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A Northern Soul CD

4.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 July 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B000000W8C
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  Mini-Disc  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,578 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

THE VERVE A Northern Soul (1995 UK 12-track CD album picture sleeve includes On Your Own & History picture sleeve CDHUT27)

Amazon.co.uk

The Verve's first album, A Storm In Heaven was a little too much like a wet weekend to really live up to its title, dallying in intangible psychedelia. Bolstered by Oasis producer Owen Morris, A Northern Soul delivered a lot more. The opening "A New Decade" was imbued with all the glorious bombast that its title suggested, and "This Is Music" sounded like some furious gospel, with shamanic lead singer Richard Ashcroft bellowing the title like he was administering to his flock. Inconsistencies marred A Northern Soul, however, with "Brainstorm Interlude" hardly even worthy of inclusion, and "Life's An Ocean" simply unrolling as an overlong jam. The album's clincher, surely, is the almighty "History". The Verve's greatest achievement, "History" is an epic, tearful elegy, and to date one of rock music's greatest moments. It alone proves that A Northern Soul is a failed masterpiece. By the next album, Urban Hymns, The Verve had learnt to dispense with the filler. --Louis Pattison

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The Verve's second LP may have been critically lauded, but small commercial returns and the volatile-at-the-best-of-times relationship between frontman Richard Ashcroft and guitarist Nick McCabe reaching a new low, meant the Wiganers split briefly before reforming to produce rock history with Urban Hymns in 1997. Unsurprisingly the reputation of the band's third album is how most listeners have discovered A Northern Soul, myself being no exception. Recorded under a massive intake of Ecstasy, most of the 12 tracks indulge in protracted, overblown stone rock passages, a far cry from even the most inaccessible sounds of Urban Hymns. Given repeated listens though, A Northern Soul reveals itself to stand apart from its successor as a great record and one that contains some of the group's best work.
Opening with the gleefully bombastically titled A New Decade and This Is Music Nick McCabe's walls of guitars together with Richard Ashcroft's searing vocals make for an utterly inspired opening, the latter containing the best opening line in a song ever! All the energy and vitriol of Urban Hymns is here, but not the slick, structure or relatively unambiguous tunes. These are acid rock rages and swirling atmospheres punctuated by Ashcroft's impassioned, often bizarre lyrics with the repeated ode, "Too busy staying alive/ Too busy living a lie" during the effects laden title track. Different yes, but certainly not worse. This illusive psychedelic style is present almost everywhere. Tracks that sound lackluster, even downright awful after a couple of listens, prove to be inspiring, powerful or beautiful, especially with the gentle washes of Drive You Home and Life's An Ocean.
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Format: Audio CD
It makes my blood boil when people talk about this album as a warm up to Urban Hymns. This was the album the Verve were born to make. It's the sound of a band locked on a collision course to the bottom of their souls (yeah I kind of nicked that from 'This is Music', my favourite track here). Every one of the band shines darkly on this album - Salisbury's rock solid rolling drums, Jones' rumbling bass grooves, McCabe's [swear word]ing brilliant vast rain clouds of guitar, and Ashcroft's raw bottled pain. It's also produced perfectly with a real gritty sound throughout (especially the vocals - I can hardly listen to the blandified sugary production of the vocals on Urban Hymns after this).
Yes the slower tracks are worth the asking price alone, but for me this album is all about the white noise/dark grooves of A New Decade, This is Music and the ear-bleeding feedback of the last track.
Urban Hymns to me is Richard Ashcroft with a backing band. This album is The Verve, a [swear word again]ing amazing band from Wigan who no longer really existed by the time they recorded their next album.
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Format: Audio CD
The most incredible part of (the) Verve's sound was always the amount of raw emotion packed into Nick McCabe's guitar- this is the album where it merges most successfully with Richard Ashcroft's widescreen vision and personal voice.
"Northern Soul" is not an album you can put on in the background- it grabs the attention from the very first moment and won't let go throughout 12 tracks of emotional peaks and troughs, ranging from the overblown and anthemic swagger of "This Is Music" to the fragile sway of "Life's An Ocean". The force and subtlety of the way the band plays as a whole on this album make the Ashcroft led "Urban Hymns" sound flimsy by comparison, and only those with very short attention spans could think the band ever bettered "History".
It's the best album I've ever heard, and one I wouldn't live without- whether you can or not is up to you.
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Format: Audio CD
From the off, this album screams of genuine emotion. The 2nd track "This Is Music" truly lives up to its name in a shell of attitude so strong, it should be bottled and sold to some of todays 'recording artists'. It IS what music should be - raw, pure and genuine. In the 3 and a half minutes of this track, the listener is privy to something that other artists simply do not achieve in a lifetime of recordings. That is true passion, and genuine feeling for what they are conveying. Richard Ashcroft asks us "How's the world gonna take me?" Well, with the follow up album 'Urban Hymns', he would get his answer.
Then the album creeps into mellowness. The emotion is still there, but this time in a different guise. The third track "On Your Own" is so beautiful it has to be heard to be believed.
The album continues in a similar sense, but never fails to succeed. It's an emotional journey which is still fresh to hear even 7 years on from its release. Tracks such as "A Northern Soul" (reputedly written about Noel Gallagher) and "Life's An Ocean" follow in a similar vein to "This Is Music". You can hear this band has put their hearts and souls into this collection of amazing tracks.
But the highlight is simply astonishing. It is without doubt one of the best songs ever written: "History". Again, it has to be heard to be believed. I have typed and deleted so many sentences about this song just now, but I cannot find the words to do it justice. In this one song, Richard Ashcroft and The Verve immortalised themselves amongst the very best in the annals of music. They truly did pen themselves into History.
So, what are you waiting for? If you like your music with passion, with sincerity, with emotion and with heartfelt, meaningful lyrics, then look no further. A Northern Soul is a true masterpiece produced by Wigan's finest.
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