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

Punishing Kiss

Ute Lemper

2000

Punishing Kiss
Album Summary

Punishing Kiss is a studio album by German singer Ute Lemper, released in 2000 by Decca Records. It is the product of a collaboration between Lemper and the Divine Comedy and includes songs by the latter artist, as well as Nick Cave, Elvis Costello, Philip Glass, Tom Waits, Scott Walker and Ute Lemper's signature artist, Kurt Weill. Most of the songs feature the Divine Comedy as Lemper's backing band. Neil Hannon and Joby Talbot also contributed two original songs and an arrangement of Brecht and Weill's "Tango Ballad", while Hannon sang two songs ("Tango Ballad", "Split") as duets with Lemper. The French version of the album includes a bonus CD with three songs in French. Arthur H sings with Lemper on "Maison Close", the translation of "Tango Ballad". The Japanese version of the album includes an additional track: "Lullaby", written by Scott Walker.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.4

Votes

9312
Genres
Pop

Reviews

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Wed Sep 29 2021
2

This kind of cabaret-muzak tripe owes 99% of its sales to business entities. The "corporate communications" departments at outfits like the Marriott Group approve it as album of the month, and this moves a few hundred thousand units. It spends its 30 days of patronage on repeat in hotel lobbies and art gallery gift shops, and afterwards it ends up in op-shops. The corporate world then forgets about Ute Lemper because Norah Jones has a new album out, it's lounge jazz covers of Soundgarden songs and for some reason, hotel chain executives think that is a good idea. Meanwhile, the wider public remains mostly unaware of this album's existence. Maybe Ute will have another album in a few years that's picked up in the same fashion, but for the moment she goes back to whatever artsy-fartsy theatrical bubble she came from. Soon enough the op-shops, inundated with copies of an album no one's ever heard of - let alone care enough about to pay $2 for - give up on trying to sell copies of it as individual units, and include them in bulk lots that are offloaded to Chinese ebay merchants. The CDs remain in warehouses just outside Shenzhen, the ebay listings untouched. This repeats as bulk lots are shifted from reseller to reseller. But the CDs never sell, and after a while they end up in landfill. The booklets disintegrate and the plastic begins to slowly decompose. Climate change eradicates humanity long before the CD cases are broken down into their base elements. Eventually, as the universe expands beyond its ability to maintain thermodynamic energy, everything comes to a slow, frozen, irreversible halt. 2/5.

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Sun Jun 27 2021
1

You know when you were a kid, and your parents dragged you along to some event? And you sat there, quietly and politely, all the while withering away inside and wishing it was over so you could do literally anything else? I have never heard that feeling captured so impeccably into music as I did here.

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Wed Dec 22 2021
1

Awful in ways difficult to describe. A performance hammier than a telenovela set on a pig farm, wrapped in spun-sugar arrangements so saccharine they made my teeth melt. This has been, easily, my least favourite offering on this app so far. Punishing Kiss is ridiculous, but not in any kind of fun way - it feels like a horribly calculated misstep. I imagine this is in 1001 albums one must listen to, so that every now and again were are consoled that the sweet embrace of the tomb is not so far away.

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Sun Apr 18 2021
4

I listened to this while playing the Lord of The Rings game on my psp and eating mint aero so I think maybe it was situation that I'm giving a 4.

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Thu Oct 07 2021
1

Sounds like the soundtrack to a musical I don't want to see.

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Fri Jan 22 2021
3

If James Bond theme music was just about real life shit. This would be the theme music and I dig it

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Wed Jul 27 2022
1

After learning The Divine Comedy produced this, my thought was “of course.” I never heard of The Divine Comedy before this list/site, but they’re headlining my shitlist.

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Thu May 20 2021
4

I feel like this should be the soundtrack for Cats

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Thu May 20 2021
4

Dramatic! Some really excellent performances.

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Sun Aug 08 2021
4

Ute is new to me. Such a powerful voice, and I loved the orchestration. They kind of feel like Bond tunes, with how dark and grand many of them are. Pleased to hear a couple Tom Waits tunes on the album.

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Wed Mar 23 2022
4

This was an interesting album. A bit slow for my taste but I enjoyed it nonetheless. A cool thing about this is how you can clearly hear the influences of the "guest" artists for each song

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Wed Jan 20 2021
3

Music beds were awesome. Cool, jazzy, emotional, experimental. Vocals and lyrics were over dramatic. This seems like what theater kids listen to.

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Thu Oct 14 2021
3

I feel like I *should* like this... I like Tom Waits, Nick Cave, and Elvis Costello quite a bit, I like this style of cinematic 60s belter... it just doesn't connect for me. Maybe it's the darker modern production and the heavy leaning on strings over brass in the arrangements... this needs some big ol' Henry Mancini swells or something. This style of music is self-aware enough to wink at the audience but it's being blended with songwriting so self-serious that it keeps its winking behind closed doors. However, I could see this album being a grower worth revisiting.

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Thu Mar 10 2022
3

this is the sort of album that makes you feel small until you realise it's Vegas cabaret schmaltz, not decadent chaise-longue sophistication

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Thu Oct 13 2022
2

I fully believe the lyrics were written by a teenager making their first attempt at erotic fan-fiction and you cannot convince me otherwise.

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Thu Jul 08 2021
5

This album is now on my list :)

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Sun Jan 24 2021
4

The lyrics on the first song were so literal... Then I saw Nick Cave co-write and that made complete sense. I feel like this album would be a first draft pick in the middle of a manic episode.

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Mon May 03 2021
4

Felt like a musical. The features are very noteworthy. Not the biggest fan of the vocals, but I loved the rest

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Fri Mar 05 2021
4

interesting, more like a musical

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Wed Mar 24 2021
4

Surprised myself by how much I enjoyed this

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Wed Nov 17 2021
4

This is stunning...why am I late to this. 👏👏👏👏

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Wed Nov 02 2022
4

This album is fucking hilarious. Ute Lempter is the female German version of John Mulaney. I feel like this is a in a 57 minute SNL skit of cabaret absurdity. For example... "your head is a big red balloon" "my pretty breasts are piled high with stones ... and tiny little fishes enter me" "if sex were an Olympic sport, we would've won the gold..." and from the whorehouse song... "I got the brain, and she supplied the breast ... " It's all so terrible. If this is supposed to be serious, then it's really sad and ... terrible. But if this is a huge joke (which it seems to be), then it's great. It did get tiresome after the first 30+ mins., but this album was a welcome bit of levity on 1001.

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Wed Mar 08 2023
4

Hadn't heard of Ute Lemper before, but thoroughly enjoyed this. Sultry, dark, caberet. I appreciate that this list has albums like this on it. Suffers a little from early 00s super shiny production. Favorite tracks: "The Case Continues", "Streets of Berlin", "Tango Ballad"

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Tue Oct 06 2020
3

Respectable, but not my style

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Thu Mar 03 2022
3

What a mixed bag. I wasn't sure what to expect going in but I saw names like Tom Waits and Nick Cave so I was hopeful. I think this music works better in small doses. I could see myself listening to more of her work and some of the songs on this album again. Ute has a nice voice and the music is generally good but sometimes the songs drag a bit. At about an hour I was ready for it to be over even if it was a mostly pleasant experience.

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Fri Jun 03 2022
3

This album doesn't live up to its billing. If you listened to it cold, you would never guess that the singer is the former star of a major production of Cabaret (playing Sally Bowles!). My friend compared it to a Moira Rose concept album, which is hilarious, if a bit unkind. Not totally inaccurate, though. There were a couple of tracks I really liked, but most were bland and uninspiring. Best track: You Were Meant for Me

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Wed Jul 07 2021
2

What a bonkers album. Didn't sound particularly good, not sure if it gains or loses points for the song about the whorehouse. Either way a 4/10

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Fri Jul 16 2021
2

Ute Lemberg has a fantastic voice and the collaboration with The Divine Comedy is an interesting one but the album doesn’t have enough of a spark to sustain your interest.

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Sun Jul 04 2021
2

Brand new to me. First 2 songs YES! 3rd song not so much. As it goes along I still prefer the opening songs . Reminds me of Holly Cole at times. All in all there are some enjoyable moments, particularly The Case Continues and Split but in the end I'm left wondering as I have from time to time with this list; why this artist? why this album? 2.5 🌟

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Wed Mar 24 2021
1

Started off thinking it could be interesting and quirky but the singing quickly got annoying

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Fri Nov 19 2021
1

Ute Lemper is best known for her interpretations of Kurt Weill, so covering artists influenced by Kurt Weill might turn out to be either inspired or reductive. Looking at the track list, I was like "Oh, yeah, Elvis Costello's later work is influenced by Kurt Weill," which had never occurred to me before. I'll be interested to see if that's true about Philip Glass. Of course, everyone knows that's true of Tom Waits and Nick Cave. But who are Noel Scott Engel and Neil Hannon, both of whom have the lion's share of composing credits? Oh, shit--Noel Scott Engel is Scott Walker, who Americanized the songs of Jacques Brel and who never met a 72 piece orchestra he didn't want to masturbate to. Neil Hannon is the founder of the contemporary group The Divine Comedy, a throwback to the days when melody was paramount and kitchen sink arrangements were the norm. Worse, the members of The Divine Comedy are the backing musicians! I dislike The Divine Comedy and both of the latter composers, so now I'm more than a little apprehensive about Punishing Kiss. Here goes. Predictably, it all falls flat, but it's difficult to accurately apportion blame. Of course, no song would have had a prayer of withstanding the overwrought orchestrations and performances of The Divine Comedy, but the effect is to make all the songs seem slight and jejune, even the Kurt Weill piece, which can't possibly be true. Ute Lemper strikes me here as melodramatic in her readings instead of deadpan, which is more appropriate for a Weill-influenced set, but she really had no choice given the accompaniment. At least she's better than Neil Hannon, who is pure ham in his duets with Lemper. Pretty fucking awful.

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Fri Feb 11 2022
1

I would describe the process of listening to this album as "tortuous". Absolutely. Fucking. Miserable.

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Wed Apr 06 2022
1

Inorganic and stiff, nice execution but with as much soul as elevator or mezzanine music. Was going to give it a 2 for the execution but meh

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Fri Apr 08 2022
1

Proof that not every stage star should record an album. A voice that gyrates between annoying and awful with all of the appeal of fingernails scraping a chalkboard. This has a William Shatner meets William Hung element to it.

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Mon Nov 21 2022
5

вау вот это вау оч оч круто

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Wed Nov 30 2022
5

Heel wat James Bond gehalte. Weer een leuk album ontdekt

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Mon Mar 20 2023
5

Really love the voice, old style cabaret singing on Tom Waits and Elvis Costello is something I never knew I needed. What I didn't need was dude from Divine Comedy singing on here at all and his songs just really dull the whole record. The Kurt Weill written song I get but it isn't for me, I can't knock it for that though so it's a 6.8 for me

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Sun Sep 17 2023
5

J'ai vraiment vraiment bien aimé, c'était une super découverte. Les chansons sont très bien choisies et très bien interprétées, et l'orchestration en mode intense est fort bien employée. Une cool façon d'aborder les chansons à la Tom Waits ou autre qui peuvent parfois manquer de musicalité.

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Thu Oct 05 2023
5

Wow, I liked this much more than I expected. I figured this was going to be a 3 after reading description. Instead, I found the album captivating from start to finish. She has a very dramatic singing style that just works. I've been listening to the album for days and want to keep on listening. I'll call that a 5. Favorite tracks: Little Water Song (great start to the album - pulled me right in), The Case Continues, You Were Meant for Me (particularly the ending), and Scope J (mysterious, somewhat bizarre, but I really liked it).

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Sun Dec 17 2023
5

The reason why Björk’s music is so interesting is her voice. It is more often than not the most engaging part of one of her songs. The same can be said for this album. I had never heard of her up until today, but Ute’s voice instantly stood out as one of the most commanding and enrapturing I’ve ever heard. This album is cool. Like physically cold. It feels chilling and heartless. But also sleek. Like a thrilling espionage movie. Some songs like Streets of Berlin or the closer contain this inhuman machine-like sound quality. But this is still very rooted in experimental baroque and classical music. The best songs are the ones written by Neil Hannon. But really, the amount of huge talents that are credited here is remarkable. The only songs I didn’t like were the ones done by Tom Waits. Not because I don’t like his music or anything, I just found those to be the least interesting. Rating: 9/10

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Wed Jun 30 2021
4

Tango Ballad: Quando canta il tizio della Divine Comedy non so perché mi ricorda le colonne sonore di Akira Yamaoka, tipo quella di Silent Hill 4 In conclusione: Sono in difficoltà sulla votazione. I primi due pezzi m'hanno fatto pensare che questo album sarebbe stato un 5, purtroppo però manca di consistenza, che è anche comprensibile considerando la quantità di gente che ha partecipato. Ute Lemper è senza dubbio talentuosa, forse a tratti esce troppo la sua vena musical e diventa un po' patetica, però dall'altra parte il fatto che è anche attrice le dona un'interpretazione che quando funziona fa venire la pelle d'oca. Purtroppo nella maggior parte dei pezzi non fa click però con qualche eccezione tipo Little Water Song, The Case Continues o You Were Meant For Me. Che dire, peccato, nei punti più alti è sicuramente da 5, purtroppo però la media è così così. Mi sento comunque di premiarlo con un 4.

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Fri Jul 23 2021
4

I liked this alot. Zo rustig, zo mooi, een echt verhaal in het album, een beetje musical een beetje niet. Ik ga dat zeker nog eens opzetten. De tango ballad ging gewoon hard

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Fri Sep 24 2021
4

Последние два трека!

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Fri Dec 17 2021
4

Rad and a little mad, this was epic

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Fri Apr 08 2022
4

A genuine discovery through this project, really liked it.

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Fri Apr 15 2022
4

Fantastic singing, poetry and writing. I think Ute gets too much credit here, though. She's got an amazing voice and is unique talent. But the people who wrote the songs, and the guy who re-envisioned them should get at least 50% of the credit, in my opinion. That aside, still a four star album.

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Thu Jul 21 2022
4

Feels like a passionate musical

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Fri Jul 22 2022
4

Wow, what a voice! Each tune, although I guess very broadly in the "pop" category, is also sort of operatic/Broadway show-tune-y, and her talent is there to pull it off. Sounds like a very interesting person, too.

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Sun Aug 21 2022
4

A strong voice, a style of music you don't hear every day and an armada of famous songwriters.... This album has all the ingredients for a great experience and it doesn't disappoint

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Wed Aug 31 2022
4

4/5 this is some good shit. very powerful

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Thu Sep 08 2022
4

WTF is this? Lush, orchestral pop songs about sexual violence? It's certainly a unique concept and the performances are solid. It's exactly what I expect to be included in a list of 1001 Albums. There are a variety of songwriters on the album and Ute's skill as an actress is put to good use. She fits her voice to styles of Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, and others. If this album was meant to have a single, "Split" might be it. Ute's voice sounds great and it's upbeat.

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Wed Oct 26 2022
4

This is beautifully arranged. Vocals are very emotive and the storytelling is really nice. Very intimate. VERY caberet. Feels like I'm in a latenight candlelit club filled with smoke. Purely for vibes, I like it. The songwriting just makes it better.

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Wed Nov 09 2022
4

Unexpectedly I really enjoyed this. 4*

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Mon Dec 12 2022
4

sonzão de muito sentimento, grande produção

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Wed Dec 14 2022
4

This was great. I liked how eclectic and witchy the sound was. It reminded me of Ys by Joanna Newsom but less consistent.

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Sun Jan 01 2023
4

It says a lot for an artist when some of the greatest songwriters of your era write an album’s worth of songs for you to perform. It’s fun listening to the songs and trying to guess who the songwriter is. I can hear Nick Cave’s voice in the epic first song and I was sure that he must have done his own version, but apparently not. The one Philip glass contribution is easy to pick out as is the first Elvis song. The Case Continues, by Neil Hannon is maybe my favourite on the album - I especially love strings. My co-judge and I saw her perform this live at Massey Hall in 2001 with a bunch of Kurt Weill and Jacques Brel songs thrown in, so I have a slight bias.

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Wed Jan 25 2023
4

Je ne comprends pas les mauvaises notes, en tout cas c'est tout droit dans mon allée.

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Wed Feb 22 2023
4

Nick Cave, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits ja vielä Neil Hannonkin mukana, what's not to like? Kovin kaunista tämä, eeppista ja oopperallista olemaan kuitenkaan liikaa mitään näistä ollakseen selkeästi pop-musiikkia. Aivan varmasti kuuntelen uudestaan.

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Fri Mar 03 2023
4

Interesting album to rate. Obviously they are covers, but there is artistry in their selection and arrangement. Surprisingly enjoyed it all. It was baroque and a bit goofy at times. But the record is good and the songs stitch together to tell a story.

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Mon Mar 20 2023
4

Great if you love show tunes.

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Thu Apr 20 2023
4

Lots of musical talent contributed to this album! Split was a great duet, I liked Purple Avenue as well. The sound and style of the album wasn't really to my taste overall, but I won't knock the album for that.

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Fri May 05 2023
4

So interesting. The Divine Comedy are one of my all time top five bands and yet I did not know they had collaborated for this. Just a really interesting listen.

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Wed May 10 2023
4

Someone I’d never heard of before. But taking a glimpse at the cover, I notice a lot of artists I dig, so safe to say, I was intrigued! And the record turns out to be pretty cool, there’s a dark comedic nature within songs that I liked. But also some very frail moments with great orchestral scoring. Pretty good! 7,5 out of 10

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Sun May 14 2023
4

This is one of the lowest rated albums on the generator? It's pretty good, at least for me. The last song kind of dragged, and it's what I was worried the whole album was going to sound like before I started it, but everything else was fun. It's interesting to see who worked on which songs. My favourite songs were Split and Punishing Kiss.

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Wed May 17 2023
4

I actually really liked this

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Fri May 19 2023
4

The first couple of songs were very good. Especially Lempers's interpretations of Nick Cave's Water Song and Kurt Weill's Tango Ballad were spot on. I didn't like some of the later trackson the album, although that has more to do with the source material (e.g. two numbers by Tom Waits). The album is expertly arranged, and Lemper is givig her all with her versatile and powerful voice. It's a pity that some of the songs are not all that interesting. 3.5/5

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Mon Jun 05 2023
4

Operatic wonderment, 4 stars.

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Sun Jun 25 2023
4

love the Divine Comedy so this was a pleasant surprise - another commentator called it "James Bond themes about normal life" which sums it up well. Enjoyed this a lot!

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Sun Jul 02 2023
4

The Divine Comedy are my favourite band but I’d somehow never got around to listening to this. Ute Lemper has a great voice but these do occasionally sound like cabaret covers of stuff Neil Hannon, Scott Walker and Nick Cave do better themselves. It’s not essential by any stretch of the imagination but it’s considerably better and more interesting than a lot of the reviews on here suggest. It’s a 3 but I’m feeling generous so go to 4 as I know I will come back to listen to it again

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Thu Jul 20 2023
4

Nice surprise, really like the songs and the atmosphere, so 4 stars. If her voice was a bit rougher like Lotte Lenya singing Weil/Brecht it would have been 5.

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Sun Sep 17 2023
4

Je ne connaissais absolument pas (mais beaucoup des invités des compositeurs, si par contre). Excellente découverte. Je n'ai pas aimé /Die Dreigroschenoper/ mais tout le reste c'est ma came (notamment /little water song/ et /you were meant for me/). Impressionnante maîtrise vocale, bonnes instrumentations.

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Thu Sep 21 2023
4

Thought I’d hate it but the humour and gothiness pushed me through

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Thu Sep 28 2023
4

Weird, kind of intangible. Really not my vibe, but sort of awesome.

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Fri Oct 06 2023
4

This album is so cool! It's like if Mitski was in a Disney movie. And of course Tom Waits. It feels very dramatic and showey like it's part of a gritty broadway musical, I'm here for it.

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Fri Oct 06 2023
4

What a squad! This is a very cool art music collaboration from artists I'd never have put together. I guess I can forgive Elvis Costello for being a total derp.

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Thu Nov 09 2023
4

Lyrics were intense music was good

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Mon Nov 13 2023
4

4/5. Had no idea who this was but the Broadway background shines through and surprising it translates so well through a studio album. This was really good with dramatic and well-written songs from multiple artists, through Ute's powerful voice with great instrumentation following her lead. Felt like I was listening to a play, missing the talking parts in between the songs.

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Fri Nov 24 2023
4

Damn. What a voice. I listened to a lot of musical theatre stuff as a kid, so this didn't put me off the album. The orchestration was so gorgeous, and melodically, it was interesting. This album isn't just for any occasion, but that's okay. A worthwhile listen for sure!

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Wed Nov 29 2023
4

3.5/5 wowzers those are some lyrics

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Wed Jan 24 2024
4

Every song sounds like a musical. Some are pretty good.

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Fri Mar 26 2021
3

This lacks a bit of life, which keeps it from being as beautiful a set of songs as it hints at. Lemper has a good voice, but the recordings seem a bit by-the-numbers. Ditto with the instrumentals, though they have nicely sharp bits. It's certainly cozy, though, and I can see myself returning if I become fonder of any of the non-Scott Walker writers or listen to more Lemper or Divine Comedy. The closing song is a great Walker suite, but it speaks to his strengths more than it reinforces the rest of the album.

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Wed Sep 23 2020
3

Classy, pretty interesting. Favourite song: The Case Continues

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