Band has big "Jamiroquai but different be-hatted cunt in charge" vibes.
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.
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.
ATTENTION K-MART SHOPPERS: THERE IS A BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL ON PAMPERS IN AISLE 7.
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.
"This is the second Simply Red song on this tape. One's unforgivable. Two's a war crime. Can I fast-forward?"
Simply Shite more like, amirite.
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.
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.
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.
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)."
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.
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.
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 😍
9/10 some really amazing stuff here a bit dorky at times, but for the most part it’s super solid
Que discazo loco, me encantó. De los mejores que escuché.
This was like 12 different genres yet I still loved it. Funky
Warm and enjoyable over big speakers for pretty much anyone who lived and loved through the 80s a wonderful reminder of the joy of Simply Red and his bouncy locks and magical voice... And what a nice way to wake up. Great blue eyed soul (was it always called that?).
Absolute banger of an album. Forget what you think of Mick Hucknall, just listen to it!
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.
Such a beautiful voice. Not my genre.
Lead singer Mick Hucknall’s voice is so damn soulful! HBtY is a freaking masterpiece. The album altogether has very 80s new-wave arrangements, but I enjoyed it. Favorite songs: Heaven, Holding Back the Years, and Red Box.
Þessi plata er algjört comfort zone fyrir mig. Kann hana utanbókar og gríp í við og við. Ljúft popp.
Ég ætla að hækka meðaltalið fyrir þessa plötu. Mér finnst Hucknall æðislegur söngvari, bandið er þétt og flott, sum lögin eru ljómandi góð og níundatugarproductionin (gated reverb, echo) eru innan velsæmismarka. Þessi er fín.
Really dug this
Some bands or singers start with a extremely good album and then become your worst nightmare. Like: UB40s Signing off (also in 1001 albums), and guilty pleasure: I do like 1st Whitney Houston album. Same for Picture Book, goods songs, jazzy sometimes political like Reagan&Thatcher in Money's too Tight. Love this album. Wish they had stopped afterwards.
Very funky, liked it a lot
favs - come to my aid - sad old red - jericho - holding back the years - open up the red box - picture book
Simple Red: mega-hits through covers and had almost forgotten how many excellent original material they have.. On this album: Jericho, Holding Back The Years, Picture Book, Come To My Aid: 4*, all at least 4 star. And the same goes for their cover of Money's Too Tight To Mention. Don't like their Sad Old Red and their Talking Heads cover, but the remaining songs are fine. 4 stars (7/10)
Really enjoyed! I loved the cover most of all, but the originals were great and interesting. Lots of catchy stuff with great production and arrangements. Gonna give this one a 4 because I need to do a relisten soon.
There’s an old joke which I’m willing to bet sarcastic elbows will also quote (and I think he told me it anyway) - what’s the difference between a wildebeest and simply red? A wildebeest has the horns out front and the arsehole in the back. I don’t know anywhere enough about mick hucknall to know if the joke is even fair but I will say there’s a bit of groove on this. It’s that particularly British groove coming out of northern soul - starts with I don’t know, Joe Cockker? Rod Stewart? Continues through Bowie, Queen, the style council, jamiroquai, everything but the girl and no doubt a thousand others I’ve blanked on. But this is part of it and it’s no surprise it sold so well. Well crafted. Well played. Well produced. It’s a 3.5 that I’ll round up to 4.
Very strong overall. The stylish voice, of course, is the strength, and beyond that everything is solid (or solid plus). The opener is compelling and a strong start, and easily the second-best cut on the record, perhaps even tied for first, though "Holding Back the Years" has a timeless quality. "Look At You Now" has an essential '80s feel, thin synths, skittering percussion and high believable energy, but it's a notch below the best of that lamented era. "Heaven" is white soul of a pretty high standard, "Jericho," too, though in a slightly more languid register. "Money Too Tight" is a credible addition to the canon of pop songs about filthy lucre, but it reflects this record's fatal flaw – trying too hard (see also "Sad Old Red," "No Direction" and "Red Box"). Title cut is already slightly overdone, though in an appealingly earnest way. And while there is a pleasing and assured polish to the playing, the jazz chops aren't really all that; indeed, it's easy to impress a certain type of pop fan with references about jazz chops (one might even have been such a fan at one point, though one's outgrown it by spending more time on the thing itself). One might be just intrigued enough to listen to more records, in the many, many SR have seem to made in the years hence, though one suspects MH, for the true distinctiveness voice (and one he didn't misuse or undersell) likely got mostly what he deserved, which was being slightly more than a one-hit wonder, perhaps a victim of his own good taste. Call this a flawed 4.
"Ever had a reaction to anything so visceral that you are immediately opposed to that particular thing and want no part of it in your life whatsoever? That's me with Simply Red. I simply can't do it." - my internal reaction upon receiving this album, before listening to this album and then actually listening to it and being pleasantly surprised by it. I was going to hate this throughout but I couldn't muster it any longer. This is some smooth yet unexpectedly eclectic stuff from Ol' Red, with a Talking Heads cover to boot. Rather picturesque. Favorites: Come to My Aid, Sad Old Red, Look at You Now, Heaven, Jericho, Money's Too Tight (To Mention), Holding Back the Years.
Man, this album and artist came out of nowhere....little soul, little blues, little jazz....and a great voice! Great Album!
A fun album with some good tunes. Underrated band.
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.