Top positive review
Trying to fit an elephant into a small suitcase
17 November 2018
I have absolutely no idea who conceived the idea of this album or why, but I can't personally understand it. To try to condense Paul Heaton's work from The Housemartins, The Beautiful South, solo and his recent reacquaintance with Jacqui Abbott all down to onto a single disc is ridiculous; it makes you focus on the omissions rather than the music on offer which, I have to add, is worth five stars hands down. Maybe it's a ploy to get fans to fork out for a couple of tracks they don't have (A Little Time, 2018 version & 7" Singles - oh, and in my case also Real Hope as it was on a re-released Special Edition of the album I'd already bought), maybe it's a cynical "in time for Christmas" release... maybe a contract filler; I guess only Paul knows the answer to this one.
As an introduction to Paul's work, it's not bad at all and it, admittedly, does cover it all (very broadly) right up to today. It features some of his very best songs, ridiculously catchy compositions with trademark pithy, witty, human lyrics and, listening though the album is an absolute pleasure. The notes inside the booklet with Heaton giving a song by song commentary are a nice read too, but it's essentially an utterly superfluous release that will, I imagine, annoy fans more than please. I'd have been a lot more positive about this compilation had it been a double album with more reasons to buy it (rarities, alternative versions, etc.) included, but as it is, it leaves me scratching my head... as well as tapping my foot as well, of course.
The music here is unquestionably great, just to make that clear, but the attempt to condense over thirty years of song writing and recording down to one solitary CD is sheer folly; it only scratches the surface of Heaton's fantastic talent. For absolute Heaton newbies and die hard fans only, really.