Tag Archives: Manchester

25 Albums – The Beloved – Happiness

Part of the 25 Albums project.

Straight away we come to an album which can’t really be seen as a fantastic all time critics choice classic. However, it was very successful at the time, and I played it to death. Yes, I had slightly longer hair. Yes, it was floppy and fringed. Shut up. Shut up.

It was 1990, and I was just finishing my A-Levels, not doing very well, and using the 10 points awarded for an A in General Studies to scrape into Manchester Polytechnic. History tells us that I was utterly unprepared. Still, the soundtrack was good. I copied this album tape-to-tape from a housemate, and from there it went on heavy rotation. I bought the CD just a couple of years ago after dumping all my tapes.

Around this time, many bands were getting themselves all mixed up in the “indie dance” maelstrom. This was one of those albums which represented the “dance” end of the indie dance spectrum. They had started out as jangly popsters, but presumably dropped some E’s and bought a drum machine. Let’s look at the tracklisting, shall we?

Hello

Fantastic start to an album. Orchestra tuning up, then the tune and drums, and then the list of interesting stuff you can’t resist trying to memorise and research. Jeffrey Archer? Really? Just because he’s a clever rhyme, I suspect. Straight away I found I could sing along, a common thread with this list of albums. For other songs listing cool stuff, see also REM (not in this list) and Pop Will Eat Itself (later in this list).

Your Love Takes Me Higher

Great tune. I think I actually managed to “perform” this in a kitchen in Leamington Spa, with Paul and his machines. Was it that? Anyway, a bit of a dancefloor stormer with some wah-wah guitar and acid squelches, and was that an orchestra hit? And yes, rhyming “higher” with “desire”. Q magazine would not approve. But then, Q magazine can fuck off. Rockist dickheads.

Time After Time

I think this is the best written song on the album. Girl trouble is the subject, of course, and of course, she sounds like trouble. I was always struck by the lyric,

And if I change to be the way you say you want me
I’ll only be the way I’ve always wanted to

Am I right, guys?

Don’t You Worry

I think I used to fast-forward past this one. Not particularly inspiring.

Scarlet Beautiful

Another danceable tune, with a simple little story about a femme fatale. Great fadeout, looping phrases, synth stabs (again), all sliding to a halt in time for…

The Sun Rising

This was the standout track for many people, mainly serious clubbers looking for a nice soft landing. The famous sample from O Euchari by Emily Van Evera (as also used by Orbital on the bit-too-long Belfast) gave it an ethereal arch over the deep and satisfying dum-dum-dum bassline and the skittering drums. Perfect, I guess, for when you’re in a field in Hampshire at 5.30am. Alright.

I Love You More

Pretty basic little happy love song, dreadful synth horn line in the middle 8, and there you are.

Wake Up Soon

A call to arms? Actually more like conflicting advice about, “[not] telling me that everything must have a reason”, followed by exhortations to, “find something to believe in”. Still, good track.

Up, Up and Away

No beautiful balloons here. The Beloved went on to mine this seam of “rising” imagery for quite some time, with some success. I like this one. Fun, singable lyrics, good groove, nice synth stabs. It almost feels like the end of the album, with the long fade, tune and beats resolving slowly. Like I said, this is an important album, not in the Pitchfork sense, but for me because of where I was and the memories, good and bad, that it inspires. I guess that will be be the case for most of this list, as I slowly crawl my way through it. With any luck my memories will hold out that long.

Found

Ah now, this song. This was a very dreamy track that found it’s way onto a compilation tape I made around that time called “Nice”, which also featured various lovey-dovey songs and tunes. I was a late bloomer in terms of teh ladeez, but boy, did I ever want a girlfriend. I felt like Bernard Black:

“I’ve got to get a girlfriend, just for the summer, until this wears off. She’ll be a summery girl. She’ll have hair. She’ll have summery friends who know how to be outside. She’ll play tennis and wear dresses and have bare feet, and in the autumn, I’ll ditch her, because she’s my summer girl!”

But it was not to be. Not for a long time.