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

A Northern Soul

The Verve

1995

A Northern Soul

Album Summary

A Northern Soul is the second studio album by English alternative rock band The Verve. The album was released in the United Kingdom on 20 June 1995 on the Hut label and in the United States on 3 July 1995 on Vernon Yard Records. The title is a reference to Northern Soul, a popular soul movement in Britain during the 1970s. A Northern Soul was a moderate success upon release, charting at number 13 in the UK, and has since received critical acclaim, as well as being ranked high in readers polls in popular music publications. This is the final album to feature the band's original line-up until 2008's Forth. In 2013, NME ranked it at number 390 in its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.93

Votes

4167

Genres

  • Rock
  • Indie
  • Shoegaze
  • Britpop
Reviews
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1

Before listening I didn't really know The Verve for anything other than Bitter Sweet Symphony, and after listening I can see why. I'm definitely not a fan, and will not be listening to this album again. Nothing really stands out about this album, it just feels a bit empty.

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2

A bit dull all the songs kind of blended together into a boring miasma

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1

Watching Paint Dry, the soundtrack. I’d almost respect it, if the Verve had intended to make me feel like my brain folds were being smoothed from boredom. I’m still not entirely convinced they didn’t just put a saltine cracker on a record player and let the needle drop.

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1

Not a fan. Can't quite put my finger on it but the singing seems off trying to be melodic(inside a tunnel- some kind of distracting echo) over weird screeching guitars. Like the the band each recorded something on their own and then they mashed together whatever they came up with. No harmony in the music and just seems disconnected to the singing.

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5

Possibly their finest moment.

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4

Awesome neo-psychedelic album, definitely inspired some Radiohead vibes.

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4

Never realized how in-the-same toy box The Verve and Radiohead were at this time

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old favorite

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No notes

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5

Surpreendente. Ouvir mais vezes

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5

I'm mostly only familiar with The Verve because of bittersweet symphony, a song that I really love. I'm sure I've listened to the album that song was on before but I haven't listened to their other music much. It's right up my ally.

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5

The goat.

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5

Ahh here we go ladies. Finally some music with more prowess than my hand. Superb all the way through

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5

It was really good. TIL I like the Verve.

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5

Love it, great music

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5

Excellent stuff

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5

Great album.

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4

Kind of visceral in a way. Honestly wasn't expecting this kind of album. But I mean, look at that album art, that dude is MAD FIERCE.

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4

Gotta say, this was a surprise for me. Everyone and their dad knows "Bittersweet Symphony," but this album seemed to be conscious and deeply rooted alt album that obviously hasn't gotten the attention it deserves. Really enjoyed it.

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4

пойдёт

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4

Spotify version is hella long. Good gloomy music, can feel the influence it had. Songs are differentiated well but still very similar across the album. Rainy day perfect.

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4

Nice to listen to, maybe will return to

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4

I don’t understand why the verve were not more popular in the 90s

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4

I liked the music pretty well, though I found some of the extra sounds on the tracks a little strange.

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4

Solid 90s

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4

Good, not greatest

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4

Dachte erst mein Laptop is im Eimer, aber der Song geht erst nach 20sek los. Ab dan 1a geiler BritPop. Habe außer Bitter Sweet Symphony noch nix von den dudes gehört, daher umso glücklicher, dass das Album dabei war. Habs glaub 3 mal gehört jetzt das Album und es wird nicht langweilig. Brainstorm Interlude nervt a weng aber sonst solid. Weil kein Mega Banger drauf war 4*

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4

Really enjoyed the various styles throughout the album.

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4

Door de nummers die ik al kende (zoals The drugs don’t work), verwachtte ik iets futloos. Gelukkig had ik het mis.

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4

Positief verrast door deze plaat! Een stuk steviger dan het album wat hierna kwam, met al de bekende hits erop.

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4

This bunch of pricks assaulted my nan. Kicked seven shades out of her and left her for dead. Luckily she survived, sought revenge and tracked them all down one by one...and then gave them all hand jobs. Slag.

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4

Great album, would have listened to it before

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4

Good one

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4

The Verve are always great. Really like their sound and mix of styles

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4

I'm listening....

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4

liked this album, loved a few songs, others weren't good

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4

First half good, second half kinda depressing at times

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4

A little disjointed, beat lyrics, neat melodies

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4

looooove apparently shoegaze?

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4

Not as polished as Urban Hymns, but a solid album nonetheless. Not really in the best place while listening, but it seemed to compliment where I was well.

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4

Oh more Bri-ish innit?

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4

well, i am definitely a sucker for dreamy guitars, as i believe i've mentioned in other reviews. this album delivers those in heaps, which i super appreciate. closing track is easily my favorite, though i found i liked a surprising number of others on this album. i of course only knew of them through their massive late-90s hit, which i did actually love, but please don't tell anyone that. i ended up feeling like this album gave me permission to love that track, and probably a lot more by them. i think the real takeaway here is that i'm a fan of northern england in general. that seems to be a running theme.

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4

Ok, this was pretty rocking - did not fit my preconception of what The Verve sounded like. It pairs pretty well with Spiritualized's "Ladies & Gentlemen..." which came up on here recently, for being a bit droney wall-of-sound-style rock. Fave track - "A New Decade". I'm definitely up for more listens to pick out other faves though...

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4

Lower end of a 4. Lacks the bangers of Urban Hymns and all a bit samey

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4

This was pretty good. The Verve seem underrated, usually relegated to their one or two big hits. Solid piece of work.

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4

these people are so talented I’m not crazy about some of these songs but for the most part it’s really cool - 8/10

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4

Solid

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4

It's very good. There's no doubt that Nick McCabe's guitar sounds so good on this.

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4

Only knew Urban Hymns of the Verve but this is perhaps deeper and goes harder on the theme of someone from the underprivileged north taking on the world. 3.9

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4

Don't really know much of The Verve other than Bittersweet Symphony, but I liked this quite a bit. Very psychedelic/Brit-pop sounding. Reminded me a bit of U2, a bit of Oasis, a bit of the Stones, and a few other things mixed in. 4 stars.

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4

I’m a huge fan of urban hymns not sure why Iv never listened to this before, it’s also brilliant history the stand out song, but the rest of the album just not quiet the same level of urban hymns.

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4

4/5. A bit overblown, and stuck in the 90s, but definitely one of the most impressive and gratifying Brit-pop albums

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4

Good album in its day.

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4

I like this album. It definitely feels like it was inspired by and inspired other 90s groups and albums, like U2 and Toad the Wet Sprocket.

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4

I was very pleasantly surprised. This is an album I will listen to again and come back to.

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3

the first songs were great but I fatigued on the sound pretty quick.

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3

Always thought of them as the bittersweet symphony band but clearly there’s more to them than that. Really enjoyed this

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3

Before they found their sound on "Urban Hymns," The Verve was an Oasis clone (maybe after, too, but just not as much). Mostly boring. Best track: This Is Music

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3

3 ⭐️ simply for history and on your own.

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3

I missed the bittersweet symphony

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3

Interesting, nothing special.

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3

It was alright. Some songs were missing from spotify.

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3

A bit slow for me. It is sad, and melancholic. Really need to be in that headspace to appreciate it I think.

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3

No me gusta ser el tibio de las tres estrellas pero tres estrellas.

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3

I’ve only ever listened to “Urban Hymns” so I was a bit surprised by how rockin’ the first couple of tunes were on this. Overall, I quite liked a lot of this album, but boy the vocals and lyrics are really hit or miss for me. At times I like the imperfect nature of what he’s doing and then other times I’m just like, okay he’s not on pitch at all here. Example: loved the guitar sounds on “Drive You Home;” vocals sound like a first draft screenplay sung by a screenwriter. Other than that, I dig this band the most when they avoid the drawn out jams and just stick to the songs. And yet… there’s a reason they weren’t as big as Oasis. Still, I’d listen again.

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3

Bueno sin duda pero nada espectacular.

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3

Definitivamente no es su mejor disco, creo que es buena banda y me late Richard Ashcroft también como solista.

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3

Pleasantly stormy. "Another drink and I won't miss her, another drink and I won't miss her..." 6/10

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3

It was nice to have on while doing things around the house. This album didn’t make me stop and listen.

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3

I liked the psychedelic bits. History the only song I knew

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3

Vervey. Nice enough.

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3

good album but not really 100% up my street. if i listened to it again i reckon i might add a couple to my playlist but im not really sure

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3

Very Verve ! I enjoyed it although I’m probably not getting the best quality sound on my iPad. ***

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3

I wish this album went out with a bang after History, it would be a solid 4 or maybe even a 5 then. As it is the back end of the album is all just a bit of a slog.

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3

I suppose so. Not as popular as Urban Hymns, so I suppose it's cooler, right? It's not better.

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3

Interesting

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3

Not bad, but eclipsed by the band's next release. Since this phenomenon of picking a meh album instead of an artist's piece de resistance seems to be a trend here, I can only conclude this is a deliberate fart-like attempt to make the curator here appear cooler.

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3

Not my kind of music

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3

Just establishing their sonic style, a warm up to their future masterpiece, Urban Hymns.

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3

Solid techno/pop sound. I liked it overall.

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3

Although The Verve's sound is very pleasant in it's dreamlike qualities and soaring melody parts, for me most of the pieces have a tendency to drift together, resulting in not a lot of things sticking out and catching attention. Favorite Song: History

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3

A bit too slow and mellow. Might grow on me though.

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3

Has some OK Computer vibes happening occasionally which I didn't know these guys were capable of. Solid mid 90s pop rock

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3

Good review: A new decade History Song after History The bad song are kind of boring

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3

What you'd expect from The Verve.

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3

This is a solid album. I’d be perfectly happy to have it on from time to time. It’s not an album I would seek to play, but it is thoroughly enjoyable. Brainstorm Interlude has a pleasant chaos to it. Drive You Home and History are solid slow songs, but I did not like them back-to-back. It was too much slow in a row. I enjoyed (Reprise) as the closer.

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3

I rather like this and think it could be something I'd listen to again. The songs are somewhat diverse in their overall sound, yet cohesive enough have a "Verve" sound and make for a strong album. The lyrics are heady w/o being pretentious. I particularly like A Northern Soul.

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3

This album is "louder" and more aggressive than I was anticipating, especially after only knowing "Bittersweet Symphony" and listening to the first part of that album before realizing I was listening to the wrong Verve album. I like this one better than that one, but I don't like "On Your Own." Also, sometimes there's a bit too much screechy reverb, like on "A Northern Soul." The Verve do some sonically interesting, but doesn't always work for me. The repeated "I'm gonna die alone in bed" was a bit much, but later he's "too busy staying alive," "too busy living a lie," and "too busy living my life," so he seems a bit confused here. Apparently their earlier stuff is more psychedelic? But by their next one, with "Bittersweet Symphony," they get pretty poppy and use lots of strings. So what was up with this one? Well, it seems it was written and recorded on ecstacy. Not the drug I would have guessed from the first half, though I read this while listening to "Brainstorm Interlude" and it started to make sense. Still overall, though, I feel like a lot of the album was more aggressive than I would expect from a bunch of dudes on X. The second half of the album really loses steam, and loses my interest. Three stars kinda feels too generous, but a 5 or 6 out of 10 sounds right I guess. Other interesting Verve bits - a reviewer wrote that "Richard Ashcroft has a face that even a mother would say 'you’ve got mostly your father in ya;'” after they split up in 1999, Ashcroft said "You're more likely to get all four Beatles on stage" (they got back together in 2007); and finally, this is not The Verve Pipe. I hope they're not on the list, "Freshmen" is even more annoying and overplayed than "Bittersweet Symphony."

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3

Decent, very atmospheric. Nothing really stood out.

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3

Rating: 6/10 Best songs: On your own, Drive you home, Life’s an ocean

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3

Not bad…kind of what I expected

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3

Dark and psychedelic. Title track is, IMO, the best song on the album. Great closer with Reprise

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3

It mostly sounds like noise. On some of the songs that’s a good thing and it’s used in an interesting way, and sometimes it’s not my fav. Overall good.

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3

Ugh. Do I really have to review this. Richard Linkletter / Richard Marx / Richard whatever his name is ruins songs with his oh- so-dramatic voice. Honestly, it's not that terrible. But it is very much on the tortured artist side. Somehow it works for Tom ... oops, sorry, I meant "Thom" You're trying too hard, def doesn't rise to the level of imaginative, creative and head-bopping. But I can't hate this too much, it's 90s. "You get an 'E' for Effort, T for nice Try"

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3

Good flowing guitar riffs.

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3

Ganska bra men lite tradigt va

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3

Different de ce que je connaissais d’eux. Pas trop mais un bon album pour le genre. 3.5

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3

I'm sure I've heard more than "Bitter Sweet Symphony" (not on this album) from the Verve. All of this music was new for me. "Brainstorm Interlude" got my highest rating, but overall none of the tracks stood out for good or for bad. The album was okay, but it won't take long for me to forget what I heard.

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3

It's OK. Doesn't have the standout songs of Urban Hymns, so feels a bit too much of an uninterrupted Verve drone.

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3

Not sure if this is ground-breaking - would need to get under its skin to be sure.

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3

It's interesting, moody and has a good feel to it. Still, there isn't much that stands out as amazing, and Northern Soul and Brainstorm Interlude lean towards the less enjoyable portion. I listened to it several times hoping it would grow more on me... but it is just "fine".

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3

A good example from the Brit pop era. I do think there are better examples.

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3

3 stars. It’s so close to being great but every single song on here is just too long. They should have cut at least 1 chorus from each song, then this album might make 4 stars

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3

6/10

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3

Not a terrible album though songs go on for awhile and gets a little boring

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3

Fine UK alt-rock.

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3

Solid album by that band where you know one song but that one song isnt on this album.

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3

6/10

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3

Decent rock album that is too long and lacking highlights to be

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3

The verve are far too average to have more than one album on this list. Frankly, this can be set for most artists with more than one album listed.

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3

Mostly a ho-hum but fine album.

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3

This is the band that sings Bittersweet Symphony! I'm expecting some 90s nostalgic vibes. Did not disappoint!

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3

U2 Mixed with End Credits bait.

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3

Not too bad. Not too good. Just.

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3

Progressive britpop? Mr Godlike Genius and pals take 90s UK music to new-ish and quasi-interesting places.

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3

Pretty okay. Not as good as their next album.

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3

Better than urban hymns

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3

Shoegaze-ic Oasis. Love the psychedelic bits in some otherwise generic tracks, and I also enjoyed the surprisingly moving "History".

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3

Really enjoyed when they went into the heavier parts of the album, it almost felt like a mix of U2 and Oasis but more aggressive. If it were a bit more consistent it would be an easy 4.

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3

Sickly leopard Richard Ashcroft is still in his "mad" phase. Mix of plodding indie with shoegaze/MBV guitars. This is probably a seminal album if you come from Wigan and hadn't heard anything else. Best Tracks: This Is Music; On Your Own; History

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3

A typical Verve album with ups and downs, where you start skipping several songs on the album, but really listen to the few marvels on here (like History)

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3

I've never really enjoyed the Verve. His voice annoys me and this album is pretty boring. I'm giving it a 3 but it's just middle of the road. Not memorable at all

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3

A great album save for the fact that it drags in the second half.

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3

Like a soundtrack for One Tree Hill?

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3

I liked this album. I like it more than Urban Hymns. Spacey and atmospheric, I think they pull it off really well. It starts out great, bogs down a bit in the middle but ends with a couple really strong tracks. Urban Hymns always sounded too polished and too "rock star" like. I never warmed to it which is why I never explored any other releases from their catalogue. 3.5 stars

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3

I liked this album. I like it more than Urban Hymns. Spacey and atmospheric, I think they pull it off really well. It starts out great, bogs down a bit in the middle but ends with a couple really strong tracks. Urban Hymns always sounded too polished and too "rock star" like. I never warmed to it which is why I never explored any other releases from their catalogue. 3.5 stars

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3

The definition of 3 star rock

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3

Not sure why this is the album to make this list. It's fine, nothing standout.

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3

Gets kinda noisy in the middle.

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3

legalzinho mas nao é muito o que curto ouvir

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3

not bad

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3

ok, 3/5

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3

Its 90s brit rock. if its for you its for you. It sort of bounces off me. I am not a huge fan of the lead singer's upper register.

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3

Felt like classic 90s.

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3

A serviceable if forgettable mid-90s Britpop/shoegaze album. Nothing wrong with it really. It has a couple of interesting songs and seems to improve on repeated listening. Fave Songs: Drive You Home, History, No Knock on My Door, (Reprise), So It Goes

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3

Couple of good tracks otherwise I wasn’t terribly moved by the album. Very cool feel to the album tho.

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3

Never really liked the verve, still don't. Obvious parallels with other moany overblown music of the same era.

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3

Britpop. Verzerrt. Hängender Gesang

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3

If Pablo Honey era Radiohead was more influenced by Hendrix

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3

Ei ollu ihan koko levyä kuunneltavissa. Kuitenkaan en usko, että puuttuvat pilais kohtalaisen hyvää kokonaisuutta

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3

I don't really find this band that engaging. Pretty standard mopey alternative.

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3

do not see myself listening again

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3

Much more loose and jammy than your average Britpop. Because of that it's also much less hooky. Listening to this was like asking your friend to toss you a candy bar and instead they toss you a bag of homemade energy bites they concocted in their kitchen. Alright I guess.

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2

Has some shoegaze notes but feel like this is more a product of something related to Madchester. A little bit long and pretty hazy. Never really been a big fan of The Verve, this isn't really changing anything. Favorite tracks: "A Northern Soul", "Life's an Ocean"

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2

"Bittersweet Symphony" is a great song, but beyond that I've never truly listened to the Verve. I am very aware that their frontman Richard Ashcroft is as offputting but secretly brilliant as his fellow Brit Pop contemporary, Liam Gallagher, but I have never listened to one of their albums in full, including "Urban Hymn." A Northern Soul feels like a clear line in the sand of what kind of band The Verve were and frankly it's a bit listless. There are many parts of this album that hit a certain appeal to me: fuzzy psychedelic riffs, funk groove bass lines, and Ashcroft's singing and lyrics offer the kind of philosophical crisis I associate with some of my favorite artists. After the first 3 tracks though it becomes painfully obvious that this album is a one note record that might as well be one long form song. That's not a compliment even if I will admit it created the ability for my mind to wander into some ambient like state for a bit. As much as I love my British rock bands this is another case of the Brits making a hyperbolic case for what ultimately doesn't translate to American audiences.

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2

это ок. просто ок. если все предыдущие альбомы имели существенные элементы, из-за которых их НУЖНО слушать, то тут я таковых не увидел. вдобавок, здесь нет ни одной песни, которую я мог бы выделить себе на прослушивание отдельно. как итог, лучше послушать oasis или blur, у них всего больше.

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2

It's fine.

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2

Bittersweet Symphony is all I need. This is way more verve than necessary

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2

I have enjoyed The Verve in the past and like many, I've spent hours listening to the great Bittersweet Symphony. Urban Hymns as a whole has a large presence in my music history. This album did not grab me, and none of the songs really stood out for me. It's interesting to hear a stepping stone to a much greater album - but not something I would return to.

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2

Nada especial ATTE: La neta

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2

Meh

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2

Not really my cup of tea.

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2

This is a no go from me. So 90's and not in a good way.

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2

Manche songs kann man hören, manche nerven mich. Ich bin heute generisch unterwegs. 2

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2

Northern monkey's have northern souls

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2

This was a sensation back in the day, I recall the stir it caused whilst I were nought but a mere schoolboy. Utterly strange, given just how dull it is. Richard Ashcroft must be one of the most boring people in the music biz, and he's up against Moby and half of Blur for that accolade.

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2

Just a bit boring really.

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2

eh

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2

Jaa ne

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2

Meh. Nothing special, some good songs.

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2

Fucking Wigan pie nonces. if it wasn't for 'this is music' then this album is knocking about in the colplay bin of meh.

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2

Overly long, overly shit.

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2

All sounded a bit generic to me.

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2

clangy and messy

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2

Not memorable.

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2

A classic British alternative rock album from the 90's. It suits the themes of alt rock from the 90's perfectly, which ironically also makes the music so forgettable to me. Might as well just listen to any alt rock album from this time period to find the same sounds.

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2

2.5

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2

Richard Ashcroft can't hold a tune

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2

Quite nondescript. Nothing outstanding here at all. Would rather re-listen to Count Basie tbh!

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2

It was alright. Nothing special for me.

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2

Interesting at times but ultimately not really for me

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2

I love love english alt rock, but I don't think I'm a huge fan of this album :/ I'm pretty emo but this is too emo

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2

The Verve will always be low rent Oasis.

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2

2/5 Not really interesting, pretty boring

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2

I’m so done with 90s Brit-pop. They all sound like cheap Oasis knock offs and this was the least inspiring one yet.

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2

So, a few seconds after I listened to the Cardigans, I played this album. The differences were quite apparent: The (Verve) production is muddier; the vocals are hard to make out; the songs are less distinctive. To quote a reviewer, “The songs are long and have little structure, the production is murky and raw and harrowing, the tempo is unchanging to the point of testing endurance. There is no joy or even solace to be found in this record, only unforgiving turmoil.” I would add that “History” sounds like a prequel to "Bitter Sweet Symphony” and the lawsuits that followed. My mark might be a bit more harsh than normal, but I couldn’t score it within a point of The Cardigans.

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2

I can't say they don't know how to play their instruments but I can say I will never listen to this again. I'm not a fan of  dreamy music like this.

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2

I only knew The Verve for Bitter Sweet Symphony, and after listening this album I can see why. This was quite boring.

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2

First listen. Nothing stands out to me on this album. Every song is very forgettable. Maybe it will get better next time I hear it. 2/5 for now.

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2

Si, estuvo bien.

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2

Not quite sure why everyone thinks this has Radiohead vibes. If it does, it's but a poor imitation.

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2

More drones than the Obama administration

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2

Started off promising but went downhill. Brainstorm interlude not good .

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2

Meh. Bleh

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2

A volte il cantante ricorda Bono. Non trovo nulla che mi colpisca particolarmente.

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2

Some of the songs I liked, such as Stormy Clouds, but the generic alternative rock songs I didn't care for.

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2

Meh, 90s manchester sound. Pretty generic. They didnt deserve the stupid lawsuit and Im glad the rollimg stones came to their senses and gave credit and money back to Ashcroft.

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2

No thanks

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2

Meh.

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2

never have gotten why people loved this album. Urban Hymns is the masterpiece, this would have never made me listen to the Verve again.

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2

I in general LOVE 90's music...and have always considered myself a bit of an Anglophile. But this is boring. 1.5/5

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2

Best doctor prescribed cure for insomnia on this list yet. They should put "BETTER THAN AMBIEN" on the cover of this dull ass white people album

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2

2.4 - A muddled and bloated mess. Listening to this album is like watching my 4 year old fingerpaint. He’s eager to experiment with all the colors so he slathers them all on with abandon, smooshes them together such that his canvas ends up looking like a giant smear of diarrhea.

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2

Una altra banda més que sobrevalorada. Cal reconèixer la potent imatge i el carisma de Richard Ashcroft, però la lisèrgia i psicodèlia revisitada pels '90 d'aquest disc és molt lluny de resultar encissadora. L'ambient està ben trobat, però no hi ha cançons. El posterior 'Urban Hymns' almenys tenia 3/4 temes demolidors. Aquest simplement no en té cap

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2

The album was just meh. It did not have The Verve's most well known song. The songs were uninspiring and unmemorable. There is no need to listen.

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2

A deathly dirge and the lovely History. Having done this and Urban Hymns I think I've realised that The Verve's string arranger is the only member with any real talent.

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2

like the sound but nothing stood out on first listen

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2

Huonolla tavalla raskas levy että pisteet taitaa parantua kun oli lyhyt palaveri välissä kesken kuuntelun. Huumeet ei selkeesti toiminu tämän levyn aikana...

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2

Some of these album selections really peg the book’s author as a British fella who came of age in the early 90s.

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