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4.6 out of 5 stars61
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 19 December 1999
As good as this Best Of is, it could have been TRULY magnificent - A collection of the best songs by one of the most innovative and imaginative pop bands around, departing from Setanta records before moving to a major record label, yet it could have been so much more. There is:
* The obvious (National Express (natch), Something for the Weekend, Everybody Knows, Generation Sex, Alfie, Songs of Love, Pop Singer's Fear of the Pollen Count) singles or instantly recognisable album tracks. Each one is monumentally catchy and infectious (dangerously so).
* The new (Gin-Soaked Boy, Too Young to Die) - a couple of the best songs they've ever done - Gin-Soaked Boy being so hypnotically repetitive that you can virtually recall the song from scratch after the first listen (See? Simple construction - fantastic song) and Too Young to Die, a song full of raw emotion and power, with Hannon looking forward rather than back ("Maybe it's time for a change?")
* And the baffling (Certainty of Chance, Summerhouse, Daddy's Car). Good as these songs are, if album tracks were to be chosen, why not follow the example of putting on songs like Lucy (Wordsworth's rambling epic of a poem and Tonight We Fly instead? We could have had Death of Supernaturalist, Bernice Bob's Her Hair (Catchy and infectious song version of F Scott Fitzgerald's story of the same name), Europop (synthesiser-laden eighties pastiche - but good!), If... (Truly beautiful with marvellous lyrics - "If you were the road, I'd go all the way"), Through a Long and Sleepless Night (The best thing they've ever done - A crescendo of sound), Commuter Love (Tortured romantic - one of Hannon's finest song's), Here Comes the Flood (Choral jiggery - pokery, doom - laden, noisy, yet cheerful with it), Sunrise (About the Troubles in Ireland - "I was born in Londonderry, I was born in Derry city too") or When the Lights go out all Over Europe (About European cinema - don't let that fool you, when Hannon cracks into the chorus, you'll know about it).
All in all, this is a good (only a good) introduction to the gorgeous world of Neil Hannon, but it all feels a little empty - there's certainly something missing. Their next album will have to be something extra special to top their best - The beautiful, yet tortured Short Album about Love - and hopefully will have a bit more publicity behind them
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on 27 November 1999
This album is an ideal opportunity for the uninitiated to enter the weird world of Neil hannon, probably our most misunderstood talent of recent years. Whether he's producing pop songs with a joyous rush (National Express) or creating fantastically overblown pieces (Certainty of Chance), he shows a superb lyrical inventiveness and ear for an infectious melody. What many people fail to understand, and its their loss, is that Hannon is operating with his tongue very firmly in his cheek. With their sweeping melodies, catchy tunes, often hilarious lyrics, Hannon's pieces will usually provoke humming along or at the very least foot-tapping - and that's got to count for something !!
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on 29 October 1999
Whether you've been listening to The Divine Comedy for years or whether you discovered them, just like me, within the last year, you cannot fail to be impressed with this latest offering. The Secret History is a compilation of great songs, with clever lyrics, and tunes you'll be singing for weeks after. From Noel Coward-esc numbers to full on dance tracks this CD is a must have. I myself admit that it lived in my Walkman for many weeks until finally making it's way to a more permanent home in my Hi Fi system. This album is not to be missed!!
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VINE VOICEon 8 October 2000
Let's get one thing straight. The choices of songs will not be everyone's choice. Some of all our favourites have not worked their way onto this CD. BUT! What is here is great! The new tracks, such as Gin Soaked Boy are wonderful, and even the Cole Porter rave up is cool, in it's own, special, way.
If you can, get the double CD edition. this way you get some superb live tracks, great cover versions, and even a hymn. Wonderful.
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on 29 February 2008
Got this after hearing 'Songs Of Love' on Radio 2.
It's the only song I've heard since The Beatles to have made the goosebumps stand up all over on a first listen.
You have all heard the song before... but not this version. The DJ and listener who requested it agreed it was 'one of the most beautiful songs ever written'. They're not wrong. It's worth buying the album for this track alone.
Then of course, there's Generation Sex with its foreplay of incredible melody & chord sequences, brought to orgasmic fulfilment with fully-orchestrated key changes.
The melody, humour and sharply observant lyrics of 'National Express' and 'Something For The Weekend'... and so on.
This album is aural prozac.
Do yourself a favour...
BUY IT NOW!
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on 1 February 2001
If you don't own any Divine Comedy records (like me before I purchased 'A Secret Histry'), this is a great starting point for newcomers! Containing all their hits to date, plus a few new songs and some earlier album tracks, this best of makes for really good listening, even if your not really a fan of the band.
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on 12 March 2013
I've only recently discovered the music of The Divine Comedy. I heard the well-known
National Express playing a few times on the radio and wanted to discover more. The
variety and originality of the lyrics and combination of pop, orchestration and comedy
is really impressive. There is no other style I can really compare it to. From the darkly
comic "Something for the Weekend" to the retro feel "Becoming More Like Alfie" and the
contrasting luscious tones of "Certainty of Chance" and "In Pursuit of Happiness", this album
is a winner. Unique, eccentric and utterly compelling music!
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on 15 December 1999
An infectious album to say the least: after listening to the various tracks, the music will be floating around your head for weeks to come. Some of the lyrics are quite comical and most of the music is very up-beat. However, there are also some quite reflective tracks. This is a diverse album ranging from the works of Wordsworth to Coward and to The Devine Comedy's own unique brand of music such as Generation Sex and National Express.
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on 24 February 2012
I started with this and for a while thought it was all I would need by the DC. Nothing could be further from the truth. Neil Hannon is a genius song writer and I've come to realise I'll buy all his stuff, for fear of missing a gem or ten.The side thing - Duckworth Lewis Method - is also up there with the great Village Green...of the Kinks. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant artist.
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on 21 December 2005
Neil Hannon is the best musician that I have come across, and yes I mean ahead of Brian Wilson - sorry Brian! Hannon is simply a genius. I need only rely upon this collection as evidence. It is difficult to single out the best songs here, there are few that are not classics, but there is one song that to me is in a different league to anything I have ever heard. That song is "The Summerhouse". Here Hannon aimes to revive, with astonishing success, memories of childhood play, travel, innocence, daring escapades and the happy experiences of childhood. He does this with beautiful, compelling background music that is eminently listenable. Thank you for this song Neil.
Mark
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