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Not Found - The Facts of Life CD


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Not Found - The Facts of Life + England Made Me + Passionoia
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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: 0
  • ASIN: B00004NJMQ
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 114,073 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Not Found - The Facts of Life

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan James Romley on 28 Feb. 2008
Format: Audio CD
The Facts of Life was really the next logical step forward for Black Box Recorder following that great debut album, England Made Me, with the band really taking the template developed on songs like Girl Singing in the Wreckage, Child Psychology, Kidnapping an Heiress and Swinging to the next possible level. As a result of this, the sound of the album suggests an almost reinvention, as the band develop a tighter sound that trades those once prevalent spidery guitar lines and sparse arrangements for drum machines and synthesised strings. As a result, Black Box Recorder become a band that are almost pop in the traditional sense, with Haines and Moore creating some gorgeous melodies and intoxicating, evocative lyrics, whilst the vocal delivery of Sarah Nixey is much more confident and beguiling, though with that slightly detached cynicism still (thankfully) intact.

As the other reviews point out, it's not quite pop... but at the same time, its perfect pop... or pop music as it should sound in the twenty-first century. The production, this time assisted by Pete Hoffman as opposed to Phil Vinal, goes for the same minimal approach employed on their first album, but with the influence of electronic music starting to become apparent too. This would be taken even further on their third album, Passionoia, which really is pop music in the truest sense of the word. The album is, for me, close to perfect - or at least, my idea of what makes a perfect album - with the band presenting us with a series of themes that are analysed with the same sniping, darkly comic contempt that has been a huge part of Haines' past work, both with Black Box Recorder, and with his other projects, The Auteurs, Christie Malry and Baader Meinhof. As one of the other commentators noted; this is really one of the best and perhaps most unappreciated pop albums of the decade.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Keith M TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 Jan. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Black Box Recorder's 2000 album release The Facts of Life was the second of their three albums (sandwiched between England Made Me and Passionoia). Soundwise, the album is (as might perhaps be expected) somewhere between that of EMM (which was more guitar-based) and Passionoia (more electronic/keyboard-based), providing a beautifully laid back, but still sophisticated, blend of guitar and keyboards. Over the top of this sound are Sarah Nixey's very distinctive, near-spoken, sultry vocals. BBR's appeal lies essentially in their superficial sugary sound being underpinned by an apparently more acerbic, and perhaps even sinister, intent.

For me, The Facts of Life is superior to the England Made Me debut and broadly on a par with Passionoia, which contains the highest proportion of up-tempo commercial material that BBR produced. Songwriters Luke Haines and John Moore are (for Haines, certainly) here relatively restrained lyrically compared to (for example) earlier Auteurs material, but still provide some clever touches and memorable lines. Whether it be the poignant 'onset of adolescence' story told in the album title song or the witty observations on jack-knifed lorries and emotional detachment made in the excellent The English Motorway System, there are enough little gems to keep us amused. Other standout songs are the opener The Art of Driving (where driving is again used as a metaphor for romance) and Straight Life (a tongue-in-cheek recommendation of conformity - 'keep your mouth shut, say hello to the neighbours'). Also worthy of mention is the song The Deverell Twins which provides an unusual and macabre take on the real-life drowning of two young boys in the Thames during Victorian times.

Black Box Recorder were, for me, never quite in the same league as Haines' Auteurs, whose sound was simply more invigorating and whose lyrics were more wonderfully caustic. Nevertheless, an album (and a band) well worth listening to.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME on 4 Nov. 2007
Format: Audio CD
Released in 2000, 'The Facts of Life' was the second album from Black Box Recorder (featuring the lovely Sarah Nixey, the dastardly Luke Haines & the decadent John Moore) and to date this is probably their masterpiece (though debut 'England Made Me' is almost as great & the neglected 'Passionoia' equally excellent...though probably too clever. Maybe people thought BBR had made their point? & perhaps the TV talent show/state of pop themed 'Being Number One' and 'Andrew Ridgley' were slightly obvious targets?) Fingers crossed for the rumoured fourth album from Black Box Recorder; in the meantime, The Facts of Life...

Penned by Haines and Moore, The Facts of Life advances on the dark climes of England Made Me - Weekend references The Specials' Friday Night, Saturday Morning AND the book/film that referenced (Saturday Night, Sunday Morning), and manages to take its title from one of Jean-Luc Godard's most enjoyable films (autogeddon, cannibalism, communism, intertextual pop references). Weekend captures the whole life of consumption thing, the allure of capitalist hedonimism that Gang of Four once sang about ("Please give me evenings and weekends")- Cashmachine macht frei, if you like. The album opens with single The Art of Driving, which joins the ranks of Ballard/Crash themed pop songs (see: Warm Leatherette, Pull Up to the Bumper, Cars, Fly on the Windscreen...) and probably isn't that far away from Godard's Weekend. The clashing vocals between Moore and Nixey are fun, and the guitar here kind of a glam take on that Throbbing Gristle sometimes employed. I come from a world where proper guitar solos' depress...
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