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This budget compilation covers Julian Cope's initial forays into solo-dom- captured in 'Repossessed' to the excellent 'Jehovahkill' album-which saw him get dropped by a clueless Island...His debut solo single, 'Sunshine Playroom' is a rather strange casio/drum-machine driven track- rather great but not as great as should-have been singles like 'Strasbourg' & 'Quizmaster'. We do get the moribund 'Head Hang Low'- the missing link between 'The Culture Bunker' & 'Laughing Boy' & the divine 'Greatness & Perfection'- surely one of the finest acoustic popsongs ever recorded?...Sadly we get just two songs from the seminal 'Fried': the acoustic shimmer that is 'Bill Drummond Said' & the epic 'Sunspots' which sounds like early The The covering a track from XTC's 'Skylarking'. Pity that 'Reynard the Fox' & 'Holy Love' are passed over- same for b-sides like 'Mik Mak Mok' & 'Land of Fear'...Next up is his brief outwardly commercial period, 1986-1988- this would involve showing Sarah Green on 'Going Live!' his toys!!. We get 'World Shut Yr Mouth' twice- which is a waste- the 'Troublefunk' mix is cool- but a b-side like 'Disaster' would have been better. 'World Shut Yr Mouth' is one of those classic songs like 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', 'Bullet the Blue Sky' or 'Supersonic' that you can't not think is one of the greatest rock songs ever. Follow-up 'Trampolene' is even better- Hives fans should see how it's done properly; ditto for 'Spacehopper'- a Stooges-thrash whose catchy line ("I've got a spacehopper baby/but it's strictly one-seater") was coined by Ian McCulloch- who was then too embarrassed to use it! Pity the best song on 'St Julian' is passed-over ('Shot Down')...We get just two songs from the severely mediocre 'My Nation Underground'- the not bad title track & lovely overproduced 'Charlotte Anne'. Again a great song is left off- the gorgeous 'I'm Not Losing Sleep'...The 'Peggy Suicide'-era is represented fairly well- we get 'Pristeen' & 'East Easy Rider' from 'Phase One', 'If You Loved Me At All' from 'Phase Two' & 'Beautiful Love' from 'Phase Four'. This is such a classic album it is hard to pick the best songs to represent it. The absence of 'Safesurfer' is inexplicable; same for b-side 'Port of Saints'. And why nothing from 'Droolian' or 'Skellington'?-'Robert Mitchum', 'Jellypop Perky Jean' & 'Unisex Cathedral' would have made the transition from Nation to Peggy more understandable...Finally we have some songs from the almost as great as 'Peggy'-album, 'Jehovahkill'. 'Upwards at 45' is a clear choice- though Copey would write a better version of this at a later date ('Highway to the Sun' from '20 Mothers'). 'Mystery Trend' & 'Soul Desert' are strange choices, both from 'Phase One' (as 'Upwards'). Why not include the hilarious 'Julian H Cope', the strange dancesong 'Poet is Priest' or sublime single 'Fear Loves this Place'? And what about the great cover of Roky Erikson's 'I Have Always Been Here Before'??
So, not a bad sample of Copey solo from 'World Shut Your Mouth' (1983) to 'Jehovahkill' (1992). But how can you ignore early classics like 'Camera Camera', 'Treason', 'Like Leila Khaled Said' & 'Suffocate'? Or post-'Jehovahkill' classics like 'Don't Call me Mark Chapman', 'Try Try Try', 'Wheelbarrow Man' or 'Dust'??
Sadly Mr Cope remains poorly treated by record companies & seems better off writing books & doing TV. Let's hope that all those people who are buying stuff like Pink Floyd, SFA, Spiritualized & Radiohead discover his works and his obvious godlike genius! This is not a bad place to start...
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on 31 August 2001
The problem with newcomers to Julian Cope is knowing where to start - he seems to churn albums out at a rate of knots, regardless of whether or not he's got a record deal at the time. There have also been a handful of collections, of varying quality, but this is the best one to have appeared since the early '90s Floored Genius Volume 1. This collection sensibly tries to cover a shorter span of time (1984-1992), a period that was by turns incredibly productive and commercially successful. You'll find 1st post-Teardrop Explodes single, Sunshine Playroom (possibly the maddest, poppiest 3 minutes ever committed to vinyl) through to tracks from his controversially-titled (and last major label) album, Jehovahkill.
What shines through the entire collection is Cope's seemingly effortless ability to create esoteric songs that were at the same time incredibly hummable (Sunspots must be one of the few great pop singles based around an oboe!) There's been a tendency to avoid the more psychedelic (or just plain bizarre) album tracks and no B-sides whatsoever (unless you count the 12" mix of World Shut Your Mouth) but, as an incentive to seek out the further works of Julian Cope, it's as perfect as you could hope for. Genius? Maybe not, but it comes as close as you can get on a single Compact Disc...
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on 23 February 2002
In my opinion probably one of the three best British songwriters in the modern age with Peter Gabriel and Roger Waters.
This album shows some of his best stuff, and for reasons I don't understand the riff in 'going upwards at 45 degrees' will be with you for days. Julian is a true original, a suffering artist with a sense of humour.
His music is a real tonic for those weary of the formulaic pap currently being produced by the record industry.
If you do not have any of his material already this album is a must.
His book Head-on / repossessed is a thoroughly well written account of the post punk era in british music and tells the tale of how real pop stars should behave.
Top lyrics, composition, guitar, voice and totally dodgy politics... but his kids wear shoes.
More please Cope.
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on 30 January 2002
Although it's hard to fault the selection of tracks on this compilation, I have a few gripes. The running order looks like a mess to me, and there is definitely a bias towards the more normal end of Copey's songwriting. And whoever decided it would be a good idea to include 'My Nation Underground' wants shooting.
On balance, I would recommend that people check out 'Floored Genuis' instead.
This earlier collection had a simple, chronological tracklisting, with songs grouped together to reflect the various phases of Cope's career. It was also a little braver in it's choice of album tracks and rarities, such as the awesome 'Safesurfer', and 'Jellypop Perky Jean' - possibly his prettiest recorded moment and pretty much unavailable elsewhere.
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on 17 June 2015
Some great songs couldn't get elsewhere as world shut your mouth album deleted for some reason
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on 13 June 2015
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