England My England / Lucky Day

Discussion in 'Talk About Alan's Albums' started by hollyh, Nov 28, 2009.

  1. hollyh

    hollyh Founder Member

    I just thought we should start a thread for each of Alan's major solo albums, where we can all post our thoughts about the album. Anyone want to start? [hr]
    TRACKLIST FOR ENGLAND MY ENGLAND (UK):
    England My England
    This Ain't Your Lucky Day
    Mama Don't Go Home
    Groovy Times
    Baby Of Mine
    I Love You Too
    Those Tender Lips
    Citizens Of The World Unite
    Help From You
    Pity The Poor Boy

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    TRACKLIST FOR LUCKY DAY (US):
    This Is Your Lucky Day (The Girl Won't Get Under)
    Groovy Times
    Baby Of Mine
    Those Tender Lips
    Mama Don't Go Home
    I Love You Too
    Citizens Of The World Unite
    Help From You
    Pity The Poor Boy
    England My England

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  2. Daria

    Daria New Member

    The only song I don't like is "England My England". It's not because I'm not English :D

    A bit of an excursus. In Russia we have a very specific music style. It is called chanson. Please don't think it is the same as those wonderful French songs. It is called the same, but much worse. It's criminals' music. For those from prison or whatever. In Russia you can hear it just EVERYWHERE. I don't consider it to be music at all. But it's just my opinion.

    And that brings me to the beginning of "England My England". The very start of it sounds a lot like that. Though the chorus is really nice, I can't help but turning that song off.

    Don't be offended please. It's just a cultural difference I believe.
     
  3. hollyh

    hollyh Founder Member

    It's funny that he would write a song about England with such an un-English arrangement -- to me it has always sounded French (maybe it's the accordion). Anyway, I think it's interesting that the US version of this album puts that song at the end, as if they didn't trust it as a lead-off track. I think it's a clever satire, as far as the lyrics go, but maybe they thought an American audience wouldn't be as interested in a critique of British society.

    The rest of the album seems like a bit of a hodge-podge to me. Look at how many musical styles he goes through -- disco (This Ain't Your Lucky Day), steel band (Mama Don't Go Home), doo-wop (Those Tender Lips) -- and several songs sound over-produced, with too many synths and background oohs (Groovy Times, Love You Too, Help From You, even Baby Of Mine). Mind you, in 1978 most mainstream recording artists were enamored of the production studio and layering way too many extra sounds on their tracks. (That's what punk music was reacting against.) If Alan re-recorded some of these tracks today, I bet he would strip down the arrangements, cut out all the extra repeats of the choruses, and reveal that these are much better songs than they seem now. I think everybody's ears heard things differently back in 1978 -- when I first heard this album I thought it sounded fine too!

    However, these songs don't mean as much to me as some of Alan's songs, and I'm trying to figure out why. Maybe it's because many of them don't seem to be saying much. Alan does best when he's being autobiographical or satiric, I think, and there's not as much of that on this album. That's why I enjoy England My England and Citizens of the World, because they are commenting on society; that's why I love Baby of Mine and Pity the Poor Boy, because they seem very personal and drawn from his own life. When he's just trying to write a generic pop song, thinking more about melody and instrumentation, the song itself falls short.

    It's funny that Groovy Times seems to be the cut that's most often played these days. Was that a hit single for Alan? It seems like the most dated cut from this album.
     

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