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Timewatching: The Divine Comedy Album-by-album thread

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

  1. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Great work as always!
    Get rid of the lowest 4 songs, and you'd lose "Dark Days...", my favourite song on the album and my only 5/5. I shudder at the thought!
     
    The Booklover and TheLemmingFace like this.
  2. TheLemmingFace

    TheLemmingFace Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    And they’re the exact four songs I’d remove! Huzzah!

    I think (on a quick look) that I’ve given this album more 5s than anyone else, yet still come out as second lowest! It must be those four blasted tracks dragging my score down.
     
  3. The Turning Year

    The Turning Year Lowering average scores since 2021

    Location:
    London, UK
    Thanks for this again, it's always so interesting. I am again disappointed to be to the right... I was so sure I'd do better this time around as I love this album, but no :cry:
     
  4. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    It's good to be discerning!
     
    The Turning Year likes this.
  5. jon-senior

    jon-senior Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eastleigh
    Interesting to see Philip and Steve as the top rated track and Synthesiser as the lowest - the two most experimental tracks at completely opposite ends.
     
  6. Zardok

    Zardok Forum Resident

    Location:
    Castle Cary
    Sorry guys but you CANNOT have a serious discussion about the mellotron without mentioning Mike Pinder!!!

     
  7. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    Yeah that’s funny! I guess the reason is that Philip and Steve is actually quite cheerful and melodic, whereas Synthesiser is cacophonous and atonal. Well that’s my personal reason for those scores, anyway!
     
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  8. ericthegardener

    ericthegardener Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Olivia, New Tron Song
    The Erotic Dreams of Andrea Palladio
    Death and the Mellotron
    The Berlin Airlift
    Pop Muzik
    Large Mellotron Collider


    Haven't listened enough to any of these to have any strong opinions, so not going to rate, but I enjoyed all of them to some degree or another. I like hearing a songwriters doodles, so this kind of listening works for me. Pop Muzik is a big favorite from my youth and I think Neil does a credible version here. Glad to have all of them on the box!

    Played Best Mistakes for my girlfriend who is not a mega-fan, but generally likes the DC songs I play for her. Midway through the first chorus her first words were "sounds like ABBA". After hearing the whole song she wasn't sure what she though of it overall. Didn't think it sounded as artistic as the other songs I've played for her.
     
  9. a paul

    a paul Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Yep, I was quite happy to be in the top three this time! I think for the last couple of albums at least I've been far right (so to speak). It's not even an album I've really spent too much time with, but it definitely feels like one I can go back to and listen to a fair bit and get lots more out of it.




    I've kind of given up with the mellotron instrumental things, but I quite like Pop Muzik. Nice and catchy and good sounding. 3.7
     
  10. drykid

    drykid Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hereford, UK
    Pop Muzik - a fairly pointless cover of the original (which is a timeless classic, if a little over-exposed.) The original is half-sung, half-rapped (although that probably wasn't a word at the time) but Neil has a tendency to veer slightly more towards singing it. No great surprise though, I guess that's his comfort zone after all. Also I don't think that's an actual banjo, just a keyboard with a banjo preset. 1 / 5

    Large Mellotron Collider - to be honest this was finished before I had time to come to some kind of opinion on it, and it's getting to the point now where I have little patience to listen to these things twice. 1/ 5
     
  11. drykid

    drykid Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hereford, UK
    I think from memory I gave the lowest scores overall to Foreverland too. It's a shame I missed when Neil's best albums were being covered as the way it's worked out it just looks like I'm cynical about everything. I never really had a chance to properly enthuse. I suspect I'll probably go back and do the original albums once everyone has finished here (though of course everyone will be gone by then, so my enthusiasm will go unnoticed anyway hah.)
     
  12. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    Okay then, here are the last two tracks from the bonus disc. After this, there are 2 actual bona fide Divine Comedy songs for us to cover (and one silly thing) before the thread will have to go on hold until the Charmed Life compilation is out!

    Turning Japanese

    Another cover.

     
  13. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    And :

    Nordyland 83

    A synth-based instrumental, whose name is presumably a Northern-Irish based play on the 2015 TV Series “Deutschland 83”?

     
  14. drykid

    drykid Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hereford, UK
    Presumably the title also references Nord synths, one of which I imagine was used on this since a) the other bonus tracks also seem to make puns out of the names of the instruments used; and b) Neil has been known to play Nords from time to time:

    [​IMG]
     
  15. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    Oh yeah! Didn’t think of that :)
     
  16. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Turning Japanese
    To me, this cover sounds very Magnetic Fields/Stephin Merritt-esque again, but that may just be that Neil's avowed early-eighties electronic influences for this album are also among Stephin's oft-avowed influences. I like it, probably more than the original which is another of those indie night standards that I've got a little tired of.
    4/5

    Nordyland '83
    excellent sounds. My favourite of the instrumentals on this bonus disc. Could have been on the album, but I don't mind that it's not. 3/5
     
  17. christian42

    christian42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lund, Sweden
    Turning Japanese

    This tune is one of those supposed new wave classics that I've hardly ever heard. I don't know if it's because it never really broke big in Sweden or if I've just managed to miss it anyway. I suppose it's quite catchy, but Neil's arrangement isn't for me. Though it's fun to hear him channel his inner David Bowie in the vocals.

    3.1

    Nordyland 83

    Good calls here in the thread on where the name comes from! Though if it does reference the TV show "Deutschland '83", it just makes me wish that Neil had gone closer to that show's theme - "Major Tom (Coming Home)". However, this is still a good one. There's some farting synths that veer on the edge of annoying me, but the rest of the musical arrangements works well for me.

    3.8
     
  18. The Booklover

    The Booklover Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    Hooray, it's another of your brilliant charts! And hooray, I'm not only towards the left but even to the very left for the first time! I was second to the left for Regeneration after @James Cunningham, who sadly hasn't participated in our discussion of Office Politics.

    My ranking of all albums based on the average of the individual song scores:

    1. Regeneration: 4.18
    2. Fin de Siècle: 4.05
    3. Office Politics: 3.97
    4. Liberation: 3.85
    5. A Short Album About Love: 3.79
    6. Promenade: 3.54
    7. Absent Friends / Victory For The Comic Muse: 3.5
    9. Bang Goes The Knighthood / Foreverland: 3.42
    11. Casanova: 3.27
    12. Fanfare For The Comic Muse: 3.0

    Swallows And Amazons: 2.7

    The Duckworth Lewis Method: 3.25
    Sticky Wickets: 2.63

    Apart from Fin de Siècle and A Short Album About Love, my favourites are all in the bottom half of this forum. Then again, the two pairs of albums between Regeneration and Office Politics, which are very close to each other score-wise, actually tie in my ranking.

    The biggest surprise to me is that Casanova ranks pretty low. I guess I no longer find a lot of the lyrics particularly clever and it's hard for me to ignore them and just focus on the music.

    Also, though I always enjoyed it, I never thought that Regeneration would reach the top. I expected Fin de Siècle or Liberation to be at #1.

    Office Politics
    reaching third place is no mean feat. All the other post-Regeneration albums are in the lower half and very close to each other. So I really hope Neil will continue in this more experimental and electronic direction after the best-of album is out of the way.

    Not surprisingly, my top 4 albums all feature more rock and/or synth tunes than the rest of the catalogue (barring the debut, where most of the songwriting and production weren't up to scratch yet).
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2021
  19. Linky53

    Linky53 Forum Resident

    Location:
    North Yorkshire UK
    Pop Musik

    I love this version. It’s a classic song that shouldn’t really be touched but Neils version is so playful and fun it’s brings a whole new side to the song. If they had put this on Office Politics it would have been up there in my top 3.

    Thanks Hazey John for your excellent summary chart. I was close to the bottom as expected and I am surprised at the overall score which puts office politics above my favourite album (Bang Goes the Neighborhood). Oh well....we are all different which makes this thread so interesting.
     
  20. jon-senior

    jon-senior Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eastleigh
    A couple more history lessons to come, surely? :D
     
  21. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    Ha, well - maybe… I’ll have to wring the last few dregs out of the Chronology page at ashortsite before it stops at the end of 2019! (And then the rest will be from memory!)
     
  22. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    My god, I started reading the thread again from the start (mainly to remind myself of my own opinions of the early tracks so I can compile a career-spanning playlist/compilation) when I should have been doing something else, and it's so addictive!
    LivingForever predicting his only 1/5 would be for "Monitor"
    Participants I'd forgotten about who contributed so many posts before dropping out, and any number of people who contributed only one or two very interesting posts, promising to participate, never to be seen again.
    Me shamefully failing to "like" a load of posts I really liked because I sadly hadn't really got into the habit yet.
    I've bookmarked the page I've got to and I'm calling a halt for today! Chores must be done!
     
  23. jon-senior

    jon-senior Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eastleigh
    Turning Japanese

    Two excellent covers on this bonus disc, both of songs I'm only moderately familiar with. Maybe I'm wrong (I haven't checked, and I'm not going to), but Pop Musik feels to me like a fairly straight re-telling on different instruments whereas this one feels a bit more of a re-interpretation. It feels gentler and more introspective, but very effective for it. I like the mix of synthy sounds and more acoustic instrumentation to, and, although I hadn't really noticed it before now, I agree with @christian42 about the shades of Bowie in the vocal. I could repeat my point about my desire for a solo covers album, and I probably don't need to, but this strengthens the argument in its favour, I'd say.

    4/5

    Nordyland '83

    Firmly on the worthwhile side of the synth noodles, but I don't have anything to say about it in particular. Nice textural stuff, another track that would make a perfectly good segue between proper songs, but nothing more than that.

    2/5


    As we come to the end of the Office Politics stuff, I'm going to throw a request out - there were a couple of broadcasts from around this era that I never got round to capturing for my own collection, and I was wondering whether anyone had audio versions of them they might be able to share?

    There was a gig that was livestreamed from Cologne (I think) - it started with Europop, and it finished with Songs of Love though Neil's voice had almost completely given out.
    There was also some kind of BBC performance (I think - I'm reasonably sure it was on iPlayer) which was done by Neil on his own. I think he did Norman and Norma and Opportunity Knox on the piano, and he definitely did Songs Of Love on some kind of synth. I don't know quite how to describe it - it sounded similar to the synth that runs through Grandaddy's The Crystal Lake. It was certainly a radical interpretation.
    Anyhow, if anyone has either of those stashed away, I'd be delighted to hear them again...
     
  24. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    The Cologne gig is still on the WDR website (we’ve linked to it a few times during the thread ) - not sure if there’s an easy way to extract the audio?

    The Divine Comedy – Live Music Hall, Köln 2019

    The other one I’ve not heard of, so I’ll second that request!
     
  25. LivingForever

    LivingForever Forum Arachibutyrophobic Thread Starter

    Ha, I did exactly the same a few days ago… made it nearly to the start of “Liberation” and then realised I’d wasted about 3 hours :D
     
    Vagabone likes this.

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