Picture Book is the debut album by British pop and soul group Simply Red, released in October 1985. It contains the U.S. #1 single "Holding Back the Years", the band's most successful single, and a cover of The Valentine Brothers' "Money's Too Tight (to Mention)". Three other singles were released from the album: "Come to My Aid", "Jericho", and "Open Up the Red Box". The album helped Simply Red earn a 1987 Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. "Holding Back the Years" was also nominated for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals. A special version of the album was released on the then new Compact Disc + Graphics, or CD+G format which when played on a suitable CD player, 4 bit raster graphic images, text and animations would also be displayed on a connected TV screen.Wikipedia
Band has big "Jamiroquai but different be-hatted cunt in charge" vibes.
The funny thing is listening to this album, it was even worse than I expected it to be. There have been some dubious selections so far which make me question the validity of the 1001 albums but this takes the biscuit. I refuse to believe that this is one of the 1001 greatest albums ever made. If you Google 'Best albums of 1985' you get lists with some great albums, none of which are by Simply Red.
"This is the second Simply Red song on this tape. One's unforgivable. Two's a war crime. Can I fast-forward?"
ATTENTION K-MART SHOPPERS: THERE IS A BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL ON PAMPERS IN AISLE 7.
definitely smooth and not in a lacklustre way. It feels like a lot of love went into this album. Feels like sitting at a bar with a drink and a stranger, just to swap stories and part ways.
I like the purple skin on the album cover. Billy Idol sprang to mind, both of there styles are very soulful. I especially like the intricate percussion parts.
I know I will be alone on this one but I can appreciate this sort of 80s sophistipop. The talking heads cover was a bit of a surprise and I didn't love it but I generally enjoy the confluence of synths and soul from this era. 3.5 up to 4.
The band finds a steady R&B groove reminiscent of '60s Stax house band the MG's, and, as with the MG's, it's all in the service of a big-voiced soul singer, in this case a British redhead. Features the U.S. number-one "Holding Back the Years" and the U.K. Top 20 "Money's Too Tight (To Mention)."
Mick Hucknall has an amazing voice. Their best songs sounds like he's vocally grappling with the music; all snarls, growls and whips. This album contains a lot of Simply Red's best songs, like U2 I'm not sure why this band is seen as 'uncool' but I guess that's someone else's loss.
Enjoyed this, tight 80s smooth soulful pop. Reminded me of Phil Collins/Genesis at times and Michael Jackson at others. Fav track: Jericho
I actually have this album on vinyl so I’ve listened to it before. Although the singer has a pretty unique/cool voice and a few of the songs are really catchy and funky, I just didn’t really enjoy this album overall. Maybe with repeat listens more songs would grab me. Reminds me a lot of Hall & Oates, but not as fun and awesome. Stand out tracks: come to my aid, look at you now and moneys too tight.
A version lesser than "Go Back Jack Do it Again" of Steely Dan. Ok
We listened to this over breakfast at which point my co-judge offered her opinion that it was "stinky", and on second listen (with headphones) I agree that a few songs, especially the debut smash hit, "Holding Back the Years" are over-the-top stinky. But I liked the title track and though I usually hate covers, I thought their version of Heaven was transformative. He has a great voice and I like the fact that the theme of not having any money shows up in a number of songs. So 5/10 from me with rounding down due to the radio-ready production.
I think all this soft 80s adult-oriented pop is payback for me having missed the two Black Sabbath records. That's on me, guys. You make a deal with the devil and the devil wants his due. I didn't mind "Heaven," "Holding Back the Years," or "Picture Book." But I'm going to have that lower octave singing of the line "Open Up the Red Box" stuck in my head the rest of my life and I am not sure I deserved that one.
when the reds go marching, on on on! he's like the much better prototype of the used teabag that is ed sheeran. hideous ginger creature, the pastiest of things with suspisious eyes using predominantly black music styles to sing music that gets the women going. the prototype completed women though didn't he. can't see ed sheeran ever conquering slick mick in the all time tables. micks got a pretty good voice if you didn't know what he looked like, but there's just something so jarring about MOR soul being belted out by someone who looks like an eco warrior that's been trapped in a tunnel for the last 5 months surviving off stale golden wonder crisps and drinking his own piss.
Wow… this is dull. Cheesy organs, unnecessary saxophones, and an allegedly soulful singer. When you think you’re nostalgic for the 80s, just put this on and be cured.
Simply Shite more like, amirite.
Fabulous take from the 80s. Can’t believe I’d never listened to this before
Got through the first half, realized this album is a masterpiece in my eyes
Classic 80s music. Memories of college and dance clubs 🥰
Classic. Virtually every song is excellent.
Amazing album. So fun to listen to and definitely will be revisiting again.
Fav songs: - Come to My Aid - Money's Too Tight (To Mention) - No Direction - Picture Book
This album was shockingly awesome
There's 2 or 3 pretty good songs dotted amongst a load of absolute drivel. I preferred The Frantic Elevators, but who doesn't? Mick Hucknall though innit, so he deserves 10 stars, never mind 5.
Everyone now and then I come across an album that has it, and this has got it. Not much more to be said aside from the fact that I loved the cover of Heaven especially the big sax. Jericho has got some serious attitude to it. A very good obviously 80s album that never gets "too" 80s (thanks to a very heavy soul or something influence). I also love that in this case I am absolutely zero influenced by prevailing opinion cause I've never even heard of him. I actively avoid preconceptions as a hard rule for all these albums but in reality they sneak in every now and then - here is a pure unadulterated love of a record.
This is great. 1985 but does not seem 45+ years old. A really good blend of pop, funk, soul, r&b. For me, evokes the feeling of having been emotional over something for a long time, feeling tired of it, and turning inward and a bit cold with a new veiled perspective of the world.
Fun, electronic, neon-feeling album, that gets you nodding your head and tapping your feet.
I love it so very much, I'm so glad it was recommended 😍
Was actually not bad. Good discovery!
Finally a really good 80's album. 4.2 I could listen to this front to back and be content.
Never heard of this group, but this was a really nice album. At times it reminded me of a version of Peter Cetera with an extra helping of soul. What genre is this, exactly? It's somewhere between pop, R&B, and soul, and I like the exploration of that blended space. The kind of thing that could be called easy listening. Favorite tracks: Holding Back the Years, Jericho, Open Up the Red Box, Come to My Aid. Album art: Really like this one, a cool painting both in aesthetic and temperature. Never seen it before, but it leaves an impression (see what I did there?). 4/5
Wow! A lot of fun. I'll admit that I was sick of another "Debut album by British pop & ___ band". This list is lousy with debut albums by British pop and [something]" artists. Great beats. Real 80s. Sound. Michael Jackson-esque vocals. Really surprised to hear that these dudes hail from Manchester. I found the Heaven cover to be a bit lame, but mostly because I think Talking Heads are untouchable. Money is my favorite track.
Good music, great memories
Beautiful brilliant neosoul album from the mid80s new wave Manchester scene no more no less
What a voice! Simply Red's best album, by far. It aged, yes, but not too badly.
not what i expected. very soulful.
Big fan …. Liked these tunes
This was way better than I expected. I knew the singles but the album was punchy with a very strong groove capped by a fine ,fine singer.
Another one that works much better for me without the visual. Anyone who reads this: you must now sing the lyrics to Money’s too tight to mention to the tune of Let’s get ready to rumble by PJ and Duncan. Ta
While I didn't recognize the name, I certainly remembered the single "Holding Back the Years". Great vocals and good groove to the whole album. I probably won't go back and listen to it again, but it was enjoyable. Solid 4.
Ik ben niet zo hele bekend met het repertoire van Simply Red, anders dan de bekende hits. Dit album begint meteen herkenbaar en gaat daarna in een zeer lekkere jazzy vibe verder. ****
Sad old red was a good song!
Surprisingly funky. Main gripes are the vocals are slightly annoying and the lyrics have nothing. 8/10
7/10. Maybe an 8 out of 10? Solidly enjoyable throughout, nothing grabbed my attention
The debut album from Simply Red - classic stuff... ...although perhaps the overall album isn't as good as the (over-played at the time) Heaven and Money's Too Tight (To Mention)...?!
Never heard of them. This was very cool, especially the first song
The Talking Heads cover (Heaven) just doesn't approach David Byrne's tongue-in-cheek delivery, and frankly doesn't work for me, but overall it's a nice album. Anyone not moved by Holding Back the Years simply has no soul, in my opinion.
Simply Red (and Mick Hucknall) have long been the butt of jokes and the sneers of critics on these shores, and as such I was primed to join in with the ludification. But...this is really good. Hucknall is a good singer, the album is full of grooves, and in 'Holding Back the Years' they have a ballad for the ages. I really dig the light funk groove that pervades - 'Come to My Aid', 'Jericho', 'Money's Too Tight' all sparkle. 'Sad Old Red' is a very decent cabaret jazz number. One that I'll stick on the stereo again in the near future.
Rating: 7/10 Best songs: Long promised road, Money’s too tight
I really enjoyed this album I thought it was very groovy and fun and overall enjoyable!
I had not listened to this group before. The work has that classic British one-two hop-groove that can be quite funky at times. Lyrics surprisingly heartfelt and relatable - very authentically delivered.
I vibe with all the style changes
Debut album for Simply Red. Much soul through an 80s lens. Good stuff, but too few real standouts. 3.5/5
Has a Talking Heads cover
I got into Simply Red with their Stars album in 1991. I loved that album, and later got into their Greatest Hits. So I knew and liked a few of the hits off this album. I'm glad to have had this come up as there are a lot of great new songs from Simply Red that already favorites!
A hometown friend gave this to me, kind of out of the blue, right before I left for college. I would never have bought it for myself but I listened to it sometimes and enjoyed it. Still, I was surprised to see it on this list. I don't know why! It's really good. There are bits that certainly smack of the 80s but mostly I think it's aged pretty well and it's more suited to me in late middle-age than it was in my (rockin') teens. Very nice!
actually really nice listen.
This is 80s Simply Red which is awesome because I only found them in the 90s. It’s got “moneys too tight to mention” which is such a jam and blues tracks too. It’s nice to see how the band developed; I had to listen to the stars album straight after
Woohoo my 500th album! I was considering talking about my favorite of my 5 stars but I don’t feel like it right now and I think relistening to all of those after the 1001st album would be more fun. I can say that dummy and kimono my house have stuck with me the most so far, though. As for this album, I was expecting it to be like tainted love where holding back the years was the only good song but I was wrong. This album was a good British pop soul thing that slightly reminded me of prefab sprout and the top song wasn’t even my favorite. Jericho and sad old red were probs my favorites
Ooh I've never heard of this group before but I'm loving it. The lead singer (Mick Hucknall) has an incredible voice. I was definitely surprised when I googled him and saw what he looked like haha - not what I expected. “Come to My Aid” and “Look at You Now” are jams! The album has some good cheesy 80’s pop, some jazzy songs and some Michael Jackson-style funk. Also a smooth cover of Talking Heads’ “Heaven.” “Jericho” was a highlight too.
Never heard of this group or this album before. A little bit dated at times, but that doesn't really bother me at all in this case, it's got just the right amount of 80s synth funk going on that it's got good groove without being sickeningly cheesy (save for the more ballad-ish songs, which just don't really work for me). Fucking solid musicianship all around.
Love. Gotta find out who this guy is.
Heel lekker, Simply Red staat altijd hoog in mijn lijst!
Lekker groovy, baslijntjes om U tegen te zeggen én kende de band nog niet. Chille verrassing. Minder mooi was de verrassing toen ik googelde, het hoofd van frontzanger Mick Hucknall zag en me een ongeluk schrok.
The opening of the album is heralded by an extremely dated synth line which immediately suggests the worst, but the rest of the songs fail to follow through with that promise. The Birks' Works quote is a particular high point, and while the title track is a rather indulgent note to end on, the musicianship is high-quality all the way through.
This was okay to listen to. Only a couple of songs were standouts.
Quite a nice album, not sure if it's for me but I have a feeling I will give it another go
cuando aún no usaba la voz tan chillona, buen soul y blues para ser blancos
Not bad for background. Somewhat boring though
A este disco también le tuve que dar dos pasadas. Casi todo el disco tiene como una onda melancólica, no tanto por el ritmo, sino por los acordes/escala que utilizan. En mi mente, este disco suena como un Maroon 5 ochentero.
First song was 80s cheese. Then 2nd is sorta Soul and live? What the hell is Jericho's lyrics? Personal enjoyment would be a like a 2. But it's to be objective I guess a 3. He's not a bad singer and nothing is bad, but absolutely not my music.
Surprisingly good. I'm definitely now of the right age to really appreciate this record. Younger me would have hated this.
How is this essential? This is easily the most dated album I’ve gotten so far.
Had a hard time making sense of this one, especially after the first track was super 80's synthy and then the second track was jazz/big band. Overall I didn't like the album that much but it did make me curious about them. Loved their Talking Heads "Heaven" cover, it made me appreciate the lyrics in a way that I hadn't in the TH version.
80’s stuff. Kinda boring
Decent quality guilty pleasure. But if i think of him, i need to listen to something else.
This was alright, easy listening
Pop. Soul. Agradable.
It's one of my mom's favorite bands. I don't think extended versions should be evaluated the same way. Maybe I would prefer to listen to the original album.
This felt like something I would have heard when I was younger, a sort of poppy soft rock. Kind of felt like Peter Gabriel at moments but also like other 80's pop/rock. I really enjoyed the opening song and it immediately was stuck in my head. Some of the others were skips but overall I enjoyed this one. Creepy album cover.
“Picture Book” by Simply Red (1985) One of the benefits of doing daily reviews of music selected randomly by someone else is that every once in a while, you across music that is good, but that somehow you missed over the years. This is one of those good albums. Good grooves, tight but colorful rhythms, thoughtful lyrics. Lead vocal is good, marred only by airy lows and tinny highs. Arrangements are elaborate enough to sustain interest, featuring well executed keyboards and trumpet. If I had heard this in 1985, I’d like to think I would have been a fan of Simply Red. That's all I have today It's all I have to say 3/5
Holding Back the Years was a beautiful serenade. Kept thinking I was listening to Carly Simon or Annie Lennex. Had some good song… If you don’t Know Me By Now….then listen to their best
If feel like the artist doesn't know what genre to play so he plays them all.
Enjoyable, but wasn't in the mood.
not to bad.
Great voice but only a couple of songs really caught my attention, predictably "Holding Back the Years" and "Money's too tight (to mention)