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Swoon

Prefab Sprout Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD (4 Feb 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony/Columbia
  • ASIN: B00000262W
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 603,538 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Don't Sing
2. Cue Fanfare
3. Green Isaac
4. Here On The Eerie
5. Cruel
6. Couldn't Bear To Be Special
7. I Never Play Basketball Now
8. Ghost Town Blues
9. Elegance
10. Technique
11. Green Isaac II

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best or the worst? 26 Jun 2003
Format:Audio CD
I rushed out and bought this album on vinyl back in 1985 after hearing "Appetite" on MTV late one evening. (Yes, I know that's on Steve McQueen, but Swoon was the only Sprout album the record shop had in stock).
It soon became one of my favourite albums/music of all time (up there with Elvis Costello's Spike, Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Gentle Giant's Power and the Glory, Bartok string quartets and anything by Steely Dan - and, er, yes, Steve McQueen).
It's the one I play just as much if not more.
I read somewhere that Paddy hates it and would like to withdraw all copies or replace them with new recordings of the songs.
Paddy, if you're reading this, I knew you were a nutter but perhaps they should change your medication ;-).
Steve McQueen is the more "beautiful" and lavishly produced of the two and "When love breaks down" is possibly the greatest song since John Dowland's "I saw my lady weep" (along with "Couldn't bear to be special").
But:
for sheer originality, imagination, weirdness, insights that hurt, and, in spades, the grit that is sadly lacking from post-protest-songs sprout this is the one to go for.
I am a sprout completist, and do not regret buying any of the albums, despite some disappointments when it got too lush, but this one is the essential mr hyde to steve mcqueen's dr jekyll.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex but all the more rewarding 21 Mar 2002
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This album is chock full of complex song structures that perhaps initially seem too clever by half. However, if you are prepared to put the effort in you are richly rewarded with an album that seems to come out of nowhere. What are the precedents? People make references to Steely Dan but I can't see it. This is erudite complex music for the head and the heart. Some years ago I had the good fortune to work briefly alongside this band and I opined that 'Swoon' was the best thing they had ever done. "Yes" said Martin "but how often do you listen to it"? At the time I thought he had a point - 'Steve McQueen' is the one you play.
Now 17 years later I realise I was right - 'Swoon' is genius the like of which rarely comes along. Take the opportunity, buy it and yes - you will always be coming back to play it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This band's second album, "Steve McQueen", is generally ackowledged by critics to be their best, but on my more obtuse days, I don a black poloneck, read some Graham Greene and pronounce "Swoon" to be its superior. The opening track is a rather aimless wander through a desert landscape with jangly guitars and contrived rhymes, but from there on in, this is the strangest, most perfect pop music you will ever hear. Swoon sounds like it was recorded in someone's broom cupboard (at one point, a basketball bounced on the floor becomes the beat), but Paddy McAloon's oblique lyrics and sudden shifts in pace, key and mood are never less than gripping. "Cruel" perfectly dissects male vanity and jealousy: "The world should be free, but don't you go following suit", "Elegance" addresses class stereotypes, and the haunting ballad "I Couldn't Bear To Be Special" the fear of emotional commitment: "So, don't look at me that way, Of course it gives me pride, But I can't take on the risk of Letting down the sweet, sweet side". Later, McAloon would try to become Paul McCartney, his lyrics increasingly day-glo. Here, he proves that the devil has all the best tunes - buy this album and wonder anew every time you hear it.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tortuous but Charming 3 Nov 2001
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
A murky but beautiful concoction, Swoon is really difficult to get to know, but well worth the effort. It appeared out of nowhere, sounding like an obsessive fragment of some lost tradition - apparently McAloon spent years in his bedroom polishing everything up way past boredom, and ended up with a record of microscopic shifts, changes and observational ticks which somehow wove together in a bizarre narrative.
The song structures are very odd, and much less predictable than his later poppier efforts. Instead of classic verse-chorus-verse they seem to bring you round in an ever-decreasing orbit, and you keep meeting familiar musical figures, then it disintegrates into a different shape. At first this is very irritating, but later takes on this magical charm. You don't so much listen to this album as navigate your way through it! Most songs have 'too many bits', but you get used to it.
McAloon's vocal mannerisms veer between the opposites of an almost excruciating lack of self-consciousness and painfully shy introspection. He sings like someone forcing a sound for his own scrutiny and never really lets rip naturally. Trying his best to emote freely - "bo, bo-bee" - he only traps himself with 6th Form intellect, Jodrell Bank, and "four good A'level passes". What else can you say about a song which hero-worships chess master Bobby Fischer?
A very masculine record, Swoon substitutes restless intellectualising for real emotion, but every now and then McAloon hits a bullseye. Men the world over will pause and sigh for a moment each time they hear "Cruel", an assembly of the most perfect couplets in songwriting "But I Don't know how to describe the modern rose, When I can't refer to her shape against her clothes". We've all been there!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great bands have their own unique voice - a great album If you have...
When I first heard this album it was clear the Prefab Sprout sounded like no other band and that it marked the emergence, in Paddy McAloon, of a major song writing talent. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Reader from London
5.0 out of 5 stars the indie/art rock debut to top them all
From the North East of England, this trio of singer/songwriter/pianist/guitarist Paddy McAloon, brother and bassist Martin, and girlfriend & singer Wendy Smith deliver the... Read more
Published on 9 Jun 2010 by Alister King
5.0 out of 5 stars swoon
i fell in love with this album in 1984, on about the 5th listen. The "sprout" did some mighty fine things later but never anything better and face it people there is not a better... Read more
Published on 19 Dec 2009 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars the sprouts marmite album
This is, as mentioned in other reviews, an album that takes time to get to know.But on that play that finally bites you,is worth all the time and frustration. Read more
Published on 9 Dec 2009 by Peter Ward
2.0 out of 5 stars Not their best!
I love PS but this is not their best. I bought it mainly for the title!! I have many of their other albums/CDs but this was disapointing.
Published on 6 Nov 2009 by Ms. S. A. F. Rice
5.0 out of 5 stars I know all the words
I grew up listening to this album, bought it aged 16 or 17 on cassette, when it first came out in 83/84 (memory lacking). Read more
Published on 28 Oct 2009 by S. Dyer
2.0 out of 5 stars Sorry all - I've tried and tried (and tried) - but I don't get it
I really love some of the later Prefab Sprout stuff, especially Jordan, and having read all of the reviews (their masterpiece etc) I bought this. Read more
Published on 1 Feb 2009 by Mr. C. M. Hammond
5.0 out of 5 stars Paddy's very best
'Swoon' is the one Prefab Sprout album you need in your collection. Everything else by Paddy is tosh. All the tunes are crafted, vital and unique. Read more
Published on 7 Nov 2007 by N. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but superb
Packing more emotion into a single well-turned phrase than most artists manage in an entire track, this CD stands up well as a set of quality off-beat pop songs. Read more
Published on 14 May 2003 by Jeremy Mcgee
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