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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

A Short Album About Love

The Divine Comedy

1997

A Short Album About Love

Album Summary

A Short Album About Love is the fifth studio album by Irish chamber pop band the Divine Comedy, released in 1997 by Setanta Records. It was recorded on 20 October 1996 at Shepherd's Bush Empire, London.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.85

Votes

5057

Genres

  • Pop
Reviews
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Mon Jun 21 2021
2

Now this is peak fucking Gen X garbage lol. At least it's only half an hour. Congrats man, it's the 1990s and you're pretending to be Sinatra. Aren't you just fucking ironic. 2/5.

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Thu Mar 25 2021
5

Outrageously beautiful and beautifully outrageous (If... you were a horse I'd clean the crap out of your stable and never once complain). Orchestral and theatrical, first impression was Bowie but I think it's more Scott Walker. I assume Father John and Kirin J take a lot out of this kind of thing. Pretty impressive it was all recorded live as well.

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Wed Jun 09 2021
4

If the lyrics took a more serious or less comedic tone, this album could easily be a 5 based on its production and composition. It was a pleasant surprise and an enjoyable listen.

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Wed Mar 31 2021
3

Oooh look, it's more 1990s British indie rock. I remember the name, but not any of their songs/albums. To be fair, this one is reasonably decent. Although considered a studio album, it was recorded live in a concert hall with a small orchestra and an audience (though thankfully you can't tell on the album that this was a live show). They are songs... about love, ranging from the romantic to the absurdist and twee. "If you were a horse, I'd clean the crap out of your stable" is a great line to sing with earnestness against orchestral accompaniment. I'm not opposed to orchestral pop, and the guy's voice does suit this setup. A bit like the Springsteen record, I can appreciate the craft and I wouldn't object to hearing their other material. But I'm not falling in love with this record. 3.5

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Wed Feb 10 2021
2

I gave this album three listens, trying to give it the benefit of the doubt. But every listen, the only part that caught my attention was when he started talking about how he wished his lover was a horse or a dog. Okay buddy.

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Fri Jan 29 2021
4

His deep, baritone croon has never sounded more affecting, and his songs are easily among his best, making A Short Album About Love much more than a record for hardcore fans.

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Mon Apr 11 2022
2

I think their greatest hits would have been a better option here. It includes the Father Ted theme song.

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Fri Feb 12 2021
1

Bloody shite

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Fri Feb 12 2021
1

Awful

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Sat Apr 17 2021
5

5. Of course. Canciones: Everybody Knows (except you)

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Fri Jun 18 2021
5

Talk about an underrated love/break up album. Genuinely some of the most beautiful melodies and movements on this short, grand album. Highlights: 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7.

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Thu Dec 09 2021
5

Loved it! So unique, definitely going to listen again.

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Fri Mar 11 2022
5

Absolutely soulful and swanky album, quite tightly packed as well. Huge Surpise here.

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Thu Mar 24 2022
5

Cinematic, epic and really unique. Lovely orchestration and enchanting vocal tone. Very impressive for a live album, an unexpected 5.

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Mon Oct 24 2022
5

Just what I’ve been looking for. Thank you.

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Thu Oct 27 2022
5

Kinda goofy, but I like his voice

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Wed Nov 09 2022
5

A great listen throughout. Highly recommend it

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Mon Dec 05 2022
5

Wow, I was not expecting this! How is this from the 90s? Let alone considered pop? Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but this never what I would picture if you said that. The voice is absolutely magnificent, and the orchestral backing is gorgeous. Are some of the lyrics a little cheesy? Sure, but I don't care, it sounds amazing, and while this isn't technically an "album", so maybe it shouldn't be on this list, but I'm so glad it is. Fantastic. Reminds me a lot of Nick Cave.

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Wed Jan 11 2023
5

Another exciting and wonderful surprise in a shape of a band, The Divine Comedy, thatcI have never heard of! From the first song onwards, this album was full of baroque splendor and glamour, orchestral motives and actually great singing by the main guy in the band, Neil Hannon. I never knew this, but he was a composer that recorded music for IT Crowd and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. This album let me appreciate him even more. Basically every song on the record is a hit, or at least a single worthy track. I am certainly adding almost whole album to my everyday playlist. Great job Neil, easily 5 stars.

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Mon Sep 14 2020
4

it’s cute

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Thu Oct 15 2020
4

A classic example of good trustworthy advertising. It is short, it is an album, and it is truly every sense about love. The vocalist's voice soars as he tells you how we can be together forever, how you would not cry if you were a tree, and how if you were a horse, he'd clean the crap out of your stable and that's when it really hits you that you're in love.

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Wed Mar 03 2021
4

Exactly what it says on the tin. I'm a sucker for orchestral arrangements. Best track: Everybody Knows (Except You)

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Wed Jun 09 2021
4

Enjoyable and somewhat amusing album with tongue-in-cheek lyrics, surprisingly good

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Wed Jun 30 2021
4

entertaining album. The lyrics to the songs are bizarre. Short and not so sweet.

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Fri Jul 16 2021
4

A surprise smash hit out of left field. I enjoyed this way more than I thought I would. Gorgeous songcraft, funny and witty lyrics, and a nice melodic ambiance.

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Thu Feb 04 2021
4

One off 60's orchestra and single singer style. Enjoyable.

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Thu Feb 25 2021
4

New to me but I enjoyed it

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Thu Jun 24 2021
4

Sounds a lot like Magnetic Fields. Pretty listenable

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Fri Jun 04 2021
4

Saved Prior: None Off Rip: In Pursuit of Happiness, Everybody Knows (Except You), Someone, If I Were You (I'd Be Through With Me), I'm All You Need Cutting Edge: If... Overall Notes: Some nice chamber pop. I can see people seeing this as pretentious, but I like it like that. The orchestral moments are beautiful and the lyrics aren't too self-serious. A 4.5 rounded to a 4 because it wasn't anything earth-shatteringly good (and again I'm trying to avoid score inflation), but I really really enjoyed this album. This is like a better version of that Rufus Wainwright album and will probably replace it for when I'm in the mood for some chamber pop.

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Thu May 06 2021
4

Nice little album

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Thu Apr 29 2021
4

This was actually great. Started off feeling very twee, but I grew to like it a lot.

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Thu May 13 2021
4

Für Freunde des Melodrams wirklich ein gutes album

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Wed Apr 14 2021
4

c'est un peu court jeune homme, 4/5

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Thu May 13 2021
4

Zu pompös, um es normal zu hören aber echt cool!

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Wed Apr 07 2021
4

A voice like velvet, great lyrics, clever songwriting, beautiful arrangements... what a joy this album is.

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Fri Jun 25 2021
4

Intriguing and often mesmerizing, although the occasional odd lyric feels out of place with the tone of the album. But well done and I was hooked throughout.

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Thu Apr 29 2021
4

This was actually great. Started off feeling very twee, but I grew to like it a lot.

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Sun Jun 20 2021
4

I've never really heard anything of this genre before outside of straight up musical theatre, which is obviously right up my street. This album was really cohesive and was a pleasure to listen to. My favourite moment was the orchestra at the end of 'If...'. Beautiful music.

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Wed May 26 2021
4

New to me, i liked it

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Tue Jun 22 2021
4

Never heard of The Devine Comedy. This is such well written music. Very full and layered. Like an Ogre. I'm interested in hearing more.

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Sun May 30 2021
4

I really quite enjoyed this album.

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Wed May 19 2021
4

This was a great album to have come up. I know this band from their first best of and this was a great excuse to dive into more of their full albums. I already liked the songs on here that I know but really fell for a few I didn't (specifically "Someone").

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Sun Aug 15 2021
4

the guys voice was lovely n deep. the instrumentals were extremely good and felt very grand and orchestral. lil bit of comedy. lil bit of cringe. pretty cool. 4.5

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Thu Aug 19 2021
4

Rating: 7/10 Best songs: In pursuit if happiness, Everybody knows

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Fri Oct 29 2021
4

Nije moj đir, dost kliše ljubavnih pjesama, al iskreno iskreno jedna od ugodnijih šetnji do faksa, makar se osjećo malo sjebano. Tako da iako nema teorije da bi inace dao ovak visoku ocjenu ovom, pasalo je, tako da neka bude četvorka ko ga jebe.

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Thu Nov 25 2021
4

Klinkt ook bijzonder. Gaan we nog meer van horen

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Mon Nov 29 2021
4

Interesting! Somewhat eerie love songs with strange lyrics (if you were a horse).

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Mon Nov 29 2021
4

Optimistic (mostly) collection of brass, drums, strings. Abba-adjacent.

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Mon Jan 10 2022
4

Solid album from one of my favourite artists. Does exactly what the title suggests and more.

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Thu Jan 20 2022
4

I love Neil Hannon. A man out of time, a voice from the 50s and the wit of Noel Coward but with 90s instrumentation. It's so enjoyable. He can break your heart in one line and make you laugh your arse off with the next (is there a better delivered line than "I told the passers by/I made a small boy cry"). I have always loved Everybody Knows. If is a revelation - big swelling orchestration and a writer's challenge of coming up with as many situations as possible. If I Were You feels like Frank Sinatra retold by Morrissey (in a good way, not a racist way). This actually feels like a lost Scott Walker album! I really like it. Not everything on here is essential - which is a shame with its brevity, but at it's heights, it soars.

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Thu Mar 03 2022
4

Pleasantly surprised! I'll listen to more of this band.

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Sun Apr 03 2022
4

Very good album, but this musical style does not appeal to me enough to give it 5 stars, so 4 stars it is.

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Sun Apr 03 2022
4

Divine Comedy has made the perfect (chamber) pop song numberous times (Our Mutual Friend, Tonight We Fly, The Booklovers etc etc) . This min-album: If. The remaining songs are around 4*. Lyrics: 5* (of course).

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Thu Apr 14 2022
4

The drama

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Fri May 13 2022
4

I wasn’t expecting much from this one, but I kind of loved it! Very pretty throughout, and I like how his voice added a little bit of edge to offset the sugary sweet coating. This might be my favorite week here ever. B

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Wed May 18 2022
4

Why include this Neil Hannon project, and not the cricket-themed concept album side project "The Duckworth Lewis Method"? That would really get the commenters foaming at the mouth about the UK-centric bias! 😆 Anyway, this is a perfectly pleasant listen - I got a Frank Sinatra album picked the next day, which makes for a nice contrast... Fave track - "Everybody Knows (Except You)"

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Wed Jun 15 2022
4

Brel-liant. More obsessed with horses than I remember.

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Mon Jul 11 2022
4

I've a grudging respect for Divine Comedy. Their overplayed cleverness, catchy lyrics, odd orchestral sounds. But I can't work out - who is now annoying - Neil Hannon or Divine Comedy fans?

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Wed Aug 03 2022
4

A very nice album indeed with very precise & carefully-chosen lyrics.

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Thu Sep 15 2022
4

Great instrumentation and vocals. Probably the best chamber pop album I've heard yet

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Wed Sep 21 2022
4

I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I was going to

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Thu Sep 22 2022
4

An old favourite!

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Wed Sep 28 2022
4

Expecting something 'avant-guarde' but it was just a collection of old fashioned love songs. It gets one extra star for having the most literaly truthful title of any album I know.

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Mon Oct 17 2022
4

I actually wasn’t that keen on this after the first listen. I somehow didn’t know what I was going into and simply wasn’t ready. But I had a feeling that I was missing something. So I gave it another listen. And BANG. There it was. I was totally blown back the second time around. The grandiose orchestration, the wonderful songwriting and Hannon’s raw and honest emotions. Especially the four songs starting with “Everybody Knows (Expect You)” and concluding with “If I Were You…” stands out as phenomenal. How have I wasted 25 years not listening to this sooner?

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Mon Oct 17 2022
4

Short and sweet. Playful, unpredictable, tender, with great melodies. I definitely need to listen to some more 'The Divine Comedy!

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Mon Oct 31 2022
4

There should be more short albums about things. As the title suggests, this is a sweet, shot and idiosyncratically romantic chamber pop record. It's not subtle, but it's really good. The lyrics are direct, full of imagery and amusingly truthful all at once. In all literature, music or art I'm not sure anyone has ever described the devotion of being in love better than 'If': "if you were a horse, I'd clean the crap out of your stable, and never once complain, if you were a horse, I could ride you through the fields at dawn, through the day until the day was gone"? Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: Everybody Knows (except you) Date listened: 30/10/22

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Thu Nov 24 2022
4

honestly… i loved this album. usually this type of music (theatrey) is something i am SO against, but i kind of ignored the lyrics and just listened to the music and the trumpets made it sound so happy and it was just really fun.

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Fri Nov 25 2022
4

Never heard of this before but pretty pleasantly surprised, really like the vibe and the orchestral bits really add something

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Fri Dec 23 2022
4

Just lovely, and exactly what it says it is. (The 2020 extended version has some noteworthy material but it makes it a not short album about love and that gets to my nerves)

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Sun Jan 08 2023
4

Neil Hannon probably thinks he is very clever. That can be annoying sometimes. Here's the thing: like it or not, Neil Hannon is in fact very clever. Composition, arrangements, lyrics. And singing. It's all on point and creative. It's great

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Mon Jun 14 2021
3

Really liked the music, especially the classical aspects of the music, and his voice eventually grew up on me. 3.5/5.

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Fri Sep 18 2020
3

Pretty good, not something I would seek out though.

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Fri Oct 16 2020
3

it was in fact a short album about love

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Thu Dec 31 2020
3

Well, this was a surprise. I'd likely never pull this album off my shelf and play it, but it was compelling, interesting, and entertaining.

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Fri May 21 2021
3

its alright but idk why its so special

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Thu May 27 2021
3

A bit sappy, but will give it another listen

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Sun May 16 2021
3

Trippy

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Wed Feb 03 2021
3

Arranged well, with vocals up front. A cohesive love story.

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Sun May 16 2021
3

No idea what to expect. Bombastic rich lounge music? It kept my attention.

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Fri Apr 09 2021
3

I wasn't too thrilled about the prospect of a "chamber pop", but thankfully it wasn't too bombastic, it actually has some pretty good melodies. Would listen again.

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Wed Feb 03 2021
3

It wasn’t great, there were some shortcomings. However, the fullness and depth of the music and atmosphere was really good. It was good throughout. Nothing too special, but nothing bad. Solid 3.

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Wed Jan 27 2021
3

1997, orchestral Pop, nicht ganz meins, roter Faden, bleibendes Thema, beständiges Album deswegen starke 3

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Mon Jul 05 2021
3

Nicht ganz mit warm geworden #listenagain

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Mon Jun 28 2021
3

Goh, weer eens iets ander. Theatraal, musical-achtig soms en best mooi, maar het hield m’n aandacht niet vast.

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Fri Feb 12 2021
3

saw these guys supporting Beck in the early 2000s in London. symphonic sound and his voice is incredible. Highlight of the album is "If..."

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Fri Mar 12 2021
3

somehow cheesy, old fashioned and awesome. Dudes voice is great and its pretty epic. The orchestra is a bit watered down, but I suppose thats what combining genres gets you

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Fri Jun 04 2021
3

This was pretty fun. Nothing groundshaking or incredible, but I found this to be a really enjoyable listen. Saved: Everybody Knows (except you)

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Wed Apr 28 2021
3

Reminds me of Burt Bacharach/John Barry/Neil Diamond/Jarvis Cocker. Glorious and heart-breaking pop, arrangements and lyrics. Great fun in concert too.

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Thu Jun 17 2021
3

3/5

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Wed Apr 07 2021
3

A mini album of 7 songs recorded around Divine Comedy’s commercial peak (Casanova). My first listen to this album in a very long time, most familiar with the single Everybody Knows, a great pop song). Throughout the arrangements are sophisticated though at points lyrically over-baked but for what it is, it’s a great piece of work.

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Fri Jun 25 2021
3

3 i guess. not really my jam but it wasn't actively bad so I can't really give it a 2. Just not my style, vocals were a little "whiny" which might not be a fair description but is the first word that came to mind.

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Wed Jun 16 2021
3

What's with the weird animal comparisons?

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Fri Apr 16 2021
3

was not expecting this sound based on the album cover...pursuit of happiness feels like a musical track...ok i think entire vibe of this album will feel like a musical, not something i'd listen to often

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Mon Jul 19 2021
3

There's a lot to like about this album. The music is good; great production value with lush orchestral arrangements, and on top of it all the vocals are a rich baritone (which I always like). But what drags this album down are the absolutely idiotic lyrics, which I can't get over (example: "If you were a tree / I could carve my name into your side / and you would not cry / 'cause trees don't cry... If you were a horse / I'd clean the crap out of your stable / and never once complain."). The orchestral interludes are really great... it's a shame because this would definitely be a 4-star album for me if not for those lyrics.

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Fri Jun 18 2021
3

A dramatic and cinematic album. It does stay true to Wikipedia's genre of "orchestral pop" in that it sounds like the easy listening albums of the 50s and 60s; however, although it's relaxing, it's not the most interesting or original. Favorite track: In Pursuit of Happiness

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Sun Jul 25 2021
3

Eh…

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Wed Oct 20 2021
3

Very theatrical

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Mon Oct 25 2021
3

not as good as the other album it recommended

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Fri Oct 29 2021
3

Jasno i jednostavno, naziv albuma kaže sve šta treba reć. Lagani chamber pop sa daškom orkestra. Nije ono za čim bi se vraćao, ali je sasvim uredan album.

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Thu Nov 04 2021
3

Scott Walker is one of my all-time favourites, so you’d think I would love this, but something about it didn’t land. The delivery is too arch and there’s too much whimsy for my liking. It was ok overall, but verging on irritating in places.

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