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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars

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on 21 December 2003
This is one of the finest albums I’ve ever had on my CD player. Welcome to the Beautiful South is 50 minutes of pure pop perfection, as Heaton, Corrigan and Co. croon along to infectious jazz beats with literary pop hooks, tales of marital abuse, alcoholisms and the moribund exasperation of modern-day relationships. If this were Radiohead or Lou Reed, the band would have had us reaching for the razor blades by the end of track three. Instead, song-writing duo Heaton and Rotheray take a leaf out of Morrissey’s song book and inject their morbid musing with a satirical wit and comedic depth.
The result is how you would imagine Noel Coward sounding if he’d lived through the eighties recession. Bitter, bile-spewing though utterly charming; lifting the spirits for those unwilling to pay attention, whilst giving the rest of us a lesson in how to create substantial pop. The biggest hits are the best of the bunch, with Song for Whoever and You Keep it all In representing not only two of the finest tracks of 80’s pop music, but two of the finest works of pop music ever. They may be deceptively downbeat and cynical to the full, but still somehow, as romantic and beautiful as music can get. However, it is not just the jazzy piano ballads that impress, oh no, there’s also some wonderful guitar work on display... most notably on the rocking Girlfriend and the somewhat trivial, though always entertaining, Straight in at 37.
The closing numbers are as different as you could possibly get to the majority of pop music being created at the time. Love is... begins in a way not too dissimilar to the rest of the album with it’s melancholic tales of middle-class love; before transforming into a wild and raucous sing a long corker, with more than a passing nod to The Beatles. Whilst the closing number, the wonderfully titled I Love You (But You’re Boring) is truly, unlike anything else on the album. Here a solo acoustic guitar leads us through sound effects, vocal passages, hidden voices and a whole lot of distortion as Heaton screams about a love that was too busy listening to Carousel, to bake a phallic cake.
This really is one of the best albums ever... and a debut to boot. The music is catchy, memorable and always intelligent, whilst the musicianship of the band is absolutely faultless. Though the future line up would change, and the band as a whole would go on to explore further lyrical dimensions and more experimental sonic textures, this is still the greatest example of band’s undiluted creativity. A must own for every household.
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on 20 May 2009
This album is almost unique; lyrically it will make you laugh,wince,cry or even shock. This is often incongrous given the backdrop of joyful uplifting musicality that abounds. Grim singalong tales of 'rotting flesh' and wanting to 'knife you in the heart' sound bizarrely uplifting because of the sheer quality of the music that is being played here. 'Girlfriend' is a good example of this; how many cover versions are actually twice as good as the original? The band play 'proper' musical instruments and the album is also notable for Briana Corrigan's wonderful voice. In a period of musical pretensiousness the Beautiful South's antidote was a fearlessness and a joy in songwriting about real issues that was of its time really refreshing. They were essentially a pioneering
band in the late eighties and early nineties before gradually losing their songwriting mojo.
This album is now twenty years old. Today I played it in my car for the first time in ages. It truly made my day. What more recommendation can there be?
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Following from the format laid down in the Housemartins, jaunty bouncy tunes which belie the seriousness of the lyrics, and really eye catching album covers, the Beautiful South's debut record is a corker.

Opening with the witty `Song for whoever', then trawling through subjects as disparate as loneliness (I'll Sail This Ship Alone) and murder (The Woman In The Wall) with a distinctly jazzy tinge and always with a literate style and a sense of humour, this is a collection of eleven fine songs with no filler. Perfect pop, these can be listened to intently or as background music, but however you chose to listen you will be tapping your foot and humming along in no time. A thoroughly entertaining record, one of the finest offerings available from the early nineties.
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on 15 December 2011
This is a great album. It is in fact my second copy. There should be a law passed in the UK that everyone must own a copy or else they could face a custodial sentence. I can't say any better than that.
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on 30 March 2012
A band that were criminally overlooked by critics of the day largely due to their anti-fashion aesthetic. This album is a classic. Gorgeous, witty, ironic pop songs. Think Paul McCartney meets Noel Coward meets the Smiths.

Great production, great arrangements, great songwriting and, most spectacularly, great wit.

Forget Blur and Oasis(although I love 'em both), the Beautiful South was the great British band of the 90's.
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on 27 September 2000
It's hard to believe that the Housemartins would be one of the most influential British groups of all time. Not only did the band give us some classic material, but their break up would give to rise to two of the most talented and successful British acts around namely Norman Cook (a.k.a. Beats International, Freakpower, Pizzaman and Fatboy Slim) and the Beautiful South, who were actually a more laid back version of the Housemartins. The band have built up an impressive catalogue over the years and it all began with their first album and the ballad "Song For Whoever". The album features soft pop at its best and really includes a style that is a mix of folk rock, pop and the blues with the songs all being given a distinctly British feel to them. The album includes some of the best British songs of the last twenty years and is far and away the best album the band have released to date. The album includes the standout tracks "Have You Ever Been Away", "You Keep It All In", "I Love You (But You're Boring)" and "Straight In At 37". Overall it's a great album and is highly recommended.
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on 21 January 2003
A magnificent album - this is the first long player from The Beautiful South. The production quality is raw, there is a great edge to it and itholds some of the best work the band have ever done - including their best ever "Woman In The Wall" with guitar and percussion that wouldn't sound out of place on Paul Simon's Graceland!
Song For Whoever gets a wonderful extended play here and the album version of I'll Sail This Ship Alone is also better!
Hilarious, moving, violent and political - this album has it all!!!
Welcome to really did introduce us to the new "Lennon and McCartney"!!!
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on 3 May 2014
A superb debut album from The Beautiful South, which includes their first 3 much-loved singles releases ~ 'Song for Whoever', You Keep It All In' and ' I'll Sail This Ship Alone'. As you would expect, 'The South's' 1st album owes more than a small nod in the direction of Paul Heaton's previous band (The Housemartins) but the material is quite varied in style and substance and, as often with this band, there is a tragic/comic feel with much of the material. This album comes highly recommended; definitely a forgotten gem from 1989.
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on 29 August 2006
Something from the pen of Paul Heaton is always a cause for interest and this debut from the six-peice from Hull is certainly an album of interest.

"You Keep It All In" and "Song For Whoever" are intelligent pop-classics. "From Under The Covers" and "Woman In The Wall" are two other very examples of Heaton and Rotheray's excellent song-writing.

What lets this album down is its cheap production sound. There is no bass to the sound on this album and some of the other songs don't quite cut the mustard. However this album showed enough potential for you to buy their second one.
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on 28 May 2014
Not particularly my scene bought this as Birthday present for some one liked what I know it's ok as a CD soft country have played a couple of times bought two this one not as good as the other one I purchased it made me sad.
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