This is a Random Album Generator.
One album a day.
From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Steve McQueen

Prefab Sprout

1985

Buy At Rough Trade
Steve McQueen
Album Summary

Steve McQueen is the second studio album by English pop band Prefab Sprout, released in June 1985 by Kitchenware Records. The album was released by CBS in the United States as Two Wheels Good in anticipation of legal conflict with the estate of American actor Steve McQueen. The album cover references Steve McQueen's lifelong passion for Triumph motorcycles and the 1963 film The Great Escape. On 2 April 2007, it was reissued as a "legacy edition" double CD, featuring a remastered version of the original album and a bonus disc featuring acoustic versions of the songs recorded in 2006 by the band's frontman, Paddy McAloon.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.98

Votes

10348
Genres
Rock
Pop
New Wave

Reviews

Like a review? Give it a thumb up to help us display relevant reviews!
Sort by: Top Date
View Author
Sat Jun 19 2021
5

When people say they don't understand this album, or that it's "too 80's" , what they really mean is that they have never felt soaring, impossible limerance and soul-wrenching heartbreak; their lives have been absent of love and loss. Or, even worse, that they have bad taste in music. Five soulful stars suckas

👍
View Author
Wed May 18 2022
3

A nice if unexceptional record. I’d never heard of this group before, but this further confirms my theory that this list is mostly made by white British critics in their forties and fifties picking their favorite stuff rather than trying to get a list of the most important albums of the modern era. Bony was my favorite tack, it had great production and a nice little melody, as was when love breaks down. Maybe I should have known about this group and missing something?

👍
View Author
Wed Feb 17 2021
4

Never heard of these chaps, but blimey, this is some great '80s pop. The opening track had me thinking this would sound like a cross between Oingo Boingo and the Smiths, but that notion faded quickly as the album went on. They have a cool, optimistic sound. Wikipedia calls it "sophisti-pop" which is funny but seems fitting. Nowhere near as bright and synthy as the usual '80s fare, but I think that works to their advantage, as it doesn't sound so dated. At times, this even reminded me of acts like Beach House and Tame Impala, real hipster stuff. I really dig this album. Favorite tracks: Bonny, Goodbye Lucille #1, Desire As. Album art: Hell yeah. A soft British pop band dressed in tough guy jackets and paying homage to Steve McQueen. I'm pleasantly surprised to learn that the woman featured is actually in the band! Keyboards and some vocals, like a Vicki St. Elmo. The jackets are cool, the motorcycle is cool, the fog, the barbed wire fence, everything is cool. Steve McQueen is cool. This band is really cool. 4/5

👍
View Author
Wed Mar 03 2021
4

Smart, sophisticated, and timelessly stylish, Steve McQueen (titled Two Wheels Good in the U.S. after threats of a lawsuit from the actor's estate) is a minor classic, a shimmering jazz-pop masterpiece sparked by Paddy McAloon's witty and inventive songwriting. McAloon is a wickedly cavalier composer, his songs exploring human weaknesses like regret ("Bonny"), lust ("Appetite"), and infidelity ("Horsin' Around") with cynical insight and sarcastic flair; he's also remarkably adaptable, easily switching gears from the faux country of "Faron Young" to the stately pop grace of "Moving the River." At times, perhaps, his pretensions get the better of him (as on "Desire As"), while at other times his lyrics are perhaps too trenchant for their own good; at those moments, however, what keeps Steve McQueen afloat is Thomas Dolby's lush production, which makes even the loftiest and most biting moments as easily palatable as the airiest adult contemporary confection.

👍
View Author
Wed Feb 17 2021
2

My god. What part of this album did they say “wow people need to hear this before they die?” Maybe it’s something British that I don’t understand but the whole Steve McQueen bit doesn’t work at all for this album. I’d bet money that one of those tossers saw that bike on the road and said “Oy! Look at me I’m Bullet” and that’s how they took their album cover. I’m not sure where they came up with their name either but nothing about this band and album makes any sense to me. To be clear, I did like Bonny. That was a good song, but like a few others on this list, one good song shouldn’t get you this far. This is just a case of one too many bands of the time trying to vie for my attention. The last thing I am looking for is a new 80’s British Pop band to add to my collection. I’m also enjoying the beat on Horsin’ Around but this whole album kind of feels like that is what they were doing. Also the guy in the back standing up looks like Bill from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

👍
View Author
Fri Dec 24 2021
2

Starts off as a strong alternative LP but quickly loses itself in dated synths and truly awful songwriting. I swear everyone in the 80s set their Juno-6 to the same vocal-esque patch and used that for pads.

👍
View Author
Fri Oct 21 2022
2

If I want synthy 80s pop, I want it to be loud and proud! This gives me a feeling like garlic skin sticking to you all floaty and annoying. It's kind of half arsed never quite lets you climax or never gives 100% which is insanely irritating haha. I hate albums that are this long almost exclusively unless I really love all the songs. An irritating experience. Also just to counter a lot of reviews I've seen on here, I am British and I do not get this!

👍
View Author
Wed Feb 09 2022
1

This was one of the least memorable albums I’ve ever heard

👍
View Author
Thu May 12 2022
1

Wow that was truly miserable, I have no idea how anyone could connect with this: music is the driest, most unsoulful pop goop imaginable, the lyrics are weird, and the whole thing has a locked in a dark closet humming to himself vibe.

👍
View Author
Sun Jun 12 2022
1

What kind of shit joke is this? Prefab sprout without the hotdog jumping frog song? Who knew they were a serious outfit, I though they were just the 80s version of las ketchup. Should have stuck to novelty.

👍
View Author
Fri Jul 29 2022
1

Christ. Fagan flashbacks. I almost called it at track three but persevered. Not rewarded.

👍
View Author
Fri Sep 09 2022
1

Yuck. Basically 80’s crap pop. This has everything I hate about 80’s music. Synthesizers, cheesy lead vocals, cheesy backup vocals, piano rhythms. Way too much emphasis on lousy singers and no real music behind it. Hated it.

👍
View Author
Mon Sep 26 2022
1

This album was obviously meant for the 1001 insipid albums list. They almost grabbed my attention on Goodbye Lucille which built up to a chorus where the singer started putting in a bit of feeling. Then back to the humdrum verse. Then they really crushed my interest with the next song, followed by the next ad nauseum. I didn't know them. They were only successful in the UK which really tells the story. Lots of great British music hit our charts during the 2nd invasion (I'm Australian) but this stuff has nothing of interest. Horsin' Around is the final nail in the coffin. This album may end up with only one star. Yep. One star. It went from insipid to annoyingly twee.

👍
View Author
Wed Jan 11 2023
1

Maybe I just don't get it, but this album sucked ass and was super boring. Blegh.

👍
View Author
Fri May 07 2021
5

New wave hoedown on compact disc

👍
View Author
Thu May 13 2021
5

Astounding record without a single bad track. The songwriting by McAloon is phenomenally done, and the instrumentation sounds gorgeous. This album could have came out yesterday, it sounds that great. This is another band I had never heard of prior to listening to the track, but this has become one of my favorite listens all year.

👍
View Author
Fri Jun 04 2021
3

J'ai passé un très bon moment devant cet album de manualisme

👍
View Author
Wed May 18 2022
3

Jesus, that is one British album cover. Aaaaaaand it's a mix of new wave and pub rock/pop - exactly as expected. Fairly listenable in an inoffensive way, but I lost interest towards the end. 3/5.

👍
View Author
Wed Feb 17 2021
5

I'm very sad that I haven't heard about this album until now. I'm getting pretty strong smiths vibes and kapput-era Destroyer (which is my favorite album of all time, so I'm pretty happy about this). The guitars are so crisp on this album, really kind of fresh and refreshing sounding. The melodies are absolute jams, that sometimes go in strange directions that I didn't expect at all, so I was kept on my toes. I feel like bands like War on Drugs and other modern synth rock/pop really encapsulate this same sound, but I found that this album was surprisingly more forward thinking, experimental and interesting than modern synthpop. There's something so smooth about these songs that make them extremely listenable despite throwing in experimental-isms throughout the album. This is definitely going on my "listen again" list.

👍
View Author
Wed Jun 23 2021
5

Hit me in a very fitting time of my life

👍
View Author
Fri Nov 19 2021
5

Holy shit did this album catch me by surprise. I had never even heard of Prefab Sprout before this and I loved every track on this album. This might be the first album this generator has introduced me to for the first time that I absolutely, fully enjoyed. Literally don't have enough good things to say about it. Fav songs: bonny, when love breaks down, goodbye lucille

👍
View Author
Thu Mar 24 2022
5

I love this album so much, I've become so obsessed in such little time. It's just that good. The first 5 songs.... just hit after hit for me. Highlights: Faron Young, Bonny, Appetite, When Love Breaks Down, Goodbye Lucille #1, Hallelujah

👍
View Author
Fri Apr 15 2022
5

This didn't make a huge splash in the US, but it was a vital piece of 1980's college radio. It's among the best Side A to be found, with solid tracks back-to-back. This re-listen gave me a reason to revisit why I never "flip over the record", and was reminded that the second side is considerably less consistent. However, the rush of Faron, Bonny, Appetite, When Love Breaks Down, and Goodbye Lucille #1 more than justifies a solid rating. I'd give it 9 our of ten, but will round up for sheer nostalgia value and Thomas Dolby's production.

👍
View Author
Wed May 18 2022
5

I have always admired Paddy McAloon as a songwriter. The 80s frequently get a bad rap musically. While I have a lot of issues with a lot of the production (overproduction) in the 80s, there is a great deal of good songcraft to come from that decade. For fans of sophisticated pop, Prefab Sprout’s Steve McQueen is near the top of that list. With obvious tips of the hat to Pasul McCartney and Elvis Costello, with some additional jazz-pop elements thrown in, Steve McQueen is a great listen from start to finish.

👍
View Author
Fri Dec 16 2022
5

Every song is interesting! The lyrics are interesting on every song though occasionally stretched to make a rhyme work. I had never heard any of the songs on the album. Very 80s synth but in the best way. So much variation in instrumentation! I LOVE this album! My favorite song was Horsing Around mostly because of the brass

👍
View Author
Thu Nov 02 2023
5

Wait a minute. I actually love this.

👍
View Author
Thu Jul 22 2021
4

Have this one on vinyl. A fan obviously. I'm a sucker for most British sophistipop. Love the Thomas Dolby production. Very crisp and three dimensional. Sounds great on headphones. So many nice touches in the arrangements throughout. The banjo on Faron Young may be my favorite use of banjo in all of recorded music. The more I listen to this the more details I enjoy.

👍
View Author
Thu May 27 2021
4

Conocía When Love Breaks Down. Un 4.

👍
View Author
Fri Jun 04 2021
3

Le groupe Prefabs Prout n'a jamais percé et il en est très complexé. Cet album concept intitulé "Steve McQueen" du nom de l'acteur connu n'aborde qu'un seul thème : la célébrité. Le projet est en quelque sorte une réponse à la deuxième ligne de leur page Wikipedia française qui avait semé la zizanie au sein du groupe.

👍
View Author
Fri Mar 22 2024
3

Really enjoyed "Steve McQueen" from Prefab Sprout, and thought that musically - is was really next-level 80's pop... Most 80's bands - no matter how popular, were sort of basic level pop from a musical perspective, while this album was much more sophisticated musically... The album starts out incredibly strong - with "Faron Young", "Bonny, and "Appetite" - as I kept hearing hints of The Smiths in their music - which is quite a compliment... This was also a pretty diverse album musically, so I appreciate them playing around with that experimentation, as it was really well-done... The album lost a little steam as it went on, but the musicianship and vocals were top-shelf throughout... Definitely a solid 3 from me, and while I had heard of the band - I would NOT have been able to name a single song of theirs... Glad I listened...

👍
View Author
Wed Oct 12 2022
2

Lame, boring 80s pop. The author of this list seems to favour this type of music for some unfathomable reason.

👍
View Author
Sun Sep 10 2023
2

I’m not entirely sure what the first song thinks it’s doing on this record, the cow-punk on that track doesn’t really fit with the overall sound of this record, which, in a few spots, sounds closer to a less-technical Sea And Cake or maybe latter day Cornelius, to make a somewhat modern comparison. The production here is the highlight for me. Thomas Dolby’s vibrant production keeps this album from being an absolute snore.

👍
View Author
Sun Apr 17 2022
1

Can’t do the English Beat, etc

👍
View Author
Fri Nov 18 2022
1

This is bad. It has some of the 80s tone to it but it isn't good. Thankfully it is only 45 minutes but it is not memorable. It is not the worst album on this list but it is not a 2.

👍
View Author
Wed Dec 07 2022
1

Not good, this is more evidence that 1985 may very well be the worst year in music

👍
View Author
Mon Feb 13 2023
1

Oh my, this was dreadful. Really, really painful. It was like the worst form of elevator music imaginable.

👍
View Author
Fri Mar 08 2024
1

Oh boy, it started ok but quickly became incredibly uninteresting. A catchy hook here and there got me hoping for more but it just kept getting worse. Just unoffensive and dull album that I don't need to (and definitely don't want to) listen to again.

👍
View Author
Thu Mar 14 2024
1

Parts we ok, but really I just found it boring.

👍
View Author
Mon May 10 2021

Gets too 80s poppy in the middle but liking the songs that feel like the clash and the smiths had a baby

👍
View Author
Mon Oct 05 2020
5

i already knew this album but i love it, always worth a listen

👍
View Author
Wed Jan 27 2021
5

An immaculately produced jazz-pop record... Technically every song is a winner. Every song invokes a mood, and that’s a mood I want to be in all the time. STANDOUTS: -Faron Young -Bonny -Appetite -When Love Breaks Down -Goodbye Lucille #1 -Moving the River -Horsin’ Around -When the Angels

👍
View Author
Mon Jun 28 2021
5

Engineered by the great Thomas Dolby, the sound quality of this album is superb. This is an album of perfection that never tires or grows old. Why can’t all albums be this way?

👍
View Author
Tue Jun 22 2021
5

Totally surprised by this album!

👍
View Author
Fri Aug 20 2021
5

8/26 Damn good pop. Standout Tracks: Faron Young, Appetite, Hallelujah, Horsin' Around, Blueberry Pies, When the Angels

👍
View Author
Wed Aug 25 2021
5

This could have been recorded by The 1975. Sounds great, really catchy end to end.

👍
View Author
Wed Feb 02 2022
5

This was beautiful. I loved how sweet it sounded.

👍
View Author
Thu Feb 10 2022
5

Afar góð plata. Svona á 80s að vera.

👍
View Author
Sun Jun 12 2022
5

A wise man once told me to eat all my sprouts or my dick would rot off. I didn't believe him. By age 14 all I had left was a rusty, festering wound where my dong should have been. My predicament forced me to construct a new cock out of an old dildo and newspaper. It was a disaster.

👍
View Author
Mon Jun 13 2022
5

Never seen or herd of it before… The album opens with Faron young it’s not my favourite song of all time but the echoey vocals and the chaos the song goes into at the very end are both really awesome. Bonny ( according to spotify) is their most popular song ( but isn’t a single) It’s a nice track a slower poppier mostly acoustic based track with great backing vocals so yeah good! Appetite has a great slow (yet poppy) booming intro but then forms into this glossy little masterpiece; these songs are so good. When love breaks down sounds like walking into the gates of heaven another glossy pop rock masterpiece with amazing lead and backing vocals. Goodbye Lucille #1 ( aka Johnny Johnny) has got some of my favourite subtle guitar workings in any song. The slow romantic verses juxtaposed with the booming chorus makes this into a centrepiece to the album. The first half of the album ends on hallelujah it’s not my favourite track on the album but it’s still perfectly made 80’s pop music with amazing lyrics. Moving the river brings back some energy missing from most of the album’s first half while still keeping the same sounds that make this band sound so special, I don’t think the lyrics are as good as that of the ones on the rest of the album but it’s still a good song. Horsin’ around has a great kinda optimistic sounding orchestral keyboard work contrasted quite well with the gloomy lyrics. After the halfway point the song takes a brief left turn into a more old fashioned sounding track but with the same lyrical content. The bass at the end is also cool. I love the synths in desire as this song seems like a break from the rest of the album as it is a super slow 5 minute angelic but still a well written pop song. I love the little sample at the start of the penultimate track blueberry pies speaking of the sonic is an odd mix of of creepy yet lovely dovey its good but no where near a favourite. When the angels closes off the album with one of the faster paced tracks. Other than lyrical content I find this an odd closer but it’s still one of the stronger songs on here. This album is amazing I’am a bit doubtful of if it truly deserves it but I can’t not give it a 5/5.

👍
View Author
Fri Jul 29 2022
5

Love this album. Only low point for me is the opener 'Faron Young'! I guess it's more in that Smiths 80s rockabilly style and the structure and lyrics are pretty straightforward so that's why they made it a single.

👍
View Author
Sat Nov 26 2022
5

kinda forgot how much I LOVED this album

👍
View Author
Fri Dec 02 2022
5

A great find. Every song enjoyable 80 British pop that I actually enjoyed.

👍
View Author
Thu Dec 15 2022
5

This is so so good! BONNY DON'T LIVE AT HOME

👍
View Author
Sun Dec 18 2022
5

Many of the albums I end up giving five stars find the perfect balance between two contrary drivers in the artist. And so it is here: the pop rush and classic songwriting chops on one side, the witty wordplay, clever time signatures and chords on the other. Side one is one of the strongest side ones of any album in the eighties and it's a crime that When Loves Breaks Down wasn't number one: the record company clearly thought so too as they kept re-releasing it every ten minutes with another free single. No 25 with a bullet and since covered by the Zombies, Snow Patrol and Lisa Stansfield who clearly all know a classic when they hear it. they'd get the big hits on the next album, slightly too much pop rush and not enough of the grit in the oyster.

👍
View Author
Fri Mar 17 2023
5

Had five 2 star albums in a row so I really needed this. lovely.

👍
View Author
Thu Apr 13 2023
5

Sassy and clever lyrics. Some interesting sounds. A fun album of its time

👍
View Author
Wed Jul 05 2023
5

Rating: 9/10 Best songs: Faron young, Bonny, Appetite, When love breaks down, Goodbye Lucille, Hallelujah, Moving the river, Horsin’ around

👍
View Author
Fri Jul 21 2023
5

Not typically my thing, but this album blew me away. Amazing songs and all the best parts of 80s production without the cheese.

👍
View Author
Sun Sep 03 2023
5

Eighties pop with sophisticated melodies and chord progressions. I thought I preferred the debut Swoon, but now I'm not so sure anymore. Loved it.

👍
View Author
Fri Oct 27 2023
5

Fantastic songwriting from the very beginning. First 5 songs is the best ever pressed on a Side A. Second half is watering down this godly juice but cannot drag the level lower than giving this whole masterpiece a 4.5

👍
View Author
Sat Oct 28 2023
5

Það sem ég er búin að bíða eftir þessari plötu á listanum! Albesta gáfumannapopp sem gefið hefur verið út. Algjör demantur.

👍
View Author
Fri Nov 03 2023
5

WOW! What a pleasant surprise. Totally new to me. Smooth jazzy pop with constant charming production surprises ‘round every corner. Obviously a lot of heart and skill was poured into this album. Still sounds insanely crisp and modern despite the eighties-tinged synths. This is what modern producers try to emulate. Reminds me of one of my favourite albums: Kaputt by Destroyer.

👍
View Author
Wed Nov 15 2023
5

I am mesmerized by the quality here. The best sounds out of the 80's ever, harmonies, melodies, chords, guitar and keyboard sounds. I am in love

👍
View Author
Fri Nov 24 2023
5

I was immediately impressed by the catchy country-tinged post-punk opener (especially that distorted instrumented ending), but then it took a completely different turn from there into sophi-pop, and I love it all. This is peak 80s, jazzy, smooth, with beautiful lush synths while retaining minimalist punk beats. Gives off Steely Dan vibes in the vocals and how fast the melody twists and turns. It's consistent too, with tracks following patterns from one to the next, like the bossa nova percussion between "Horsin Around" and Desire As." The first side is perfect, the second side a bit weaker, but it's all good. Everything stands out and has their gorgeous moments to appreciate. Only two tracks I didn't like were "Blueberry Pies" and "When the Angels" but I don't mind stopping at "Desire As" anyway.

👍
View Author
Fri Dec 15 2023
5

- Honestly this had great vibes - Can feel the emotion in the lyrics and singing - Sounds like it would be a soundtrack to a great movie - Horsin Around and Bonny were my favorites

👍
View Author
Wed Dec 20 2023
5

Immer wieder geile 80s Vibes

👍
View Author
Wed Feb 07 2024
5

Mullets. Synth-Pop. Margaret Thatcher. New wave. Power suits with shoulder pads.

👍
View Author
Wed Feb 07 2024
5

DOPE AF. Makes me nostalgic for an era I never lived in. 11/10

👍
View Author
Wed Feb 07 2024
5

Incredible album. Definitely one of my biggest inspirations musically. Fave song is Appetite.

👍
View Author
Wed Feb 07 2024
5

Two Wheels Good here in the colonies. Loved it from first listen, when it was new, and it’s just as good now.

👍
View Author
Sun Mar 10 2024
5

I’m a poptimist and a hopeless romantic. I like what I like, even if it’s a little awkward and silly, and this is definitely awkward and silly both lyrically and musically. It’s not flawless, and works better as individual songs on a playlist than an album proper, but it’s so fun and so right for my tastes that it earns a personal 4.5 stars. Great find for lovers of kitschy ‘80s pop.

👍
View Author
Mon Sep 07 2020
4

Pretty good british synth/jazz pop. 9/10

👍
View Author
Tue Sep 29 2020
4

Great punk album, really enjoyable listen!

👍
View Author
Fri Oct 16 2020
4

A total classic. One of the best live albums of all time.

👍
View Author
Thu May 20 2021
4

Totally not what I expected from the cover. Soft and sensual, yet still packing a punch with some songs.

👍
View Author
Wed Apr 28 2021
4

Surprisingly good 80s pop, no standout songs but overall a enjoyable album

👍
View Author
Wed Jan 27 2021
4

strong start, weaker finish. some nice 80s pop, catchy and fun

👍
View Author
Fri Mar 26 2021
4

Catchy, nice 80s pop/rock. I dig it.

👍
View Author
Fri Jan 15 2021
4

A ghostly yet warm experience of beautiful storytelling. Some ambitious and catchy songs. However, latter half of the album develops into a cringey 80s sitcom dozefest.

👍
View Author
Wed Feb 10 2021
4

it was such good british 80s pop. all around such a fun listen

👍
View Author
Thu Jan 28 2021
4

Sonorités modernes malgré l'âge de l'album, des paroles originales et ambiances planantes par moments!

👍
View Author
Fri Mar 19 2021
4

Bängeri? Skön pop. Låter som om det inte sku vara något jag gillar men på något sätt så funkar de bara

👍
View Author
Tue Jul 13 2021
4

Never heard of these guys. I enjoyed it for the most part. Very 80s with a hint of new wave.

👍
View Author
Tue Jun 22 2021
4

Este disco me lo compré en el viaje de fin de estudios del instituto. Ha sido agradable volverlo a escuchar. Las mejores para mí: Faron young, Bonny, When love breaks down, Goodbye Lucille #1 y para terminar When the angels. Un grupo inglés que sonaba a ratos como americano y que realmente tenían unas voces impresionantes. Totalmente recomendable.

👍
View Author
Wed Mar 03 2021
4

Holy enjoyment, Batman! An album with a jangle pop inflection that I actually enjoy? What a marvel... This record has a lot of stellar things going for it, from the genuinely fun songwriting to the delivery of the band. The drums and bass lines do exactly what they need to do without sounding flat or invisible, the flourish of guitar and synths give the songs great personality, and Paddy McAloon on vocals is a genuinely pretty good singer. All in all, this is an easy album for me to enjoy, though the slower songs didn't quite capture me. Either way, a great album!

👍
View Author
Thu Feb 18 2021
4

Loved this album when it first came out and love it still.

👍
View Author
Thu May 13 2021
4

Surprisingly good album. All the tracks have a nice casual swag about them. You could set this album on repeat and go about your business very contently. It really is a pleasant album to listen to in almost any situation. 4 Stars!

👍
View Author
Mon Mar 29 2021
4

Great, feelings, emotions, love.

👍
View Author
Tue May 11 2021
4

This was a pleasant surprise of an album. Sophisti-pop creme with just the right touches of jangle pop and new wave. Bonny and When Love Breaks Down were the standout tracks, but the first half of the album is fantastic.

👍
View Author
Thu May 13 2021
4

I listened to the Legacy edition & the US bonus tracks, enjoyed it, maybe the acoustics moreso. Very reminiscent of a casual outdoor playlist, just having part of the album on in the background outside. Reminded me of Dire Straits meets David Gilmour

👍
Load more reviews