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Queen Of Denmark


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Music

Image of album by John Grant

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Image of John Grant

Biography

Everyone has a favorite band or singer they reckon is subject to criminal neglect. That John Grant’s effortlessly rich, expansive baritone, couched in typically heartbreaking, lush melody, hasn’t found a wider audience indeed drives his fans to consider a crime. But no longer. Because Grant’s first solo album, following three undervalued studio albums (and one similar covers ... Read more in Amazon's John Grant Store

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Queen Of Denmark + Pale Green Ghosts + John Grant and The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
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Product details

  • Audio CD (19 April 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Bella Union
  • ASIN: B00369K2SM
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,347 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. TC And Honeybear
2. I Wanna Go To Marz
3. Where Dreams Go To Die
4. Sigourney Weaver
5. Chicken Bones
6. Silver Platter Club
7. It's Easier
8. Outer Space
9. JC Hates Faggots
10. Caramel
11. Leopard And Lamb
12. Queen Of Denmark

Product Description

CD Description

Denver's John Grant sang with a band called the Czars before moving to New York where he supported Flaming Lips and Midlake, becoming friends with both bands. Midlake then worked with Grant on this, his debut album - a sublime collaboration featuring Grant's unique vocal style and piano-playing skills with Midlake's backing.

Though a number of dedicated followers are already aware of Grant's vocal talent, Queen of Denmark now gives more listeners the chance to appreciate his music.

BBC Review

John Grant had almost given up on music until he met Midlake. The Texan folk-rockers saw the disillusioned former frontman of The Czars live, fell in love with his burnished baritone and elegantly sad songs, invited him on tour and then persuaded Grant to make a solo album at their own Denton studio. Fans of confessional singer-songwriters owe Midlake a vote of thanks, because Queen of Denmark is one of the most deeply satisfying debut albums of recent times.

A key example of the current 1970s obsession among American musicians, Queen of Denmark is a literate and poetic album about being a perennial outsider. Grant grew up gay and alienated from his religious family in Kalamazoo, Michigan and Denver, Colorado, struggled with the overlooked Czars, hid his pain in addictions to booze and drugs, and contemplated suicide. Yet his debut eschews self-pity and tortured angst for wry snipes at old lovers and the straight world, sci-fi metaphors and soaring testimonies to the impossibility of perfect love. His rich, effortless voice has a built-in smile which contrasts beautifully with Midlake’s elegantly miserable blend of acoustic folk, orchestral classicism and the occasional eerie synth.

An ex-lover called Charlie inspires three of the highlights – opener TC and Honeybear is an epic essay in bittersweet loss and male insecurity; Where Dreams Go to Die shows off Grant’s flair for the melodramatic yet restrained love song; and Caramel is a romantic ballad of minor-key majesty. Elsewhere, I Wanna Go to Marz, Chicken Bones and the wonderful Sigourney Weaver excavate key moments in Grant’s past over music that recalls relatively obscure 70s singer-songwriters: Clifford T. Ward, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Jackson Browne and Neil Sedaka haunt this gorgeous sound far more than, say, Elton John or Leonard Cohen.

But comparisons are difficult here. Queen of Denmark transcends the sum of its influences by concentrating on the irresistible appeal of sad yet optimistic love songs, classy arrangements and a dark and handsome croon. Midlake’s only mistake is making Grant’s startling debut better than their own records. --Garry Mulholland

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By The Wolf TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 April 2010
Format: Audio CD
One grumble (and it's a big one!) then I promise I'll
get on to the good stuff. Call me obsessional or myopic
(or both) but the CD inner-sleeve credits are barely
legible. The smallest font imaginable - shocking pink
against an (admittedly rather good) background image of
a dead and decomposing bird spread out on the finely pebbled
road surface where it resumed its aquaintance with its maker -
made my eyeballs ache in a futile attempt at deciphering
who did what, when and how on this truly wonderful album.
I believe the designer is Monosapien. He should be shot.

Rant over.

Now to the music. John Grant is a man of vision. He also
possesses a fine sense of humour. The twelve compositions
in this collection are remarkable both for their variety
as much as for their sustained quality.
The collaboration with American band Midlake has been a
fruitful one. Their sensitivity to Mr Grant's mission is
evident in every bar.

Whether in the dreamy child-like naivety of gorgeous melodic and
lyrical ideas like the two opening tracks 'TC and Honeybear' and
'Marz', or the late-night melancholy of 'Where Dreams Go To Die'
(the love child of Tom Waits and David Lynch) Mr Grant is never
less than a tantalizing guide though these beguiling imaginative
and deeply personal emotional landscapes.

He has a beautiful voice. Warm, rich, tonally secure and grounded.

Every song here has a curious tale to tell and Mr Grant has an
extraordinary capacity to breathe life into his subject matter.

'Sigourney Weaver' is a deliciously funny confection.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Red on Black TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 April 2010
Format: Audio CD
4.5 stars

Sometimes album covers can set a "tone" for a record although quite what John Grant's image on the "Queen of Denmark" is intended to covey defeats me. While it might bear an uncanny resemblance to Keith Flint of the Prodigy, that is where the similarity ends since in terms of inspiration "Queen of Denmark" is about as far away as humanely possible to the sound produced by the twisted fire starters. Grant's previous band "The Czars" who came out of the Denver music scene in the 1990s but later imploded and barely registered in the UK. Yet those who did hear great songs like "Goodbye" and the superb country ballad "Bright black eyes" will know one key fact above all else namely that John Grant has one of the richest baritone voices in music. The Czars produced their fair share of lush chamber pop but on the "Queen of Denmark", John Grant has pushed the boat out and it sails brilliantly.

He does this in partnership with none other than Midlake. Grant recorded this album in Midlake's studio in Denton, Texas as Tim Smith and co were concluding their beautiful if flawed English folk rock based extravaganza "The Courage of Others". He is also touring the USA at the present with the band. What is interesting in this excellent debut album is that the presence of Midlake is primarily based on their 70s-style soft-rock know-how (Van Occupanther era) rather than their latest preoccupation. You certainly can hear some of the pastoral themes of the "Courage of Others not least of all on the one of the highlights of the album "I wanna go to Marz" which echoes "Winter dies" and throughout Midlake are the perfect backdrop to Grant's rich pop songs into which they breath life, but never overly intrude.
Read more ›
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. D. Moore on 20 April 2010
Format: Audio CD
The name John Grant was unfamilar to me until I read a piece preceding the release of this, his debut solo effort. My interest was pricked due to the band who provide the backing, the peerless Midlake, whose The Courage of Others album is my current album of the year. Ironically, this could be the album to eclipse it. Lyrically, Queen of Denmark deals heavily with John's struggle with homophobia, self doubt and self loathing, but he is blessed with a lightness of touch and wicked sense of humour resulting in subject matter that could, in less talented hands, come across as self pity, instead ending up simultaneously heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud hilarious. Musically, a varied selection ranging from AOR style pop/rock drenched with harmonies to gorgeous, dramatic torch songs a la Rufus Wainwright at his most melodic to upbeat show tunes...with added swearing. Excellent. Marry that with Grant's stunning baritone and Midlake's understated yet virtuosic backing, this really is a collection to cherish forever.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Conan the Stamp Collector on 21 Mar 2013
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
I have come to this album after first buying "Pale Green Ghosts" and though the sounds are different, thematically they are similar. I mean this in a positive way. The witty title hints at John's sexuality and the songs within mention lost love And the bigotry he has faced.

The album is predominately an acoustically created work with caustic, witty and alienated undertones. As previously intimated the songs are of melancholy love, loss, regret and anger wrapped in harmoniously layered instruments.

I have a great deal of respect from John's obvious musically talent. He knows how to produce a tune, but I am staggered by the poetry and depth of his lyrics.

Individual tune breakdown is not my thing, I leave it to the reader/listener to make up their own mind about what they each mean and what similar style of music they remind you of. However I will stick my neck out and describe musical undercurrents as left field as Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bell mixed in with early 70's Cohen and Dylan. ( Call me crazy if you wish, bet you hear it too). Along with this there is rye wink towards stylistic folk music of the Fleet Foxes mixed in a tumble dryer with world weary Tom Waits cera 1975.

Enough of me trying to write like a music critic. This is an autobiographical confession of the soul that leaves you picking your jaw of the floor. JG like all great artists is a bit of a tortured soul, but that is where is strength lies.

I highly recommend "Queen of Denmark" and its follow up. This is what a true musician sounds like, it's not easy but will reward with repeated listening.
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