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3.6 out of 5 stars8
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 2 June 2014
This is by far Cope's most commercial album. A lot of Cope heads hate album this because there is little evidence of acid fueled madness here. However, although it's more mainstream than Peggy Suicide etc, these are great songs, well produced but without being cheesy. It's more upbeat without the tinges of paranoia and cynicism seen elsewhere. He's a versatile artist, flashes of this album can be seen in his later more varied work, but this showed he was capable of producing a entirely mainstream lp without having to sell out.
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on 31 July 2004
'Commercial' albums which don't make money are hard to see dispassionately, especially if you are the artist. Post-'St Julian', Cope's comeback stalled with this follow up (it kinda stalled after the 'Shut Your Mouth' single).
This is the least 'credible' Cope album, unchallenging and with 'Big' production, but it's one extreme of his catalogue, interesting as such, and much stronger than reputation makes it.
There are signs of a creative struggle - uncharacteristically a couple of covers appear and one was offered as a single - but 'Charlotte Anne' and 'My Nation Underground' are gorgeous. This is certainly one to buy if it's re-released cheaply. The preceding 'St Julian' is the one worth splashing out on import or at auction, the subsequent 'Peggy Suicide' is cheap as chips and stunning.
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on 2 February 2010
Julian Cope is a true genius of post punk England, he is also one of its oddest and contrived characters. In the late 70s Julian attended University in Liverpool it was there he meet a number of like minded students riding the creative wave of the Liverpool post punk/new wave movement. Even then Julian was said to be difficult, even dictatorial and incredibly hard to work with.

After the implosion of the Teardrop Explodes Julian spent 1983 recording his wonderful debut record, 'World Shut Your Mouth' a mixture of orchestral pop and psychedelic meanderings. He spent 1984 tripping and locked inside in a room playing with his toy car collection before unleashing 'Fried'. Many critics go with 'Fried' as the best of the two. Julian then got his act together and detoxed prior to the release of 'Saint Julian' in 1986, which was the rock'n'roll response every one was hoping and waiting for and it really delivers. The lead singles 'World Shut Your Mouth' and 'Trampoline' were both top 20 hits in the UK and abroad

Disaster was around the corner however in the form of the upcoming record, 'My Nation Underground'. Cope claimed that management had forced him to record something that didn't represent his artistic intentions. It is a disappointing record. This should have been the record that capitalised on the momentum of 'St Julian' both in commercial and artistic terms. I don't know whether this was by fault or design but people fault this album for being too poppy or mainstream or whatever, but if like me you don't mind poppy or mainstream, it's not a bad album at all. In fact, there are several very good songs on here, but it's not really representative of Mr Cope and you don't feel spiritually connected to the music. The lyrics and word play are interesting on Charlotte Ann and the beautiful Love song embodied on China Doll sees Cope exposed down to the veneer. Perhaps this is what really threatened Cope.

Cope approached this album in is own unique inimitable manner but by the end of recording, he was on the verge of disowning. Inspired moments aside, one can understand why: My Nation Underground has just about everything going for it except for Cope's own vision. The high points that are here are actually quite fine, though he still professes to this day to hate the results. Most of the time, though, Cope, Skinner, DeHarrison (Cope Alias), and company sound like they're fulfilling a record company brief to make a saleable commercial alternative album, late-'80s style. The production touches tended towards the anonymously clichéd, making it more consistent throughout. But its does lack identity and does not convincingly portray the personality of either Cope or his band. The title track Charlotte Anne is a good example of something which should be right going terribly wrong the squelchy synths and arrangement almost drown Cope's idiosyncratic lyric, while the backing chorus sounds unfortunately like the type of pseudo-funky thing to be expected from his 60's (Pebbles) contemporaneous..

Critical views generally support this view. The accompany video for China Doll had a cameo appearance from Pete Louis Vincent de Freitas (2 August 1961-14 June 1989) the drummer with Echo & the Bunnymen who sadly died in a motor bike accident shortly after completion of the shoot.

This was Julian Copes last attempt at being a Pop Star and the last time any corporate record company wanted to touch him. The next phase of Julian Cope was to create a new fan base and leaving most of his original fans bewildered. Perhaps this was his intention all the time.
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on 20 August 2011
History has treated this album unfairly. Having followed Cope through 80s I bought this record on release. At the time it stood up well as an attempt to be more main stream and showed Cope's talent for a good tune. I agree it pales in comparison to the sonic delights of Peggy Suicide which followed a couple of years later but taken in isolation it's really quite good.
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on 4 December 2013
Just downloaded this as part of my replace vinyl with digital mission. Had forgotten how much I like Charlotte Anne, title track is a bastard child of the brassy Teardrop Explodes. But Copey has a pop soul that shines through, I know it is said that he doesnt like this very much but I commend it highly.
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on 20 August 2015
One of Mr Cope's earlier, more commercial offerings, but good all the same. Hadn't listened to this since I purchased the LP back in the late eighties. Perhaps time had tainted my opinion of this album, but it's better than I remember. Well worth revisiting if you liked his earlier work.
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on 18 February 2008
This was the first Cope album I came to as a spotty 15 year old. I remember buying it for an knock down price in an old virgin store. I took it home, put it on my cassette player and loved every track. I had nothing to compare it to, as I hadn't heard anything else other than World Shut Your Mouth. I was unaware of The Teardrop's at the time.

Hearing the album more recently and now knowing his back catalogue, I can see why it's not revered by fans of Cope; it's not as influenced by LSD or stone circles etc. Despite this it's still a good album, well worth owning. I can't help feeling that people into cope don't like it simply because it's not wacky or weird enough - shame really, it should be about the music not the image associated with it. If you like good alt. pop music from the 80's (Smiths, Billy Bragg, Echo and The Bunnymen, The Cure etc)and enjoyed World Shut Your Mouth and Reward etc then this is well worth owning.
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on 7 June 2004
Copey is one of our greatest artists, but this album is just awful. Get Jehovakill, Peggy Suicide, Fried, or Rome wasn't burnt in a Day instead.
Woeful
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