see also... Badly Drawn Boy
Neil Hannon's most successful album is the only one I've heard, even though I didn't pay much attention at the time Simon Mayo endlessly plugged "Something for the Weekend" on his Radio 1 show. But listening to it properly I now realise what a great songwriter he is. This album is presented like a firmly tongue-in cheek variety show, sung in his creamy bass-baritone voice of almost operatic strength, and backed with a slinky light-entertainment band. Hannon's witty and distinctly English lyrics make the most of his self-deprecating nerd image, most affectionately on the gentle waltz tune "Songs of Love". The music world needed a couple of songs that mentioned the NHS and GCSEs! But wit in music doesn't work without decent tunes, and fortunately the album is full of them. "Through a Long and Sleepless Night" is the only track that tends to wash over me. The middle 8 of "Middle Class Heroes" might seem like a too heavy-handed dig at modern suburbia, but Hannon doesn't take himself too seriously. That's how he can get away with ending the album on such a ridiculously over-the-top orchestral arrangement as the one on "The Dogs and the Horses".
June 26, 2004