Tuesday, August 16

THE DIVINE COMEDY

The Divine Comedy is one of those acts that I wish more people knew about. Today, this "band" is really just a cover for Irish singer/songwriter Neil Hannon. In the beginning (the late '80s), he was part of a larger group that played R.E.M.-styled jangle-pop. But with the subsequent success of Britpop, generally, and Pulp, specifically, the band's sound began to change. Scott Walker suddenly seemed to become Hannon's muse. The music became increasingly baroque; lush; melodramatic. And the lyrics turned smarter; sharper; tongue-in-cheekier.

I've always been a music-first/lyrics-second sort of guy. But Neil Hannon deserves his place alongside Jarvis Cocker, Morrissey, and Neil Tennant in the mordant-wit pantheon of songwriters. And, like those guys, he is quite capable of coupling a cute-yet-cutting couplet with a killer riff or a can't-get-it-out-of-my-head melody.

Today's offerings, then - though open to all - are especially intended for those who can appreciate smart, sophisticated, accessible pop. Now... go to town.

[MP3] [left-click] "Absent Friends" [from the LP Absent Friends, 2004]

[MP3] [left-click] "Gin Soaked Boy" [from the collection A Secret History: Best of the Divine Comedy, 1999]

[MP3] [left-click] "Generation Sex" [from the LP Fin de Siecle, 1998]

[MP3] [left-click] "Sunrise" [from the LP Fin de Siecle, 1998]

[MP3] [left-click] "Everybody Knows (Except You)" [from the LP A Short Album About Love, 1997]

[MP3] [left-click] "Songs of Love" [from the LP Casanova, 1996]

[MP3] [left-click] "Tonight We Fly" [from the LP Promenade, 1994]

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