Sound: Otherwise known as the X ray album due to the cover, I've had this for about 9 years, I bought just after it came out. But only recently have I actually listened to it properly. Now it is a firm favourite. The retro feel to half of the songs and the musicianship and production throughout put Supergrass above bands in their genre at the time. For example, Oasis' late 90's material is not a patch on this. Track By Track:
01.'Moving': is a song about the relentlessness and monotony of touring, and does brilliantly to illustrate just that. Musically and lyrically you get the impression of travelling, and not necessarily on a short purposeful journey, more a journey you feel wont end any time soon. I don't mean this song drags on, far from it, just that the picture of spending an age on the road is vivdly painted during the track.
02.'Your Love': is about the love of someone worth wating for, even if at times the love is not always apparent. It's a love song that is in no way cheesy, which is a good achievement. The dynamic between the meandering verse and the pounding chorus serves to bring out a raw passion for the person in the song.
03.'What went wrong (in your head)': as a song asks just that question, the verses interrogate you, the bridge with the 'La la la...' sends your head spinning, as if something is indeed wrong with it.
04.'Beautiful People': seems like a nod to inadequacy, possibly based upon the culture of celebrity and feeling the need to look amazing, and it almost mocks those who 'can't face all those people'. Along with 'Your Love', this track shows great ability to change between soft poppy verses to powerful rocky choruses, like a cleaner, tighter, more british grunge approach to the songs.
05.'Shotover Hill': is, oddly enough, a hill in Oxford, where the band are from, and clearly a spot one or more of the band must have frequented and drawn inspiration from, and very effectively at that.
06.'Eon': is quite a detached sort of song, with an intro part that, also appearing later in the song, sounds like it is building up to a climax it never quite reaches, leaving you wanting more but not getting it. As a result, it is a good song but no more, a filler track.
07.'Mary': along with 'Moving' is a favourite of mine, the first clearly retro song on the album, both in the music and lyrics. The simple yet catchy riffs from the keyboard and bass hold the song together, allowing the guitar and backing vocals to wander off on different tangents to great effect.
08.'Jesus came from outer space': is a solid, fun rock song, that sounds like it came about from a jam, and probably stayed that way. adding anything more to it would ruin it. Simple, and better for it.
09.Fast paced rocker 'Pumping on your stereo': or 'Humping' as it is pronounced on the record, is one of the big hits from the album, a great track to thrash out live. The clapping apparently came about when drummer Danny Goffey wasn't hitting the snare hard enough during recording. Fittingly, at the end of the song, Goffey is heard to utter ''Can we go home now?''!
10.'Born Again': is quite a weak song in comparison to nearly all of the rest, not a bad song by any means, but there isn't a great deal else that can be said...
11.'Far Away' is another retro offering that would not look out of place on a Kinks or David Bowie setlist. A great psychadellic track, the song that should have ended the album. But that honour goes to track 12,
12.'Mama & Papa', which is a shame as it is the poorest song on the album, a little retro sounding maybe, but in general there is nothing to it. This song should have been left off the album, although by the time you get to it, you'll have 'Moving' and 'Mary' running round your head so the last track will just fly by. // 9
Lyrics: Lyrically, the album doesn't try to confuse or mystify you, and there are some really well written songs in terms of describing feelings, areas and society. Stand out tracks in this vein are 'Shotover Hill', 'Mary', 'Beautiful People' and the brilliant 'Moving'. // 9
Overall Impression: 'Born Again' and 'Mama and Papa' are the only 2 weak songs on this album, and as a result they keep it from being the sort of album most bands couldn't even dream of writing. Instead it is merely an album any band would be proud of.
If I lost it, i would definitely go down to the record store and re-purchase it. It would be part of a shopping list, for believe it or not, this is the only Supergrass album I own, and after really listening to it, I need to add to and ultimately complete my collection, soon. // 9