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
    That was an inspired comparison. Great track.
     
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  2. Dalav

    Dalav Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey
    Olivia, New Tron Song
    Kept my interest, but falls short of inclusion on the mythical expanded edition of Office Politics
    2.1/5

    The Erotic Dreams of Andrea Palladio
    The opposite is true here, as it nudges into contention as one of the transitional tracks in the same expanded version, though maybe in an edited form that preserves the album's forward momentum without losing the best bits of the song.
    3.4/5
     
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  3. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    The Erotic Dreams of Andrea Palladio
    Pleasant sounds, an agreeable basis for a song, but it doesn't sound completed. It needs a melody.
    2/5

    I thought the last two bonus discs of the box set weren't on Spotify to make the physical box set more desirable (exclusive content) but now I'm beginning to twig that they're not there because they're a bit poor and they didn't want to put anyone off. I'm feeling better about not remortgaging my house to get the set now.

    But as for "the best out-takes being saved for the greatest hits bonus disc", I thought that Office Politics WAS the best out-takes from Foreverland (effectively; I know there's all the stuff about separating out material that belongs together thematically) and so you'd think the well would already be quite dry. We Shall See What We Shall See when the new set is released.
     
  4. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Oh, I didn't sum up Office Politics
    I really like it, though there's lots of very typical "TDC" tracks scattered about on it, it feels pleasing like a fresh approach, a reboot. The stripped down feel and syth sounds on certain tracks help. I'm mainly not keen on "Norman and Norma" but as that's the obvious single it feels it needs to be there to make the album commercially viable, so it's equivilent to an ad break on a favourite TV show. I think my only major tweak (for my own personal version, not with my record company boss hat on) would be to remove that one. Though I rated it lower "Psychological Evaluation" I'd probably leave that one on as it fits the album better and flies quickly past without annoying me too much. I'd probably end the album like this:
    When the Working Day is Done
    Divine Comedy Ltd.
    After the Lord Mayor's Show
    to mirror the triple-ending of Casanova.

    Here's how I'd rank the albums today, grouped into 4 tiers. In fact, I'm not sure of anything except that Prom is my favourite and Casanova is my runner-up. A lot of these could be tied:

    Promenade
    Casanova

    Fin de siècle
    Liberation
    A Short Album

    Absent Friends
    Regeneration
    Office Politics
    Victory for the Comic Muse
    Foreverland

    Bang Goes The Knighthood


    I guess Fanfare at the bottom, but it's still new to me and I liked it more than most of you.

    I'd give Fanfare and Bang 3 stars, the top two 5 stars and all the rest a solid 4 stars (Swallows and Amazons and In May too). So it's a pretty solid gravy train of goodness throughout the whole three decades.
     
  5. drykid

    drykid Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hereford, UK
    The Erotic Dreams of Andrea Palladio - more inconsequential stuff, but I find this more tolerable because someone playing around with synths and arpeggiators is more interesting to me than someone playing around with samplers (which bores me frankly.) I guess that's a hopelessly subjective way of looking at things, but then again I guess subjectivity is all I can offer. It's pleasant on the ears anyway so 2.5 / 5.
     
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  6. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    Alright, let’s crack on through these bonus doodles so we can get to the last couple of actual songs we need to discuss!

    Death and the Mellotron

     
  7. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    The Berlin Airlift

     
  8. The Turning Year

    The Turning Year Lowering average scores since 2021

    Location:
    London, UK
    Berlin airlift
    This is one that I do like as it has a bit more of an attitude to it and feels nicely dark.
    3/5

    Death and the Mellotron
    Also known as Adagio for Mellotron (after Barber).
    2/5
     
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  9. jon-senior

    jon-senior Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eastleigh
    The Erotic Dreams of Andrea Palladio
    Death And The Mellotron
    Berlin Airlift

    Good to do these three together, as I'd struggle to say very much about any of them individually. All three of these are better than Olivia New Song Tron - they all sound much more "finished". None of them would set the world on fire, so it's easy to see why they were consigned to expanded-version bonus track territory, but they're decent enough to listen to. I'd happily have any or all of them on the expanded double-album as incidental segue pieces (though it doesn't bother me that they're not there). Of the three, I'd say Berlin Airlift is the best and Death and the Mellotron is the worst (or at least, the least interesting), but I wouldn't give any of them a particularly high score as they are - I don't dislike them, but it feels like scoring them devalue the similar scores I'll have given to fully realised songs. Maybe 2/5 for the first two and 2.5/5 for Berlin.
     
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  10. drykid

    drykid Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hereford, UK
    Death and the Mellotron - more noodling around. Seems to recycle the chord sequence from the closing section of "Our Mutual Friend", but to no great effect. 1/ 5

    Berlin Airlift - I quite like this actually; it has the feel of one of John Carpenter's self-penned soundtracks. Writing a horror movie film score would be a bit of a surprise departure for Neil but maybe he should give it a go! 3 / 5
     
  11. christian42

    christian42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lund, Sweden
    Death and the Mellotron

    Clearly better than that Olivia experiment, this at least has a soundtrack melody going for it. While I like it less than the synth experiments, I think it fully deserves a place on the bonus disc as it feels like a realised song.

    3.4

    Berlin Airlift

    This also has a bit of a soundtrack feel to it, but I enjoy the sounds here better than on the previous track. And the string swells in the second half of the track really gets it going. It's nowhere near a classic, but as an interlude on the album, I think it could have worked quite nicely.

    3.8
     
  12. The Booklover

    The Booklover Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    Thanks, I'm glad you like the track. I find it very moving. It feels like Cope has written the song to be played at his own funeral.
     
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  13. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Death And The Mellotron a weak 2/5
    Berlin Airlift
    a much stronger 2/5
     
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  14. zither

    zither Forum Lodger

    Location:
    UK
    Sorry to be so pedestrian, but I'm super excited to see DC in Bath next year. This thread is chock full of intelligent observations..
     
  15. The Booklover

    The Booklover Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    Death And The Mellotron
    I prefer "Olivia, New Tron Song" to this one, which does nothing for me and feels quite pointless.
    1.5

    The Berlin Airlift

    My favourite of the instrumentals, I love its brooding minimalism and dark atmosphere. On my expanded double album it comes right before "'Opportunity' Knox" to soundtrack Knox getting rid of his rival, which is why I've retitled it "The Disposal".
    This does merit a high score from me, as I think it is fully realised. Sure, maybe it could have been extended with additional parts, but I think it works perfectly as an interlude without further embellishment that might dilute the dark feel of it.
    4.5
     
  16. Dalav

    Dalav Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey
    Death And The Mellotron
    A subtle and lovely track. Sadness runs through it, with the segment beginning at 1:06 being its most moving. For me it captures the emotions of the character from A Feather In Your Cap--despondent, yet quietly defiant.
    3.5/5

    The Berlin Airlift
    A nice collection of strong and confident sounds but seems more suited to segue than song.
    2.9/5
     
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  17. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    The Erotic Dreams of Andrea Palladio

    One of those tracks where I really wonder if there was some kind of purpose (incidental music for a TV show or something?)- or whether it was just simply Neil playing about with some synths. Anyway, this is one of the more listenable doodles on the disc - I quite like that high pitched wibbly-wobbly sound that comes in every so often! I couldn’t quite see this on the album in its current form, as someone else I think said, it would either need to be shortened and stuck in as a tiny link between tracks, or it would need more variety.

    Death and the Mellotron

    I guess the title is a play on “Death and the Maiden”? Another “oooh, let’s see what I can do with this Mellotron plug-in” doodle. Sounds like it should be on the soundtrack to a film. There’s a nice descending chord progression partway through that sounds sort of familiar.

    The Berlin Airlift

    I like this- the best of this recently posted batch of doodles, I think. It has a nice dark feel that isn’t a million miles away from some of my favourite bits of Depeche Mode or Pet Shop Boys. Again, though, I think it needs a bit more of something or less length in order to become a useful part of a reconfigured “Office Politics”.
     
  18. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    Okay, the penultimate batch of bonus tracks:

    Pop Muzik

    A cover of the M classic.

     
  19. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    And:

    Large Mellotron Collider

     
  20. The Turning Year

    The Turning Year Lowering average scores since 2021

    Location:
    London, UK
    Pop Muzik
    A classic DC cover of a synth pop song, i.e. the same but with the electronic sounds replaced with acoustic instruments.
    Oddly, I don't mind the banjo too much here. I don't love it though...
    The 'la la la' bit irritates me for some reason, but having listened to the original song it annoys me there too.
    It might be nice to hear Neil do something like this in reverse, so cover something using synthesisers :D
    2.5/5

    Large Mellotron Collider
    There was a reason I couldn't think what this was - seems like he's just messing with some sounds to me.
    Can't really score it... 1/5 if pushed.
     
  21. christian42

    christian42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lund, Sweden
    Pop Muzik

    I quite like this one. The vocal arrangements are great, and it's fun to hear it with regular instrumentation instead of synths. However, the original is a classic and will always be my go-to version.

    3.5

    Large (Hadron) Collider

    Less interesting to me than "Death and the Mellotron", this mostly atonal noodling annoys me quickly. At least it's quite short.

    2.4
     
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  22. jon-senior

    jon-senior Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eastleigh
    Pop Muzik

    I really like this. The original version is a song I'm vaguely familiar with but don't have any particular affection for, but this is hugely enjoyable. It's clearly just Neil messing around (I can't work out why he recorded it, to be honest, other than to end up as a bonus track on a box set?), but he's put the work in here, and the interplay of instruments and the various all-Neil vocal parts is a bit of a joy. Once again, I'm left wishing that one day Neil would make either a whole covers album, or a whole album made completely on his own, or both of those things combined in one. If it was ever going to happen, the last couple of years would have been the obvious time, so maybe it just doesn't appeal to him. Or, maybe it could a bright spike of hope if we all get stuck inside again while the omicron variant ravages the globe.

    4/5


    Large (Hadron) Collider


    Also the sound of Neil messing around, but with seemingly no structure or purpose at all. Like Olivia New Tron Song, it doesn't sound anywhere near finished enough to be considered a track in its own right, so not deserving of a score.

    I'm currently leaning towards this as my final Office Politics custom tracklist. No real differences to the last one I posted beyond the addition of a whole load of instrumental synth stuff. I may revise it again once we've heard the bonus material for Charmed Life.

    PART ONE
    1. The Divine Comedy Ltd (from the Office Politics bonus disc)
    2. Take Your Drum
    3. Infernal Machines
    4. You'll Never Work In This Town Again
    5. The Berlin Airlift
    6. Queuejumper
    7. Office Politics
    8. Girl Overboard (from the Bang Goes The Knighthood bonus disc)
    9. The Life And Soul Of The Party
    10. Pop Muzik (from the Office Politics bonus disc)
    11. Turning Japanese (from the Office Politics bonus disc)
    12. Dreams
    13. A Feather In Your Cap

    PART TWO
    1. Beside The Railway Tracks (from the Bang Goes The Knighthood bonus disc)
    2. Where Have All The Milkmen Gone (from the Office Politics bonus disc)
    3. Dark Days Are Here Again
    4. Death and the Mellotron
    5. The Synthesizer Service Centre Super Summer Sale
    6. Philip And Steve's Furniture Removal Company
    7. I'm A Stranger Here
    8. Psychological Evaluation
    9. Absolutely Obsolete
    10. After The Lord Mayor's Show
    11. Nordyland 83
    12. 'Opportunity' Knox
    13. Norman And Norma
    14. When The Working Day Is Done
    15. ARP Break

    It's a 28 track monster now, and why not.
     
  23. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    Count me in as another who really likes the Pop Muzik cover - it’s one of those ones where Neil actually adds something to the arrangement (namely banjo, so I guess it depends on how you feel about that!)

    Death and the Mellotron - yeah… no thanks.
     
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  24. Hazey John II

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

    Office Politics scores (Google Sheet):
    [​IMG]
    Psychological Evaluation and The Synthesiser Service Centre Super Summer Sale land right at the bottom of the song chart, way below Too Young To Die and My Happy Place. And our highest-rated song, Philip and Steve, only struggles up to 32nd place. But the majority of the album has very solid scores, which means the album as a whole does OK in the album chart, and was not that controversial. If our four lowest-rated songs were removed, leaving a normal 12 track album, it would have scored 3.78 overall, between ASAAL and Absent Friends. (Scores are means, standard deviations in brackets):
    1. Promenade 4.043 (0.769)
    2. Casanova 4.033 (0.680)
    3. Fin de Siecle 4.030 (0.764)
    4. A Short Album About Love 3.956 (0.840)
    5. Absent Friends 3.763 (0.942)
    6. Victory For The Comic Muse 3.739 (0.871)
    7. Liberation 3.669 (0.733)
    8. Office Politics 3.531 (0.828)
    9. Bang Goes The Knighthood 3.497 (0.952)
    10. Foreverland 3.471 (0.911)
    11. Regeneration 3.456 (0.983)

    (Some kind of canonical song scorecard will probably follow at some point... maybe. In the meantime, have a look at the Canon sheet of the Google Sheet if you're interested...)
     
  25. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Pop Muzik
    It's OK but I never really understood why this song is considered such a classic. Like most of Neil's relatively faithful covers, I think it would work well live but feel pointless on an album. 3/5

    Large Mellotron Collider
    This sounds like the electronic equivilent of an orchestra tuning up, which is a sound I always liked, so worthy of at least a 2/5
     
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