Badly Drawn Boy
Born In The U.K.
I start by pointing out that my only encounter with BDB before this was a copy of Have You Fed The Fish? one of my buddies gave me and randomly seeing a really rad video on MTV2 a few years ago of BDB, whose real name is Damon Gough, carrying people piggyback around NYC. Needless to say, I can't really touch on album progression with this review because I don't have much basis for comparison. I do have to say that upon repeated listens of this album in a short timespan that I will be digging into his back catalogue.
This album not only is good musically but also has some of the better artwork I've seen on an album this year. I feel artwork is important because it enhances the overall creativity of the artist and shows that the artist cares about the overall (my apologies for the redundant use of this word) product he puts out there. The artwork on this album, much like the music, has an optimistic feel to it.
The overall theme of the album is about looking for the good in the bad and not regretting the things of the past. Granted a lot of times I can enjoy an album that is good musically and not lyrically more than I can enjoy an album that is good lyrically and not musically. Does anyone actually know even a handful of lyrics to any Led Zeppelin song? Haven't we listened to them a million times though? BDB is one of the few artists that is really able to grab me both musically and lyrically which is actually sometimes harder to get into because it requires more focus and time listening to it. On Born In The U.K. Damon Gough draws from a number of different influences and uses a spectrum of different instruments that are mostly played by him. His songs are very orchestral and balladous yet not overdone. Artists that are multi-talented have a tendency to get too big for themselves and completely overdo it (i.e. - Sufjan Stevens & Muse) but BDB has a great formula and does everything just right.
The songs themselves on this album flow together quite well. There is definitely an element of early disco and funk mixed in but it is just there to enhance the songs. Everything is built around Damon's voice, which is amazingly lush and mature sounding, and a piano. Damon is by no means a piano rocker though as the songs are much more full than you're average piano rock.
Damon begins the album which spoken word interlude that challenges the listener to dig deeper and look for the positive in life and be thankful for what you have and be happy for the life you've been given. He's very open, introspective, and personal and really lets you know where he's coming and why he feels the way he does. His metaphors aren't overly obvious but not incomprehensible. He's charming and sincere but not whiny and sappy. Every facet of this album had just the right amount of time put into, it's not lacking in anything or overdone. It feels like a soundtrack to a 70's musical but also fits quite well into the changing times of today where there is so much cynicism and pessimism. So sit back, relax, and be thankful for the good things in life like the new album by Badly Drawn Boy.
Key Tracks: Nothing's Gonna Change Your Mind, Promises, Welcome To The Overground, Walk You Home Tonight
Monday, November 06, 2006
Badly Drawn Boy