need to take me to task over it. Now if I'd said that ABBA *should* be detested then it would be a different matter...
     
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  10. The Turning Year

    The Turning Year Lowering average scores since 2021

    Location:
    London, UK
    Sorry, I'm not quite sure what I was trying to say there, and it didn't come across right anyway... It definitely wasn't meant to have be passive aggressive but it probably reads like that!
    I liked the fact you'd said I was weird and I wasn't bothered - it's nice :)

    I'll put my shovel away now... :hide:
     
  11. The Booklover

    The Booklover Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    Saint Etienne
    Glad I'm not alone. I was a bit disappointed when Sound Of Water was released, but compared to the new one it's a masterpiece. At first, Home Counties sounded a bit uninspired in parts, but I've warmed to it. Kicking out the dull instrumentals and spoken-word interludes in favour of several pop nuggets from associated single and EP releases did wonders.

    Bonus tracks on compilations
    Of course, what constitutes a real classic is debatable, but I know quite a few compilations with exclusive singles and extra tracks that are great:

    Kate Bush's "Experiment IV" on The Whole Story is a great song with a great video.
    Depeche Mode's "Shake The Disease" on The Singles 81->85 certainly qualifies (I think the unfairly maligned "It's Called A Heart" isn't bad either).
    Pet Shop Boys put the vastly underrated "DJ Culture" on Discography (though I think the inclusion of "Was It Worth It?" was not worth it) and the excellent "Miracles" and "Flamboyant" on PopArt.
    "This Is Tomorrow" on Saint Etienne's London Conversations is great, too.
    "Pillar Box Red" and "Deep Down Truth" are both great extra tracks on 45 RPM (The Singles Of The The).

    Even though it was intended to end up on the abandoned next album, I'd say ABBA's "The Day Before You Came" qualifies as a single that was only released on a new singles compilation at the time. I'm afraid I think it's their most overrated song, though. It's basically the opposite of what distinguishes ABBA from most other artists, which is coming up with hook after hook flowing seemlessly into one another ("The Name Of The Game" being my favourite example). This one doesn't even have a chorus and is just made up of a generic Schlager verse melody and a dull synth backing track repeated ad nauseam. In contrast, the other new single on that compilation, "Under Attack", is one of their most underrated (I agree with Björn recently saying so) and definitely a great track.

    Also, before The Singles - The First Ten Years, they had two compilation albums with exclusive singles released to promote them that were not featured on any proper album originally: "Fernando" on Greatest Hits and "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" on Greatest Hits Vol. 2, both regarded as classics.

    The Best Mistakes
    I adore the more experimental songs you mentioned, but I also love "Diva Lady" and like "Norman and Norma", so I luckily don't feel the need to tolerate them. I've got nothing against the catchy, more commercial sounding material à la "At The Indie Disco", but to me the new one doesn't hold a candle to these songs.

    I completely agree with this.

    In theory, I like that the handclaps come in to add something to the chorus. On reflection, though, they don't really inject the song with some much-needed buoyancy. Rather, you can imagine listeners in cardigans tapping their slippered toes in time. The whole delivery of the song just feels a bit lacklustre.

    Yes, the lovely tunes make up for the questionable lyrics.

    I'm afraid I have to agree with you on the lyrics. A shame because I do like the tune.

    Good catch! Right from the start, it's the same string motif.

    I guess I'll probably settle on a 3 as well.

    It seems that you only get gushing praise or absolute condemnation on the most popular social media. Of course, an artist likes to be flattered when releasing a new song, but I also think that the occasional well-argued criticism from a supporting fan wouldn't go amiss and might even be more interesting or helpful than the usual blind adoration.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
  12. Linky53

    Linky53 Forum Resident

    Location:
    North Yorkshire UK
    Experiment IV is a good track but the other ‘exclusive’ on the Whole Story which was Wuthering Heights with a new vocal was in my view not a patch on the original which had a youthful innocence about it.
     
  13. The Booklover

    The Booklover Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    I like both versions. It's interesting that in 1986 both Kate Bush and Robert Smith felt the need to record new vocals for early signature songs from 1978 and 1979 respectively, both voices having matured to a fuller sound in the interim. And both keep the old backing track. That said, The Cure's new version of "Boys Don't Cry" was only released as a single, while the Standing On A Beach compilation features the original version.
     
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  14. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    I feel like “The Best Mistakes” has probably run its course for the moment; so let’s head back to the Office Politics bonus disc, where as track 2 we can find:

    Where Have All the Milkmen Gone?

     
  15. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    I somehow missed your post last night, but this was one of the things I did get out of the Facebook group last night - someone posted this and a couple of us were trying to decipher names.

    And then someone started the 13th new discussion about the new song and it sank without trace. But this is very interesting to me! Who knew that Judd’s Paradox was around that long? Who knew Neil tried to write a song for Ant and Dec? :D
     
  16. a paul

    a paul Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Best Mistakes
    Listened to it a couple of times just now. It is still catchy, and maybe a bit better if you don't pay too much attention to the lyrics. It almost feels like there's a good song trying to burst out of it, but not quite managing, especially with the topic matter. 2.3

    Milkmen

    I mean, it's not as catchy as The Beat Mistakes now, is it?? :goodie:
    I don't remember listening to this before, so it's not really stuck with me, but I wouldn't have minded if it was on Office Politics. It feels like it could have a little something to it. 2.9
     
  17. christian42

    christian42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lund, Sweden
    Where Have All the Milkmen Gone?

    As a bonus track, this is fine. It's interesting to listen to and also offers a contrast to the album fare. (Which is saying something as the album itself is quite varied.) Still, there's something that doesn't quite work for me here. Perhaps it's simply that the melody isn't really to my liking.

    3.3
     
  18. christian42

    christian42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lund, Sweden
    As far as songs that are exclusive to compilations go, I like the two new Travis offerings on their Singles compilation. "Once Upon a Long Ago" is another favourite on Sir Paul's All the Best. And "Only If..." is one of Enya's best tracks.

    If you all won't agree with those choices then Madness's "House of Fun" must surely qualify (and personally I'd add "(Waiting for the) Ghost Train" as well).

    And because every thread on this forum needs some Beatle content every now and then, how about that "Bad Boy" on Oldies but Goldies? :)
     
  19. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    I was trying to only cite songs that I thought are widely seen as classics, rather than all my personal favourites, hence I didn't mention "DJ Culture" though I love it (I get the feeling it's not universally loved among PSB fans), likewise "Under Attack" (which I also love) and "Experiment IV" (which I actually don't care for). Those other ABBA songs are excellent examples (though I personally can't stand "Fernando"), as is christian42's suggestion of "House of Fun". Conclusion: there are lots of great songs out there as new tracks on compilations.
     
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  20. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Where Have All the Milkmen Gone?
    This is instantly forgettable. At least, I played it twice and I don't remember anything. 2/5

    I did wonder if Judd's Paradox was even the same song, or an earlier song with the same name and lyrical idea.
     
  21. The Turning Year

    The Turning Year Lowering average scores since 2021

    Location:
    London, UK
    Milkmen
    I really like it. Lovely little song and sweet idea.
    (But we still have milkman(/woman?) so he/she obviously missed getting on that rocket)
    3.7/5
     
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  22. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    Ooh, let’s see what’s in my iTunes library.

    A-ha: Move to Memphis (not one of their best known tracks but I do like it quite a lot.)

    Billy Joel: While the Night is Still Young (prefer this to the other option “You’re Only Human”)

    Genesis: Carpet Crawlers 1999 (yeah it’s polished to an inch of its life but it’s nice hearing Phil and Peter taking a verse each…)

    Goldfrapp: Yellow Halo is a really nice song, and made the set lists of gigs for years after the album came out. (“Melancholy Sky” I can’t even remember how it goes…)

    Jamiroquai: “Runaway” is one of their best songs from after the classic period, in my opinion! “Radio” not so much.

    Jean-Michel Jarre: the new “Aero” tracks are all worth a listen, one of them is really good but can’t remember which.

    Level 42: Take Care of Yourself - ugh, no :D

    Lightning Seeds: Waiting for Today to Happen ‘97 and What You Say are both worthy additions to the catalogue

    Marillion: Sympathy is a nice cover but it’s still a cover. And not a huge fan of “I Can Walk on Water”.

    New Order: I’m a heathen who prefers some of the 90’s remixes on the “?” compilation to the originals, sorry. Especially “Round and Round” and “Bizarre Love Triangle”

    Pet Shop Boys: DJ Culture is one of my favourites, and I like Flamboyant a lot too. (Together, from the later compilation- not so much.)

    Peter Gabriel: the piano version of “Here Comes the Flood” on Shaking the Tree is essential. And I really like “Burn You Up, Burn You Down” on Hit, too.

    Phil Collins - I’m afraid I quite like his version of “True Colors” (hides under chair)

    R.E.M : surely “The Great Beyond” is one of their great songs?

    Saint Etienne: did “He’s on the Phone” premiere on “too Young to Die”? Probably still their biggest hit.

    Sting : When We Dance was still just about worth having, coming off the back of his last really good studio album.

    Well that was fun. For me :D

    [edit - of that lot, I’d argue that only Peter Gabriel’s “Here Comes the Flood” piano
    version, REM and Saint Etienne count as “classics” in the way you meant them.]
     
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  23. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    Good point. Didn’t Thomas pop in to tell us that most of the music for that track was actually his?
     
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  24. Hazey John II

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

    The Best Mistakes
    Hm, I'm out on a limb here! I really like it. I do see what you all mean, it's probably not going to find a very special place in my heart. But I really like it as a solution to the 'write a new song to get on the radio to promote the greatest hits and widen my audience' problem. I just feel really good about Charmed Life in general, and this fits right in.

    Although it obviously is a song about Neil and his career, and I see how that might be annoying, it doesn't bother me, because it also seems like a sincere attempt to reach out to people who don't know him. Apart from a couple of moments, the lyric could apply to anyone with a few years behind them. And I suspect the video was very carefully done - although many of the images are instantly recognisable to us, almost all of them are also just nice images. It avoids anything too specific or weird - it goes as far as shots of the Napoleon and Caesar costumes but no further. No Bang or Office Politics or National Express video oddness. (The shot from the Queuejumper video is of men in suits, not jumping over a cucumber.)

    Well, isn't that the problem, that it's so bland? Hm, I don't know. (I am wearing slippers right now, as it happens.) I don't like songs like this crufting up the albums, but (repeating myself from the Charmed Life thread, sorry) I'm fully on board with Neil having a Greatest Hits in the supermarket, and reaching out to people wherever they may find him. Given that, Charmed Life seems very well put together, and this seems like a thoughtful, welcoming pop song to lead it.

    That's a bit patronising isn't it? 'Well, I don't like it, but if it brings in the plebs...' No, that's not quite it. The song is generously open, but it is not insincere, it's not selling out, it's come by honestly and it addresses something real. I did a double take at the 'fake' line as well, but actually, I like that too. Does Neil really mean that line? Could I sing it? Could you? What life could you lead to be able to sing that chorus honestly? It's a simple lyric but it does speak to me, repeatedly. 'Did my time on the merry-go-round'. Yeah, anyone could have written it. Still works for me.

    There's an ambiguity, an empathy here - 'I'm so grateful this is true for me now. Hope it's true for you, if not today, then soon.' And it keeps catching me out - I was nonplussed by the break after 'I choose now' at first - there should be a solo there! But today I heard it and was brought right into now. Do you choose now? - - - - - - All the muddles and miscommunications...

    I don't really see it being a hit (though that would be nice), and yeah, I still prefer Philip and Steve, but as a way to solve this particular songwriting task, I think it's great. 4/5

    (I also really like Neil writing 'I'm making a video' in his notebook...)

    Milkmen
    Ah, this is great too! (I had relatives in male voice choirs, that might help.) Makes me laugh, I like the fantasy of the milkmen being blasted off in a rocket ship, but there's space enough in it to take a moment to remember what actually happened to the milkmen. On this one I agree with @drykid from yesterday - would have made an excellent third or fourth track on a CD single. 3.5/5
    I know, right?! What do the ticks mean and why don't Life On Earth and Sunrise have them? What are Jazzmaster, The Righteous Judges and Ninety Nine? Why did he go up to 20?
    Ah, that would make sense - a writing list. I wondered if it was songs that had been recorded, or maybe songs he had chosen for the album at that point. It must be an early list though as the titles are drafts, which resolves some of my and @LivingForever's interminable debate about the B-sides - they must have all been written in the main album sessions, except Little Acts of Kindness (unless that's Jazzmaster?) - and I guess Here Comes The Flood, Generation Sex and The Certainty of Chance came along later.
    I always liked Stranded In A Limousine on that album as well, but yes, not a classic. The Great Beyond is a good shout but I think We All Go Back To Where We Belong is even better. Elvis Costello's The Bridge I Burned is an interesting one.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
  25. drykid

    drykid Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hereford, UK
    I prefer the "mature" version to be honest; the original is just too squeaky for me.

    Also, surely the greatest new song written for a compilation album is New Order's "True Faith"?
     

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