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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 9 July 2017
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on 30 July 2007
I used to have an art teacher who sported a magnificent mustache and extremely long "luxurious" hair. In order to create a stimulating working environment in his art classes, he used to put this album on. After two or three lessons I was hooked. I had to get my own copy. The rest, as they sometimes say, is history. That was seven years ago, when I was twelve or thirteen, and I think all of the music I've since took an interest in can in some way be traced back to this album. This was the "Big Bang" of my obsession with music. If it weren't for Ok Computer, I'd refer to it as my "favourite album of all time".

Listening to it now the amount of absolutely essential tracks is staggering. I could write essays on every single song here...but I won't. Instead I'll just mention that Stone on the Water was THE song that made me want to play guitar (I've since learnt that it's the easiest song on the album to play. Hooray!) and that the sheer scope of sounds, moods, emotions and ideas on offer here is devastating. I love the bit in Fall in a River in which the entire song really does appear to fall in a river, complete with bubbles and a distant muffled drowning sound befor the song is "saved" by a Mediterranean sounding guitar tremolo. I also love the point at which Cause a Landslide seems to lose its mind, descending into a nightmare of organs, electronic sounds, disconcerting samples and a theremin solo, before sanity is resumed by way of a quirky little folkish coda.

Then there's the searing art-rock of Everybody's Stalking. Only recently has it occurred to me just how downwright JAZZY those guitar sounds are. See? Subliminally, Badly Drawn Boy got me into jazz, and so so so much more...I'm so glad that this song can still be found in his setlists.

And I haven't even mentioned the "singles" yet, those songs familiar to everyone, like The Shining, Another Pearl, Once Around the Block and Disillusion which alone serve to justify the album purchase.

I'll end by saying that it's quite hard to find a pair of songs more beautiful and moving than Magic in the Air and Epitaph outside of Iceland. Here the emotions on display are so raw and fragile that upon listening I feel guilty for having disturbed something so deeply personal!

The lo-fi production values, sheer magnitude of memorable songs and the countless "quirks" make for an album (and yes, this IS an album in the purest sense of the word in that it's a full and complete listening experience rather than a collection of songs) which should appeal to anyone, even if they're not as biased by personal reasons as I am.

Essential purchase. Any music collection lacking it seems vacuous in comparison.
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on 5 April 2001
This is an truly remarkable album.
I'd heard 'The Shining' on a free cd, and that was enough to persuade me to shell out for the whole album. And it was worth every penny - a collection of 18 fantastic songs costing less than most of the 9 song collections of pop pap and 'nu-metal'which are going around at the moment.
The Mercury prize, and all the critical hype might set Badly Drawn Boy up as some 'arty' type, but don't be put off: he's just some guy in a weird hat, who happens to write and sing really great songs. Almost every track is a classic, and every time you listen to the album you find another amazing moment; the child-like backing vocals from his fiancee on 'Epitaph' being my favourite at the moment. The lyrics are all either funny or moving, and more often than not both - 'I don't want you to die/I don't have to say why' on 'Epitaph' a prime example. And anyone who can afford to relegate a song as beautiful as 'Fall in the River' to a 1 and a half minute filler has to be worthy of attention - on any other album it would be the high point, here it is just another in a constant stream of awe-inspiring moments.
Really, do your ears a favour - go and buy this, listen to it a couple of dozen times, then catch him live. You won't regret it.
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on 3 October 2000
i risked my cash buying this cd as id never heard any of his stuff before but im so glad i bought it cos its absolutly brilliant. its got a great summery feel to it and all the tracks a winners. my fave tracks are dissolusion , pissing in the wind and once around the block although theyre all great tunes. this album well deserved winning the mercury music prize and id definatly reccomend it.
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on 27 September 2000
Now that this album has won the Mercury Music Prize, no doubt it will receive a great deal more attention and deservedly so.
This album is a masterpiece - the best I have bought for 3 years (since the Verve's "Urban Hymns" in fact). A rare quality is that it is both instantly appealing yet also enduring. Never having even heard of Badly Drawn Boy previously, I wondered into a record shop one lunchtime about 3 months ago while this was playing and I bought it on the spot. Even now after at least 30 plays, I still haven't tired of it! My only slight criticism is that one or two of the tracks are frustratingly short, but at 63 minutes and 18 tracks there is little room for complaint.
After the brilliance of the opening track "Shining", for me the outstanding section of the album occurs in the middle..Once Around The Block, This Song, Bewilderbeast & Magic In the Air are all excellent tracks in their own right but together they capture the great diversity of musical styles which are such a feature of the album.
If, like me, you tend to treat award winning albums, films, you name it... with a degree of suspicion, on this occasion don't worry - this album really does deserve the accolade.
This will be tough to follow, but if the next album is anywhere near as strong as this, Badly Drawn Boy will become a very big name indeed.
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on 29 January 2016
I think it's stolen its in a weird case and says Islington libraries inside It might of been bought but I doubt it and it's not what I would expect from a site as well known as amazon. Apart from that, absolutely brilliant album the sound he has produced is amazing. This experimental sound would be very difficult to recreate ever again. And It was £1.50!
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on 12 June 2001
I was unaware of this mans tallent before buying this album and was pleasently surprise by its mood, variety of styles and use of instruments in each of the tracks. I love every song on this album and this CD has become one of the best and most played CD's in my vast collection. My favourite songs on this album are "The Shining", "Another Pearl", "This Song" and "Dissilusion". "The Shining" is a great start to the album with soft yet subtle cello and french horn playing the main theme which is then repeated by arpeggios on accoustic guitar. Damon Gough's voice enters at irregular intervals which makes the song easy to remeber and a good one to sing along to on a lonely, quite night in. "The Shining" falls in deep contrast to the rocky guitar riffs on "Dissilusion". This song is the most up-beat song on the album and really gets your foot tapping! Badly Drawn Boy is discovering and improving the newest style of music today. His music is catchy, intelligent and full of unexpected forms and styles, for instance the image of guitars being played underwater on "Fall in a River". His popularity was increased by his winning of the Mercury Music Award, and unlike past winners like Talvin Singh I think Badly Drawn Boy is going to be around for a while longer producing more great albums and hit singles. If you like good music, you'll like this album! Buy it now!..
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on 2 August 2001
Glad to see BDB values his fans support, this album is, for a start a decent length (18 tracks). It really is amazing debut, full of a whole range of material from the magical, daydream of 'stone on the water' to the wicked and totally dancable 'dissilusion'. Glad to hear of a bloke with a sense of humour, someone who doesn't take himself too seriously. Great hat...no really the teacosie look really suits him.
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on 5 January 2001
To be quite honest the only reason I bought this is because I usually buy at least one new album on a weekly basis, and on this particular week there was simply nothing else around. It had a big "Mercury Music Prize" sticker slapped on the front, so I thought I can't be too bad.
I was more surprised than I could imagine. Not only is it "not too bad", it's singularly one of the greatest albums of the past decade. Gough paints masterfully uplifting and touching songs with gentle flicks of a carefully-honed musical brush, delivered throughout with a subtle grin and sense of humour.
The first time you listen through the entire thing, you'll be confused. It'll seem like an unintelligble mangle of sounds and ideas. Listen to it at least half a dozen times, then you'll love it. Anybody who pans this album has only listened through the entire tracklist one or two times. There are so many carefully-constructed layers to "The Hour of Bewilderbeast" that you simply have to listen to it repeatedly in order to pick them all out, then step back and appraise the entire work as the true piece of genius that it is. Mr. Gough, I take my hat off to you.
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on 28 November 2000
Like many people who bought this album, I took a risk at buying it, but there hasn't been a day gone by where I haven't listened to it at least 3 times!! The tracks that stand out for me are: The Shining, Fall In A River, Camping Next To Water, Once Around The Block, Bewilderbeast, Magic In The Air, Pissing In The Wind and Disillusion.
This album will certainly cheer you up after a bad day. The mix of material on this superb 18 track gem is outstanding.
Well done, Damon! You certainly deserved the Mercury Music Prize! It'll be a hard one to follow, but i'm sure that he can pull another rabbit out of the hat!
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