Looking through my hundreds of CDs recently, I came across Razorlight's self entitled 2006 second album. I admit that I never bought their first album released two years previously, or their third which came out in 2008.
However, I did love this album at the time, I played it again after all these years, and it still holds up as a brilliant record. So much so, I am going to get the other two, if they are of the same quality, all I can say is - when are we going to get a forth?
Songs that are heavily on repeat for me at the moment include 'America' (a beautiful track that instantly made me feel nostalgic), 'I Can't Stop This Feeling I've Got' (which can be summed up in one word: quality!), 'Back To The Start' (great intro!) and 'Los Angeles Waltz' (another beautiful song!).
This album was solid and mature, despite the surprising number of one star reviews, and spawned five hit singles. If you haven't heard this in a while, time to dig it out and enjoy. If you didn't buy it the first time around, or haven't heard much by the band - you can now buy a copy at a much cheaper price.
on 6 October 2011
Razorlight were a band I'd only ever heard on radio or TV and never bought any of their stuff before and to be honest I only got this belatedly because I wanted to learn 'In the morning' to play in the band I'm with but I have found a good,solid album with catchy pop/rock songs(I refuse to use the lazy 'Indie' description).For what its worth opener 'In the morning' is the best all round track here but check out the other singles 'America','Before I fall to pieces' if you haven't already plus some of the LP tracks could have been hits as well. The question is what happened to Razorlight after this album?
on 28 November 2006
Never one to run out and buy an album purely on popular opinion, it was with some caution that I picked up Razorlight's self titled album. In the two weeks since I bought it, the album has been a regular feature in my CD-player and on my PC and has left me with no regrets for taking a chance on it.
Right from the first track, `In the Morning', `Razorlight' proves to be an album of excellent quality with tracks like `Who Needs Love', `America', `Can't Stop This Feeling I Got' and the finale `Los Angeles Waltz' keeping the listener's ears peaked. And that's taking nothing from the other five tracks that are definitely worth praise of their own.
If I can have one criticism of the album it would be its thirty-five minute length. However, the track line-up more than makes up for the shortness of the album and will give you thirty-five minutes of listening pleasure.
Razorlight's `Razorlight' is an album I'd highly recommend to anyone who takes their music collection seriously. Length aside, it is an album of exceptional quality and an example of popular opinion backing a real winner.
on 30 August 2006
Jonny Borrel's assertion that "if Dylan was making the chips, he was drinking the champagne" in reference to his lyricism was one of the most annoying and obnoxious comments ever made despite the fact it was tongue in cheek, it really is delusional to put yourself above the greatest lyricist of all time when your first album contained the lines "I know a girl with a golden touch/she's got enough she's got too much" and "Hey girl, get on the dance floor/ And rip it up, yeah/That's what it's there for".
However Razorlight themselves are not just Jonny Borrel and their debut album came with enough good hooks and summer hit singles to make them hard to dislike the very antithesis to Borrel's loud mouth, which has made him very easy to dislike. The second album kicks off with `In the morning' which is probably the best song on the album. it sounds like T-rex doing a David Bowie cover and has a very catchy chorus and refrain. The next song `Who Needs love' is also very easy on the ear, with a piano hook and accessible, if not Dylanesque lyrics.
The main problems with their sophomore effort kick in with America, which is a flawed, pompous and overly ambitious song destined to be everywhere soon. The song seems steeped in Borrel's ambitions to break America and whilst the would be anthem features a catchy sing a long chorus, it's lyrically unappealing and cheesy to toxic levels.
Pop song 2006 is even more frightening as it seems Jonny Borrel's admittedly entertaining performance and live 8 seems to have gone to his head. The song aims to capture the spirit of 2006. Although I wasn't aware there was one but if there was, this clearly isn't it. Evidently Borrel's chasing at his ambitions again and this time he's trying to be Bob Geldorf, which is a very dangerous idea for a young song writer and one he must dispense with soon if he wants to be considered a great artist in his own right.
Despite these setbacks Razorlight ends strongly, Kirby's House could have been taken of their, much better, first album and `Los Angeles Waltz' is a lot better than the title suggests. All of this leaves Jonny and the boys with a dilemma, the better songs sounds like belong on 'up all night', while all the worst songs show their very naff new direction, so which way to turn? Should Jonny keep on trying to emulate his heroes Geldorf and Bono? Or should he take a look back and see where his talent really lies? Only the third album will tell
on 19 July 2006
I will probably get marked down for not jumping on the band wagon here...
Razorlight have comeback this year with their follow up to "Up All Night". With most bands that release the big debut album, the pressure to maintain the quality and to expand the musical horizons is a real stumbling block. Stone Roses struggled with the follow up the eponymous debut and the Seahorses just gave up and didn't bother recording another album. But there are success stories too, Franz Ferdinand repaid the hype with a diverse second album that pushed the boundaries they set themselves with their debut. Could Razorlight pull this same trick off? Simply - No.
It is a frustratingly average album that one feels never really gets going. Starting with the standout track on the album, 'In The Morning' the album dips away from that line of quality with three disappointing tracks, the rather drab 'Who Needs Love?', what would do as the B side to the last song 'Hold On', and the slightly better 'America'.
It does pick up, the middle section of the album is the strongest part, 'Before I Fall To Pieces', 'I Can't Stop This Feeling That I Have Got' and 'Kirby's House' are good. But it is the inconsistent track selection and the poor quality of the opening tracks that stop this album from excelling. A version of 'Kirby's House' that was released on the Warchild album in 2005 is better than the re-worked version on the album too. Was material really that scarce that a re-working of a previous track was included?
For me, Razorlight from 3-4 years ago were about punky, spikey, rock and roll that pushed boundaries, even their single they released between albums - 'Somewhere Else' was a brilliant track, but it does feel that the freshness and edge has been taken out of their repertoire. As I seem to say to regularly these days about bands albums, the band has sold out to mainstream producing a less complicated and more widely accessible sound that changes their direction.
Without sounding critical with this comparison, as I like this other band immensely, I would say most of the album could be played by Ocean Colour Scene without raising an eyebrow. That isn't the Razorlight we all know and love. (Esp tracks 2, 3, 4, 9 and 10)
Maybe I am missing the point of this album, maybe this is the change in direction that every other band will follow, maybe - just maybe - it will grow on me.
Sadly, I can't recommend buying this album; I would suggest buying the obvious singles when they are released to saviour the best bits.
*** Like: Not Razorlight of old ***
on 10 October 2006
Let's face it, expectations were sky-high when Razorlight decided to record their second studio album. After the success of 'Up All Night', which provided a raucous, punky sound, Borrell and Co decided to tread new waters (as most bands decide to do after their first album).
So how is 'Razolight' in comparison? Well, it's short. But that's ok, because there really isn't any filler here.
'In The Morning' is infectiously catchy, and the music is superb. Brilliant soft-guitar rock. Excellent start. 10/10.
'Who Needs Love?' could have been mistaken for a Richard Ashcroft track. It has that ambience but this is a diffrent Razorlight we see here- more mature, with a mellower all-around sound. This is typically a guitar album, however the piano is a nice touch here. 8/10.
'Hold On' is track three, and has a rather ska-beat to it and a slight element of punk. Could be considered an anthem of sort (judging by the tracks overall), A solid track. 8/10.
'America' is brilliant. The riff is superb, and the chorus is among the best I've heard this year. Expect this to do well in the charts. 10/10.
'Before I Fall To Pieces' is another solid riff. The drums are excellent as well. The guitaring is very good here again. Catchy and it might well be a future release. 9/10.
'I Can't Stop This Feeling I've Got' is track six, and it's very good. It might be argued that it feels like it's treading water at times, but the riff is good and it's catchy once again. 8/10.
'Pop Song 2006' might have a cheesy title, but the song itself is actually quite good. The guitaring is excellent again, and the song is catchy. Seriously, one of the best tracks on the album, musically at least. 9/10.
'Kirby's House' is a song that was actually written last year for a special CD to raise money for children suffering because of wars worldwide (the Warchild album). As far as the song in itself goes, it's good, and it's one of the best songs lyrically on the album. The music is very good. 9/10.
'Back To The Start' is excellent, and perhaps resonates a slight reggae vibe at the beginning. Borrell and the boys are on top form here- this maybe could have been included on 'Up All Night' with its punky riffs and tempo, and breakneck drums (at times), i.e 'Stumble And Fall'. Superb. 10/10.
And so we reach track ten, 'Los Angeles Waltz'. This beats all the rest for quality, for lyrics, for music and for everything else. The ability to keep such a unique tempo and beat on a rock song is brilliant. 10/10.
So what is the overall verdict? It's no wonder that fans have been disappointed. They expected 'Up All Night II', which was clearly never going to happen. They call it the 'difficult' second album, for a reason. Because they experiment with new ideas and sounds. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. This offering is not 'Definitely Maybe' either, however, what we have here is an album laden with super guitar riffs, catchy beats, all of them potential singles/ releases (which is one hell of an achievement in itself). I think next time around Razorlight will be even better, mixing the raw punk of 'Up All Night' with the anthemic riffs of what we have here. I can't give it 5 stars, because 'Kirby House' is an old song, as good as it is, and the lyrics on some of the songs are a bit slow and laboured. Musically, it's superb. Overall, though it deserves 9/10. Well done.
on 12 March 2007
I bought this album about six months ago on the strength of the two hit singles: 'In The Morning' and 'America'. Six months down the line, I can honestly say, that I never play this anymore. Apart from the above mentioned hits, the rest of this CD is dull and uninspiring. It's like Johnny Borrell decided he wanted to do a New Wave/Post Punk album like countless other guitar bands, but rather than checking out important influential bands like: The Jam, The Clash, The Buzzcocks, XTC, Dexy's and The Smiths etc, he would instead pretend to have been inspired by the likes of: The Boomtown Rats and The Cars. It's almost as if someone was playing a practical joke on him, on what was cool to like during the late 70's/early 80's, because he's too young to remember this period in time.
I think the lead singer is a charisma free, charmless fake, who's ego is bigger than his talent. There's something not quite rock 'n' roll about him or his band. I generously gave this three stars on the strength of those two singles. Avoid!
* Update - About a week after I originally submitted this review I gave my copy away. Also looking back I can't believe that I ever liked 'America', because it now sounds very cringeworthy.
on 30 July 2006
Too little passion and pace.
Too little attention to track order.
Most importantly too few good songs.
After the delight of Up All Night, that is in my opinion the closest to a perfect album there is, this was a big disappointment..... says a very big Razorlight fan.
First listen made me want to take it back to the shop, however i've persisted and thanks to three things they get half marks (3 is too much, 2 too little).
1. It really does grow - i'll conceed the 5 star reviewers that.
2. A couple of stand out songs (Before I fall to Pieces springs to mind).
3. Live it sounds better.
Downsides include the clearly grease musical inspired Who Needs Love (can't disagree that Borrell's thirteen yeard old nephew wrote that!) and the awful version of Kirby's House they've chosen to include here. You can also tell that they only had 30 minutes to choose the track order as it doesn't together well at all in the way that Up All Night did.
So in summary if you're looking for a repeat of Up All Night look elsewhere but give it a chance and it will grow. I wouldn't give it number one spot in my CD pile.... that still belongs to Up All Night.
on 14 December 2006
This is The Cars re-packaged for the 21st century, and a return to the vapid rock values of dull 70's pop acts that survived on image alone.
Seriously. Buy this album if you don't like to be challenged (or if The Beautiful South prove to be too "out-there" for you). This is mindless, substance-less riff-rock for people who want to sing along to words that mean nothing. The empty meandering musings of a talentless poseur trying desperately to appeal to his own sense of selfish self-worth and his own carefully constructed self-image. Who cares if the songs are bland as long as the hype machine is in overdrive. It's a sorry state of affairs, but it's true. The rock songs don't rock, the pop songs don't pop and the love songs were probably composed while Borrell was looking in a mirror. A shocking ode to a generation consumed by apathy and rampant consumerism.
If you think Borrel is the greatest songwriter of his generation, and that this album is somehow a meaningful statement (or even a good album!), then I can only demand that you listen to more music. Even the boring cover art is indicative of the bland nonsense that lurks within. An empty testament to itself and it's own sense of bloated self-image. Vapid, vacuous and entirely preoccupied with itself.
This is the kind of album that is perfect for downloading. A disposable format for a disposable generation. Rip the five songs you like and whack it on an iPod (probably the most useless invention ever) with 5000 other songs by equally bland artists that the NME or MTV have told you to like. Listen to them on the bus on your way to work/school/college, or play it in the background at dinner parties or social gatherings.
This is music as a soundtrack to drudgery... or worse, music as a lifestyle commodity. The kind of record that will appeal to people who think they like music, but really don't.
on 31 July 2006
Razorlight, by...Razorlight, is perhaps the most eagerly awaited album of the year. In response to the UK indie talent bar being raised by the likes of the Kooks, Snow Patrol, and the Artic Monkeys, Johnny Borrell and the lads could have surely come up with a more imaginative title...Anyway, in what some critics have insightfully labelled a rapid-fire release, pre-America tour (yes, because one of the tracks is called...wait for it...'America'!), this 35 minute escapade of ten songs leaves the listener thrilled, accelerated, but ultimately, not fully satisfied.
Given the expectation of this follow-up to the 14 track journey through local tales and the timeless, intricate melodies of 'Up All Night', this shortened snippet of the bands precocious talent just doesn't provide you with the same kind of tireless aural trip. 'In the morning' and 'Back to the Start' instantly shine through as ebullient Razorlight anthems. 'America' is the token Jo Whiley sponsored masterpiece; an eloquent ballad resonating in Borrell's seemingly media-induced disillusionment. Aside from the rather repetitive lyrics, unlike the droll tales of 'Up All Night', it is the majestic 'I Can't Stop This Feeling I've Got' which is the epic on here. Here Borrell's subdued lyrical mood suitably pales in emotive reflection over guitarist Bjorn Agren's masterfully picked riffs and harmonies that are characteristic of his abilities throughout the whole album.
This great album is far from without substance then, but it is over just as your enjoying its zenith of greatness. Post-listening, after an exhilarating quickie, you are left wanting more for both your admiration and, in some cases, your money.