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I have an idea in my head that this band are really good but i don't really know anything about them
where to start?
Casanova is the most accessible album. Promenade and Liberation are extremely good too.
The best of (A Secret History) isn't a bad introduction either, although you only get the more 'pop' side.
I'd probably recommend:
Casanova as the best starting point
Then A Short Album About Love and perhaps Fin De Siecle.
Their last couple of albums have had occasional good moments but largely been pale imitations of past peaks and there's nothing on there you wouldn't find on the earlier albums too.
Regeneration is for completists only.
although i really like Regeneration
Absent Friends has some really great stuff on it (Our Mutual Friend/Charmed Life) but as a whole it's not quite there
Regeneration is the only album I can listen to by them now without thinking 'nudge, nudge, winkety wink smut'.
I love Neil hannon's voice and am glad he had a little solemnity in his life to allow me to fully appreciate it.
He's right though, its not the best one ot buy first.
I only have two of his albums, and that one is head and shoulders above the one with National Express on it. Look! Idon't even know what it's called! I haven't even put it on iTunes! Casanova's ace. Hellloooooo!
It's not a bad album but Casanova's definitely better.
So another vote. I'm not mistaken here, am I- it's an instrumental version of 'Songs of Love' Alas, 'My Lovely Horse' isn't featured...
seriously. They pretty much pwned T In The Park 1996.
Promenade and Liberation have dated quite badly, but are still easily two of the best British pop albums of the 90's.
I wouldn't agree about Promenade and Liberation dating. Promenade seems almost dateless to me, whereas Liberation just has that nice innocent feel to it. Whatever that means.
I think I'd agree with Casanova also. Although that might just be because that was my first album of his.
ASAAL and Find De Siecle are worth getting too.
Regeneration may possibly be my favourite TDC album. Not really like the other albums, and not a good starting point, but I love the whole sound of it.
Absent Friends and Victory For The Comic Muse- I'm less sure about what I think. I don't dislike any of the songs, but I don't unconditionally love either album. But, having said that, there are some amazing songs on them two albums- probably would have made a faultless single album if I could've chosen my favourite tracks.
The sound of one guy, an Atari ST and a midi keyboard and a few of his pals does tend to sound dated after a decade or so. The songs are amazing though.. and always will be.
I think 'A Secret History' is an excellent introduction. From there, you'll know what you want to get next.
I'd get Promenade as well, though. Because it's amazing.
are the best places to start, they show both sides of Hannon's music perfectly. Two of my favourite albums ever.
I don't think he's ever done a truly bad album, although I find Regeneration a baffling side-step - I initially presumed it would simply be the production that changed (Nigel 'flat guitars and whooshy endings' Godrich at play), but Hannon somehow forgot the power of a good vocal melody (most evident in The Eye Of The Needle). But it still has some excellent songs on, notably Perfect Lovesong and Lost Property. Absent Friends I am hugely fond of. Not his strongest work, but the orchestrations are phenomenal and it has Our Mutual Friend, which is nothing less than a masterpiece.
As long as you start with Casanova and Promenade you'll be fine.
Actually, I just remembered Victory For The Comic Muse. I think I listened to that about four times. Awful album.
and Snowball In Negative are stunning, but the rest is so utterly middle of the road. The Light Of Day and Mother Dear struck me as Neil Hannon realising his main target audience were Radio 2 these days, and watering the sound down for that. Some of the songs reminded me of Regeneration with the lack of interesting songwriting, and To Die A Virgin is "look, I was the guy who did Casanova, remember me?!". Ugh, it really upset me upon hearing it.
Gin Soaked Boy
When the Lights Go Out All Over Europe
if you can find them anywhere, his Magnetic Fields covers are really good, too.
can be ordered from the official site I believe on some of the singles.
Neil Hannon is an outrageously underrated songwriter I think. Too many people hear is name and just think 'Ba ba ba'ing from National Express.
I'd also like to stick up for Regeneration, a very good album in my opinion. Probably not the best place to start though. The last album was alright but I don't really find any desire to listen to it now, except for 'Lady Of A Certain Age' which is possibly the finest song he ever wrote.
which at least has jaunty banjo, but Light of Day is fucking appalling. REALLY really fucking bad. Enjoying all the votes for Lady of a Certain Age.
As it will be just a waste of money when you then decide to buy Casanova and Promenade.
There's loads of great stuff on those albums that isn't on Secret History...
Generation Sex might make it onto a personal best-of CD but that'd be the only one from those two that's actually also on the real best-of.
yeah, don't buy it unless
a) there's no way you can get hold of Promenade/Liberation
b) you REALLY want to hear 'Gin Soaked Boy' (fairly dull), 'I've Been To A Marvellous Party' (ludicrous techno Noel Coward cover) and 'Too Young To Die' (just fuck off).
produced what I believe to be my favourite ever cover ever with Ride's Vapour Trail. Beautiful song originally, but Neil Hannon's voice made the thing soar even further :) awesome.
Good song, but cringey pre-millennium bollocks lyrics, no?
'Death of a Supernaturalist' has bits of it. 'Certainty of Chance' is good for the filmy bit at the end, but this was written by Joby Talbot, not Neil Hannon. Joby is the guy who wrote the League of Gentleman theme tune, and is Neil's right-hand man, but now he's a well-known composer in his own right.
Where you can buy any of the early albums pre-Regeneration? Have they all been deleted or something?
I thought I heard something last year about them all being reissued.
I think. The first two certainly are, although I see A Secret History quite a lot (probably still in print), and the other three appear in shops from time to time. But yeah, the Parlophone albums are the only ones you can guarantee to find in shops now.
The rights to the Liberation - Fin era have been bought by Neil Hannon and he's planning deluxe remastered editions of them on 'DC Records' at some point. Originally due last year, but I would presume Victory..., his divorce and being dropped from Parlophone have all added to the delay somewhat.
at last years Connect festival
Liberation - yes, this now sounds a bit dated, but it's worth it for the odd-as-fuck strings-based tune of 'Death of a Supernaturalist' and the joyous 'Bernice Bobs Her Hair'. It's also got a MUCH better version of 'The Pop Singer's Fear of the Pollen Count', with a big hammond replacing the brass that marred the Secret History recording.
Promenade is the best album I've heard ever. It took me a couple of listens to really like it, but it's seriously great. Scott Walker crossed with Michael Nyman and sounding like neither of them. 'Tonight We Fly' is the best track he's ever recorded, but 'The Booklovers' and 'Drinking Song' are pure madness. The rant against God in 'Don't Look Down' is also worth hearing.
Casanova and Fin de Siecle are their poppy records from when they were really big - Fin is the first one I bought, and is much darker despite the presence of 'National Express', whereas Casanova is where he picked up his reputation for wit. Highlights from both albums are 'Commuter Love' from Fin and 'Through a Long and Sleepless Night' (which is an absolute tour de force) from Casanova.
Short Album About Love is only seven songs long, but combines the pop of Casanova with the more gothy bits of Fin really well.
Later stuff. I'd disagree with Paul about Regeneration being for completists only. It's got some crap on it, but 'Bad Ambassador', 'Mastermind' and 'Lost Property' are all classic songs. MUSICALLY. Lyrically, unfortunately, this album is where he starts to sound like the Daily Telegraph with rhymes, and 'Lost Property' aside there's not much on it of any merit.
'Absent Friends' and 'Victory for the Comic Muse' are the albums which were more squarely aimed at the Radio 2 demographic and thus some of the songs on these two albums are very mawkish indeed. But 'Absent Friends' is worth getting for the title track and 'Our Mutual Friend', and 'Victory' has a very strong last half with 'The Plough', 'Lady of a Certain Age', a cover of 'Party Fears Two' and 'Snowball in Negative' being standout tracks. It's just a shame he allowed crap lounge-jazz ('Diva Lady'), an attempt at being Westlife ('Light of Day') and a fucking song about his MOTHER in there too.
Avoid Regeneration and Victory For the Comic Muse struggles - Absent Friends is a good late album though Promenade and Casanova and a Short Album of Love and bits of Fin de Siecle are the best
I have Fanfare for the Comic Muse if anyone wants a copy.
Neil Hannon is a very underrated talent, and very influential on my 'work'.
And 'Liberation' also has its good points if you avoid the bizarre release of 'The Pop Singer's Fear of the Pollen Count' 7 years too late as a jaunty single.
Also B sides - many a good B side and cover version - he did Radioactivity live once and then apologised to the very kate Middleton audience - WHY????
and it sounded bleedin' terrible compared to the original. Ditto 'Your Daddy's Car'. That was a beautiful song, but lost something with the new take.
I so love the Pollen Count on ASH.
My favourite DC albums are Fin De Siecle and Casanova.
And the guy's written Love What You Do, which is simply awesome.
Love What You Do
with the general likingness of TDC here- they always seem like a band that people inexplicacly don't like.
& yes, as mentioned above, they have so many utterly brilliant b-sides. Maybe a bit more hit and miss from the last few albums, but the ones that work, and the earlier b-sides, are still great enough to be excellent a-sides.