- Audio CD (4 Nov. 2002)
- Limited Edition edition
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Limited Edition
- Label: XL
- ASIN: B00006J67C
- Other Editions: Audio CD | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,535 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Have You Fed The Fish? Limited Edition
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It's hard to remember, listening to Have You Fed the Fish, that Badly Drawn Boy was once derided as lo-fi. On Damon Gough's third album, everything is writ large, his wobbly and whimsical songs transformed into bombastic epics. Finally, his much-vaunted Springsteen obsession starts making sense. For this is Gough's LA record, an extravagant conceit that really shouldn't work but, more often than not, does. Essentially, it's big music about simple things, love letters from California back home to his wife in Manchester. So when he tackles the sweet mundanities of domestic life on the title track, he plasters sentiments usually found on post-it notes across 40-foot billboards. The results are oddly moving, especially on "You Were Right", where dreams of a love triangle with Madonna and the Queen and memories of various celebrity deaths become a meditation on not taking anything for granted. Frequently, it's absurd, too: especially the crotchety funk of "Using Our Feet" and the Nilsson-ish Vaudeville of "Tickets to What You Need". Beware, though, because the grandiose production makes Gough's customarily fine songs not quite as accessible as usual--a few listens are needed before their charms cut through the flash. --John Mulvey
"I'm born again, found my soul again" proclaims Badly Drawn Boy Damon Gough early on during his new album Have You Fed The Fish? Indeed, the music found on this recordsounds like it was made by a man who has been re-born and is full of the joys of life.
This feeling is summed up in the title track when Gough sings "You've got to rewind to go forward, there's some good times around the corner". Obviously he has been doing some life contemplation since his 2000 debut, the Mercury Music Award winning album, The Hour Of Bewilderbeast. He's in love, has two kids and is generally happy as can be; "I don't know how I could've lived without you, but certainly I know that I'm not about to" ("You Were Right"). But fans of his depressed side will be pleased to know that he still gets a bit down from time to time; "We've got to face the thought of loneliness again... ("What is it Now?")
Jaunty pop is the order of the day here. "40 Days 40 Fights" and "What Is It Now?" are real foot tappers that raise a smile with their humorous lyrics; "We need a holiday but not today, another day..." The piano is at the heart of his songs. All the other instruments seem happy to fit around the simple piano beats and rhythms. Add Gough's distinctive and throaty voice and you have a winning combination. Gough's vocals manage to be melancholic yet chirpy and amusing whether singing about love or regret, as seen on the wonderfully bittersweet "You Were Right"; "Madonna lived next door and I think she took a shine to me...but I had to turn her down because I was still in love with you".
Gough has something rare in the world of indie rock; he's a superb storyteller who makes life affirming pop music. You find yourself sitting down and listening intently to his tales and life and love. "About A Boy" author Nick Hornby recognised this talent and asked Gough to produce the soundtrack to the film earlier this year. The subsequent album of the same name is possibly the best film soundtrack ever made.
Have You Fed The Fish? is another successfulstep on Badly Drawn Boy's haphazard journey towards superstardom.
Like This? Try These:
Supergrass - Life on Other Planets
Richard Ashcroft - Human Conditions
Bjork - Greatest Hits --Dan Tallis
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window
Top Customer Reviews
Like most rewarding music, "Have you Fed.." is ridden with influences, but not overtly so. I heard echoes of, amongst many others, Bob Marley, Beatles circa White Album, Beach Boys, even Stevie Wonder... Perhaps Gough's closest North American analogue is Beck, and this album certainly matches "Mutations" for musical adventurousness and emotional depth. In fact, as he sings "It's hard, it's hard, it's hard" on '40 days 40 fights' it sounds JUST like Beck.
It's not like Gough is ripping these guys off though; instead he is using eclectic sounds to produce something entirely new that has a sound entirely of its own. I can hear Ween in here too... maybe in the surreal lyrics: "I've wrestled the Octopus/ I came out with extra arms". Gough has credited Ween as an influence in the past.. and that's definitely a good thing.
In short: vry gd!
Damon Gough and his alter-ego BDB is part of an essential trinity of British indie/rock/alternative music. Yes, they all hale from Manchester and I'm biased but who would doubt the quality of BDB, Doves and Elbow.
On this showing Mr Gough with the help of Beck's producer Tim Rothrock (Yes the same Beck and Rothrock that concieved the brilliant Odelay)has managed to tame the wild imagination and progressive ideas of first album 'The Hour of The Bewilderbeast' to give us a truly great album. This is an album that in my mind will always go down as an unsung classic, much like Doves' 'Some Cities' or Elbow's 'Cast Of Thousands'. Though many may never own this album I'm willing to bet if they buy any of these three albums in retrospect they may already own albums that are heavily influenced by these three masterpieces.
Many artists have made the LA album, few have managed the heights of 'Hotel California'. BDB never tried to match some of these albums he just wrote an album with massive strings, and wonderfully melodic tunes with great unprentetious lyrics gently placed on top.
Singles 'All Possiblities' and 'You Were Right' are in a set of songs that starts with the former and ends in possibly one of the finest songs I've heard since 'Bittersweet Symphony', namely 'How?'.Read more ›
It opens with an announcer (like on a plane) informing us that outside the window is a cloud that looks just like Badly Drawn Boy. It's a pretentious moment that isn't too annoying -- especially when it dissolves into sparkling, layered pop. Gough relies on piano pop in songs like "40 Days 40 Fights," and the passionate ballad "How." It's his best area; he can really wring feeling from those keys.
But he also dips into the more acoustic sound, with the danceable "Born Again" and the low-key "I Was Wrong." And "Tickets To What You Need" is more acoustic than any other song -- stripped down, with Gough's vocals in the forefront, he sounds like he's standing on a table and joyously singing to the crowds. After a few more chillingly panoramic pop melodies and piano-led laments, he bows out in the soaring fuzz-guitar "Bedside Story."
It's all too easy to alienate someone you love, perhaps forever. Gough seems to be speaking through his songs to someone else, saying "I Was Wrong," "You Were Right" (two songs from the middle of this album). He retains the experimental edge, giving extra layers and sonic flourishes to what could have been an ordinary indie-folk-pop album.
If there's any flaw in "Have You Fed The Fish?", it's that it seems sometimes that Gough is trying a little too hard. Relax, mate. His acoustic guitar and exquisite piano playing are the middle of the album's sound, but he backs it up with horns, strings, sometimes thunderous percussion, and cymbals.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just love Badly Drawn Boy, this was 1 album for whatever reasons I didn't have. Typical him and just love it absolutely not a bad track in sight!Published 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
Bought this because theres one or two singles that I really like of Badly Drawn Boy - but apart from them its not very good. Dont botherPublished on 7 May 2015 by Julie Hatton
This is a personal favourite of mine that takes me back to a really enjoyable part of my life. Great melodies and lyrics.Published on 29 Jan. 2014 by John Riley
This is so enjoyable, the tunes are great and easy to get into, I especially like, "All Possibilities" which evokes memories of "About a Boy", which, of course he wrote the music... Read morePublished on 21 Oct. 2006 by P. J. Aspel
The best BDB album. All tracks are excellent but the standout tracks are...
You Were Right
The Further I Slide
What Is It Now? Read more