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on 12 October 2009
I love the Graduate but admit to being hopelessly biased as I was hooked from almost my very first encounter with Nerina Pallot. Like other reviewers , I have heard most of the tracks already which in some ways can be a disappointment. If I was recommending Ms Pallot to a non-Pallotite (just made that up, not sure if it sounds good or weird) I would say definitely go for Real Late Starter, Everythings Illuminated,Human (lovely warm melody)I Don't want to go Out, When Did I Become Such A Bitch,and absolutely It Starts-someone listening over my shoulder heard 20 seconds of It Starts and was hooked...my only minor caveat is that I understand that she is clever enough to produce this album herself, or with her hubby, and it maybe lacks the little nuances , and vocal backgrounds and liitle instrumental flourishes and things that you heard after 4 or 5 listenings on the first 2 albums-but the songwriting is more direct and just as strong... its a shame that she had to leave so much out, if you can find them download God Of Small Things, Long Tall Grass of Summer, I used 2 love you until you tried to Kill Me, Buckminster Fuller (and even Photograph from some time back )She is also impassioned and clever when writing lyrics, hugely sane and intelligent and generally an all round good sort...
Just go and buy the album-and get the 2 earlier ones too....when I first heard Sophia, I remember thinking what an amazing dense and rich arrangement, then listened again and it was just her and a piano....that's how powerful she is...and listening to the second verse of Learning To Breathe,it made me cry...what a woman, what an artist...
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on 29 October 2010
`The Graduate' has not had an easy birth. After the superb yet commercially disappointing `Fires', Nerina was guided towards collaborating with other big name songwriters but none of that material appears on this finished product which she has released on her own 14th Floor record label. This all speaks volumes about the music industry and its machinations. Aimee Mann was also forced down this route and ended up writing and issuing her own stuff through her own label. Why can't people recognise that talent needs to be nurtured not interfered with?

So what of `The Graduate' - named in honour of Nerina passing her Degree in English Literature? Whereas `Fires' has a pervading atmosphere of worthiness and endeavour, `The Graduate' sounds much looser and almost playful in a way that allows her personality and humour to come through. She has widened her horizons and included material that is at one extreme, pure pop and which may have the Scissor Sisters wondering whether to take her on as songwriter, and at the other, more experimental.

In the former camp is the wonderful `Real Late Starter', a peon to slackers everywhere, the knowing `I Don't Want To Go Out' and the self deprecating `When Did I Become Such a Bitch?' All these show her kooky character to its best advantage. But she can be serious, as the touching `Coming Home' about her father shows and she can be quite breathtaking as in `It Starts' where she tries on Kate Bush's shoes and finds that not only do they fit, they allow her to run for miles and be earnest without mawkishness.

The key track in the experimental category is `Cigarette' which at a languid 5 plus minutes is a maelstrom of influences from early Bowie and Pink Floyd through to psychedelia period Beatles. I feel this may be the divider for her fans to date and already it is prompting much comment amongst reviewers. Personally, I love it but more importantly, I think it points the way for her as an artist so that her USP is pushed as far away from the pack as possible. In summary, this is another fine album from a great talent who is refusing to stand still and has brushed off the doubters and ploughed her own furrow. Long may it continue.
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on 18 October 2009
It has been 3 years since Fires was released, and Nerina Pallot is back wither her 3rd sutdio offering. Having completed an Honours degree in English Literature between albums, this new album is entitled The Graduate in celebration. It also sees Nerina branch out into completely new styles, as well as building upon the sound she's known for.

With Dear Frustrated Superstar, we were given an album full of ballads with a few upbeat numbers here and there. Fires continued in this vein, except improving almost every aspect of her sound, whilst adding new ingredients into the mixture.

This album sees Nerina do this once more, she freshens up her sound with some more 'poppy' and upbeat songs, whilst exploring other styles as well, Nerina admitted that this album was heavily influenced by listening to MGMT and other acts such as The Scissor Sisters, Air and Pink Floyd. Upon listening to the album, you can certaily see these influences in certain songs.

The intellegent lyrics that have almost become a bit of a trademark with Nerina are still here, although written a bit more directly, this can sometimes make the messages in the songs a little more hard hitting than previous.

I won't suggest any tracks to listen to over another, because each is superb in its own way, and I have no doubt each listener will have their own favourites. I have to say though that, if you enjoy this album, not only should you purchase the other-two if you haven't already done so, but also, try and see her live! I saw her at the Oran Mor in Glasgow and not only is she a lovely lady, but many songs I hadn't quite appreciated before suddenly made sense and I loved them.

Nerina has an amazing voice, the range of styles on this album are crazy, there's something for everyone, and I'd recommend you purchase this album as soon as you are able to!
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on 30 December 2009
The Graduate is Nerina's third album. The first two were good, but seemed to fall between two stools - the mature singer-songwriter which is where Nerina really shines, and the wannabe pop star. Unfortunately, the emphasis was on the pop star aspect and there were too many lightweight songs among the real gems like Sophia.

With The Graduate, however, she seems to have struck the right balance. There are certainly some radio-friendly songs here, but they are all very good and there's not a single filler track on the album. In fact, if some of the songs like "The Right Side" or "When Did I Become Such A Bitch" were performed by some of the flavour-of-the-month pop acts they would be surefire hits, because they're much better than most of what passes for pop music.

But for me, Nerina's true strength lies not with the pop songs, good as they are, but with the more introspective material. If Sophia was the best thing she has produced before this album, here she matches that wonderful song with "Human", "It Starts" and the touching "Coming Home".

If there is a criticism, it's that at just 10 songs the album is too short. However, if you buy from i-tunes I think you get an extra track and if you read the liner notes on this CD you can find out where to download another song (different from the i-tunes one) in good quality mp3 format. I urge you to do so because it's a cracking song, but why they just didn't stick the extra songs on the album in the first place beats me.

Even so, this is a tremendous 5-star album and has been one of my favourites of 2009.
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on 16 August 2010
You could sense from the very beginning that inside Nerina Pallot was a pop songwriter bursting to get out, and on her third full-length LP, 2009's 'The Graduate,' the Jersey-born singer-songwriter lets those leanings bloom.

At the core of this album's ethos is the idea that pop songwriting doesn't have to be watered down or commercialised. Instead, Pallot specialises in sophisticated pop; she's always had an ear for an accessible melody and literary lyrics, and on 'The Graduate' these two strands work concurrently to provide her with perhaps her most immediately accessible offering to date.

It doesn't always pack the emotional punch of some of 2005's 'Fires,' but 'The Graduate' is not dumbed-down Pallot. "Real Late Starter" boasts a chord progression and vaguely jazz-inspired melody befitting of her heroes, Steely Dan, while the ballads "It Starts" and "It Was Me," the latter recalling the masterful Rickie Lee Jones, would not sound out of place on 'Fires.' But for the most part, it's all new. "I Don't Want To Go Out" is Pallot's most unabashed pop moment to date, "When Did I Become Such A Bitch" marries her classical training to a bluesy chorus melody, "The Right Side" is a fist-pumping pop/rock crossover, and "Cigarette" indulges her inner chill-out/prog diva.

Pallot's tour-only EP 'Skeleton Key' builds on the promise of this album by injecting even more dark experimentalism into the sound, but as a generally laidback, accessible, direct album of sophisticated self-penned pop, you can't really go wrong with 'The Graduate.' It's no wonder Kylie Minogue was interested.
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on 26 September 2009
I've had the great pleasure of following Nerina's video diaries on Youtube, listening to the acoustic, alternative versions of the songs from "The Graduate" and they are all brilliant. Each of Nerina's albums get better and better, and this third album follows the examples set by the previous two.

My favourite songs has to be the upbeat "I don't want to go out", which is exceptionally catchy. "Real Late Starter" will get stuck in your head in no time at all and "Cigarette" is beautiful.

Also "When Did I Become Such a Bitch" is cheeky and fun :)

Looking forward to seeing Nerina live in October and listening to this new album in full.
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on 16 September 2009
I know I'm reviewing this prior to release but as a serious fan I have already heard all tracks on this album - many in demo form and most from watching her live MySpace performances. Some I've even heard studio mixes of, and whilst they may not turn out to be the final release versions I've a good enough idea of how it's going to turn out - and I'm very happy to say that it's a very cleverly written and very catchy album.

Junebug EP aside and a cover of Steely Dan's Peg, it's been a long wait for fans of Fires and Dear Frustrated Superstar. Nerina's musical styles are never easy to pin down with words, but the songs on this third album are distinctly original and inspired, whilst also being very radio-friendly and commercial. Sophia and Everybody's Gone To War made Nerina a minor star when released in 2006, but The Graduate is packed with such great songs that I'm sure she'll create a much larger stir in 2009/10.

Everything's Illuminated is a great way to start this album, as it appears on first listen to be a carefree pop song with a chorus including "make me a hurricane" but there's a layer of complexity to the lyrics that makes you want to listen carefully and listen again. As on many of her best songs, Nerina sings the lyrics with a deliberate surface naivety that catches you out when you realise there is much more going on underneath.

Real Late Starter - an anthem to reformed slackers - is the first of the breakaway hits waiting to happen and has some of the best lyrics in any pop song for ages. From the "I woke up late today; actually I do that every day" accompanied by bouncy piano music, through the "I'm the queen refusenik" line to the "Oh my god if I was somebody I'd be doing it all just fine" chorus you can't help thinking that this is the kind of music you'd expect Lily Allen to be making after about five more years experience and touring with the Scissor Sisters.

The Right Side is another thumping pop anthem, again with a misdirection of knowing naivety and the line "how can we lose when we're on the right side?" Like many songs on this album you'll find yourself singing along to it, and it'll be great at the festivals.

Human is a beautiful guitar ballad with a "we are not our sorrows; we are not our scars" chorus that makes you think of all the things you liked about Sheryl Crow. The most country music that Nerina has gone in a track, and it works so well.

I Don't Want To Go Out is a bit of a shock on first listen as it's loud and brassy and the kind of song you'd expect from Avril Lavigne - a kind of teenage rock anthem rebelling against something everyone's doing... and then you suddenly "get it" and realise the grown up twist to it - that it's actually rebelling against going out and partying! Already a favourite, not that Andromeda Descendent doesn't like partying!

Coming Home is a heartfelt song about coming home to a supportive family - the lyrics are really beautiful and touching, bookended with "My Dad's not famous, but he is to me". I feel the same.

It starts is a very appealing love song with reassurance that "every little thing's going to be okay", and "pretty little love's going to see you through", and shows off the same subtlety to Nerina's voice that we loved on Sophia.

Here's the big one! When Did I Become Such A Bitch is Nerina's first number one just waiting to happen. You know even before the chorus that it's going to be fantastic, as only a couple of lines in and you're in love with it. I wouldn't at all describe Nerina as a thirtysomething Lily Allen, but my point is that this song will appeal to all age groups despite of and also because of some very bold lyrics, and pretty soon everyone will be humming it and downloading it for ringtones! It's a song that demands to be listened to and loved.

Cigarette is a lush and haunting ballad dedicated to anyone who is trying to give up a destructive habit, and works on many levels, and whilst listening your opinion of what she is singing about can change several times. There is a good musical surprise listening to this track as well, and for that reason I actually don't want to describe it too much for fear of spoiling a wonderful surprise. I think this is sure to be many people's favourite track from the album.

It Was Me is a melancholy ballad with tender lyrics and the reflective line "It was me, it wasn't you and now I know". It's a very good song for ending a brilliant album.
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on 16 November 2009
Nerina has been developing her craft for years, quietly, and mostly unrecognised. Seeing her perform this new album at the Stables, Wavendon, recently reinforced my belief that she has staggering talent (as well as looks to die for, wit, charm and a very - very - naughty sense of humour).

Coming back from a period of personal change has given Nerina what every artist needs: stories to tell, emotions to display and lessons learned. They burn through the songs and songwriting, and hang in her wonderful vocals.

Stand out tracks:

Real Late Starter - autobiographical, insightful and dramatic
Human - sorrowful, yet ultimately hopeful
When Did I Become Such A Bitch - hilarious, self deprecating and with a great piano swing

Give this a try. Seriously. If you are not laughing, crying and giggling by the end of it, then you may not be human. If you are human, you'll be wanting to follow her on Twitter @ladychatterley and then invite her to dinner.
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on 30 September 2011
Nerina Pallot shot to prominence with the success of Everybody's gone to war and the excellent album that spawned it, Fires. Fires has 7 or 8 excellent tracks with only a couple of average filler tracks at the end. With The Graduate the position is reversed. There are two excellent tracks, single `Real Late Starter' and `Why I am such a bitch', but a lot of uninspired material.
Most of it's not bad - a repetitive disco track that wouldn't have made it onto a very average disco album ca 1980 apart- there are some good lyrics and Nerina has a great voice but it's just that the standard of melodic invention isn't on the level of her last effort.
Worth having if you can pick it up for a fiver.
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on 13 November 2009
How Nerina is not a huge star in the uk is unbelievable!! This is the third cracking album from Nerina. With pretty much every track a worthy single, not that any of them will be a hit unless she does a sunday night x factor!
Highlights for me are the amazing ballads,particularly, God of small things is the most beautiful record you will hear this year. If you get the chance to catch her live,do, funny, heartfelt and enormously talented!
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