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A Short Album About Love

10 Feb 1997

£5.29 (VAT included if applicable)

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 10 Feb. 1997
  • Label: Divine Comedy Records
  • Copyright: 1997 Divine Comedy Records UK Ltd.
  • Total Length: 31:56
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001N0J4QM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,106 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Richard Beenham on 13 Jun. 2003
Format: Audio CD
This is the album which sustained me through my second year at university. It means a great deal to me and provokes a lot of very happy memories.
And what an album it is! Seven hauntingly beautiful love songs, recorded live (without an audience) at London's Shepherds Bush Empire with a full orchestra. Neil Hannon's wry lyrics and smooth-as-chocolate voice melt the heart with several different perspectives on the experience of love.
Many have made the error of assuming Hannon to be nothing more than a purveyor of lightweight comic pastiche. To make that assumption is to miss the point entirely - listen more closely and you will find that beneath Hannon's sardonic wit beats the heart of a true romantic poet and articulate social commentator.
"In Search of Happiness" kicks things off in an appropriately upbeat manner - Hannon stands back and lets the orchestra do most of the talking here, and Joby Talbot's lush arrangement gives the song a Lloyd-Webber-esque feel.
The single "Everybody Knows (Except You)" finds Hannon, in his customary dry way, opening his heart to the object of his unrequited love. He made a small boy cry, you know. The pedantic nit-picker in me would point out that that roughly half-way through the song, Hannon cries "You know I love you baby!", when the whole point of the song is that his "baby" doesn't know... but who am I to make an issue of it?!
The heartfelt "Somebody" changes the tone altogether. "I need to be someone's somebody", he sings devastatingly. Check out the howling guitar feedback in the background during the extended orchestra play-out... it reflects the pained tone of the lyrics and vocal perfectly.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan James Romley on 28 Feb. 2008
Format: Audio CD
A Short Album About Love was Neil Hannon's immediate follow up to the somewhat pompous, almost-rock-opera Casanova; which saw the format shift from lyrical, light-hearted tales of love and autumnal woe of previous records towards the darker, more socially aware concerns of albums like Fin De Siècle and the underrated Regeneration. The sound remains the same, with Hannon commandeering a full, 30-piece orchestra, as well as working alongside the same self-assembled band that would contribute to the two Divine Comedy albums that followed; giving us the repeat line-up of regular collaborators Joby and Ivor Talbot, Pinkie Bates, bandleader Chris Austen and new producer Jon Jacobs, all of whom help to create a swooning, swinging musical backing for Hannon to sing his tales of romance, lost and found.

The record is gloriously performed and produced, using live recording techniques to capture Neil and the band in a completely full-on mode; brimming with energy and exploding with a full-bodied bombast that brings to mind the oft-mentioned likes Scott Walker and Jacques Brel. The swagger and bravado of the orchestration (which is packed with shimmering horns and sorrowful strings) is used to perfectly offset the shades of downbeat melancholia that infuses many of Hannon's wordy lyrics; drawing more on the kind of bleak-desperation and kitchen sink humour made famous by the likes of The Beatles or The Smiths than anything approaching the clean, pop sophistication of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, etc. Some would argue that the concept is far too strange and self-indulgent to work; producing a record of downbeat love-ballads, live and with a full orchestra, but no audience - but as far as I'm concerned, it is pulled off impeccably well by Hannon and his band of merry-musicians.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By russell clarke TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Feb. 2008
Format: Audio CD
A Short Album About Love is a great title for The Divine Comedys fifth album as it is , quite literally a short album ( It clocks in at 31.58) and every song is about love in all it,s trials tribulations and triumphs. What the album title doesn,t convey is quite how magnificently opulent, stirring, witty and downright enjoyable the album is.

The songs are framed by superbly fluid orchestral arrangements-recorded in New York and recorded live - and sung with real relish by Neil Hammond in his vibrant baritone. What really sets this album apart is Hannon,s exemplary song-writing. There are seven songs on the album and everyone is an absolute masterpiece of drama, fervent emotion, and consummate literacy.

"Everybody Knows (Except You)" is the only song off the album released as a single ,though i feel with the possible exception of the comparatively sedate "Timewatching " -a song from "Liberation" reworked , every song on the album could have been . A glorious paean to unrequited love it revels in lines like " I told the passers by/ I made a small boy cry/ But I,ll get through to you/ If it,s the last thing that i do". Opening track "The Pursuit Of Happiness" has tippling medieval style piano/keyboards and tells us that "I'm not the type to fall in love without good reason" though you suspect maybe he is Incidentally the middle eight was used as the theme for "Tomorrows World" for a short period. "Someone", a plaintive plea for love, has volumous and portentous strings ebbing and fluxing ,counterpoint guitar feedback and one of Hannon,s strongest vocal performances.

"If" changes the tone somewhat with a darker sting in the tail of the song, though some of the lyrics are priceless. " If you were a horse I,d clean the crap out of your stable/ And never once complain ".
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