I’VE BEEN EXPECTING YOU – ROBBIE WILLIAMS (1998) By the time this album was released Robbie Williams was pretty much back at the top of the pops – the huge success of Angels at the end of 1997 had salvaged what looked like it could have been a career disappearing quicker than he could down a pint. That ‘old school classic’ (thanks Tulisa) changed everything and meant that this second album was massively anticipated. By now the Chambers / Williams writing partnership seemed to be able to do no wrong – although it was the Karl Wallinger cover ‘She’s The One’ that ended up being arguably the most successful single taken from the album. So it was hugely popular and is still very familiar with plenty to sing along to, my favourites being the collaboration with Neil Hannon and The Pet Shop Boys ‘ No Regrets’ and the Bond inspired ‘Millennium’. I’ve just noticed the cover image – Robbie’s basically still doing that look in pretty much every publicity shot.
THE WHITE ROOM – THE KLF (1991)
Formerly known as The JAMS (or also known as the JAMS; it got a bit confusing) the first time I heard this band was when their idea of ‘sampling’ was to basically lift entire sections of hits by the likes of Whitney Houston (I Wanna Dance with Somebody) and ABBA (Dancing Queen), a procedure which ABBA in particular – or at least their legal representatives – felt was possibly taking a bit of a liberty. By the time The White Room arrived the band had a No1 hit under their belts under another pseudonym ‘The Timelords’ but this was quite different and is generally regarded as a classic, at least of its time.
About a year after moving to London the shared house I was living in was broken into and as a result my CD collection went AWOL; with the exception of an album by The Auteurs which happened to be stuck in the CD player (I still lost the case though!) By this time The KLF were no more; having gone out with a bang at The Brits in 1992 (machine guns and dead sheep – those were the days!) and had taken the decision to delete their entire back catalogue, so it’s pretty hard to find now. Shame. ‘What Time is Love’ and ‘3AM Eternal’ were really great as far as I recall. And who could resist a bit of Tammy Wynette singing ‘they’re justified, and they’re ancient, and they ride an ice-cream van”. Come on! That’s genius.
THE MOON & ANTARTICA – MODEST MOUSE (2000) I have nothing to say about this as I’ve not been able to find a copy. Another day perhaps (probably not though – who’s got the time, right?)
I’M WIDE AWAKE, IT’S MORNING – BRIGHT EYES (2005) I had to seek this one one out a few times, and finally found it on Spotify. I was fairly determined as the Bright Eyes name and the man behind the band Conor Oberst has come in to my consciousness fairly regularly. I think that he’s one of those guys that has drawn adoration from a succession of aspiring songwriters who have connected with his output. Nothing on here really grabbed me, although the final (title) track is slightly brilliant. The album also includes ‘This is the Last Day of my Life’ which I’ve definitely heard many times before – presumably on the radio although it sounds exactly like the sort of thing you’d find on an old episode of ‘Scrubs’, or some kooky romantic film with Zoe Deschanel.
HATS – THE BLUE NILE (1989) Remembering that this is a Q Magazine inspired list, this album has featured in many of that publications ‘best album’ lists and was awarded a rare 5 star review when it was first released. I think that’s always stuck with me, despite the fact that the only track title I could easily recall as a Blue Nile song is ‘Tinsel Town in the Rain’ and that is not even on this album. Listening for the purpose of this blog was no hardship – I’ve revisited the album a couple of times since. It’s stated as a classic albums, and while it sounds fairly resolutely of the period when it was released it is also somehow timeless. It’s worth having to hand, especially if you need something soft and soothing for a dinner party.