Tuesday, 10 April 2012

God Bless Paddy

It is out of date but couldn't resist sharing this interview with Paddy McAloon that he did around the time of the release of Let's Change the World with Music.

It is a great read and can be found on the wonderful Slicing up the Eyeballs blog here

From the latest to the first


  1. Paddy McAloon ranks as one of the great British songwriters of the last 40 years in my book.
    Steve McQueen is a classic album. Jordan is an effort of amazing artistic achievement and Let's Change The World With Music is a hidden jem in a brilliant career.
    It's refreshing to think that Paddy has some more in store for us and that he stands behind his work with no reservations.

  2. It's a great interview; insightful and self deprecating... we expect so much from our heroes; they're invariably heroic because they're self possessed and please themselves; what we want and what we get are miles apart, yet still we're transfixed... poignant video: Paddy with a firm chin and cheek bones singing to his future... Let's hope his health remains steady enough for more; not just revamps but new stuff. Genius.

  3. Let's Change The World With Music is an achievement that is unique in my experience: an album I found so completely loathsome that it instantly rendered the artist's entire back catalogue permanently unlistenable as well AND took the Thomas Dolby catalogue down with it too. Thomas Dolby didn't even have anything to do with that album, but his guilt-by-association is too great. I'm serious, I truly can't imagine I could ever bear to hear anything by Prefab Sprout or Thomas Dolby as long as I live. I think I still have some of those records and your recent posts have reminded me that I really must get around to taking them outside and smashing them up.

  4. I must admit i found it a bit of alet down but blimey Alex thats a tad harsh, with Prefab Sprout and Thomas Dolby gone under the hammer - what are you listening to?

  5. I really can't see what was at all offensive about LCTWWM! Some classic Prefab moments as well some strong experimentation. I enjoy the opening rap patter of Let There Be Music as much as the Shoo Be Doo Swingle Singer feel of Cars and Girls. Ride and Last of the Great Romantics are classic Prefab Sprout and could easily fit on any of their earlier albums.
    I'm not chastising anyone's taste or opinion, I'm just really surprised by the album having such a negative effect on anyone.
    This post has had me listening to the album over and over this past day, reminding me that it was my favorite album of 2009.

  6. I think you have to look at that album in the context of when and why it made. The company execs really shattered Paddy with their rejection of it being too overtly "religious". But I see it as a bit of a carry over from the last section of "Jordan"... which it was!
    I have to admit that parts sound a bit re-fried, but it's actually the sort of "concept" album that I expected Paddy to have in his notorious boxes under the bed.
    And I like it just fine...

    Toronto Tim

  7. I think the problem for me is that it was never going to match up to the weight of expectation. I still like it and wont be smashing it up any time soon but I agree with Tim it does sound how i imagined the box of concept lps under the bed would sound (which does beg the question why wait so long). I think the lack of production makes it sound a tad dated. The other thing for me is that I bought it with a load of other lps and so havent played it enough for it to really stick.

    Having said that I felt the same way about Protest Songs when that first came out, but I love that now

  8. I listened to LCTWWM a lot the last few days. I think that the references to religion are not so straightforward. Paddy chooses faith and a higher power over actual religion. Love is still a savior and protector. I always felt Jordan dealt with themes of redemption and finding one's way - not a million miles from the themes of Music...
    On another point, while much of the album is slotted in an early 90's world I'm glad Paddy and Callum Malcolm chose to not really mess with the direction the demos were traveling. I def agree with Tim's feeling of a carry over from the final section of Jordan. There are some amazing moments ending Jordan and many of Music's tracks could have easily slotted in to Jordan.
    In any case, I love the album and enjoy that we are haveing this conversation about it!

  9. I've got to admit that I wasn't enamored with LCTWWM. As with most CDs my first listening is to put the thing on and not try too hard; just let it wash over me so that I might have an emotional response; rather than a cerebral moment; once I've engaged I look for reasons for the love of it (or not). This album just didn't tickle my instincts... maybe it was the harsh samples. I had same indifference with 'The Gunman...' for the opposite audio response; all of those gloopy radio 2 saxophones... and yet I love 'I Trawl the Megahertz' for it's harsh samples and gloopy sax... go figure; you can't always rationalise love (thank God). I just know what makes me swoon (Swoon/Steve McQueen/Andromeda/Jordan.) There just seems a whiff of indifference and compromise about the whole thing which renders my response one of indifference rather than Alexish rage...

  10. I thikn I got stuck in a bit of what might have been. I think it just lacked some killer choruses that Jordan had and it missed TD's quirkiness in the production.

    I really liked Gunman but Andromeda is a mixed bag . i loved electric guitars and prisoner of the past (the various b sides to these 2 tracks are also brilliant)and it ends with 3 killer tracks but in the middle things just got a bit too whispery and lush. Having said all that it is one of those lps that I liek more having not played it for a while

  11. Related interview/articles...
    (exposes how crushed Paddy was by Sony's rejection of the album. Perhaps to the point where he may have compromised in making a safer, less quirky follow-up to Jordan... Andromeda Heights?)



  12. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the title of your post as I thought something had happened to him. Thank you for the link to that wonderful interview. I loved every word and especially love his attitude about the duet with Barbra S. Bless him indeed.

    I've also really enjoyed reading the discussion here of Let's Change The World With Music. I couldn't find much talk about it when it came out, perhaps because I'm in the US or just not reading the right things but it is great to hear other opinions now. It maybe wasn't a lifechanger for me the way Jordan and Steve McQueen absolutely were but I can't bear to even use the word 'disappointment' about it because it is still so him and there are moments of real beauty on it. He is still my most favorite songwriter and I am so grateful for his music.

    FoRW, I feel the exact opposite in that I loved Andromeda but had trouble with a lot of The Gunman but maybe I should revisit that one again now. Totally agree though about those b-sides, one of the best musical investments I've ever made buying those cd singles at import prices, well worth it :).

  13. Hi Greer

    I may have to eat my words as I replayed Gunmen after this post and there are a few fillers (well as a close to a filler as PMc can get) and that is before i got to farmyard cat!
    I then replayed And and apart from a couple of tracks found absence had made the heart grow fonder!
    As i mentioned the b sides to the singles electric guitars and prisoners were fantastic (I'll try and get round posting them one day) including 3 with a bit of knights theme!

  14. I simply love Andromeda Heights and Gunman!! The Gunman and Other Stories is really a great collection of songs. It's at times filled with the innocence of love but also the world weary and well seasoned words of someone who knows disappointment. Cornfield Ablaze is a ROCKER!

    Andromeda Heights has some of Paddy's most beautiful pop music! The Fifth Horseman is one of my all time favorite Sprout tracks. Anne Marie has those familiar harmonies and carousel like melody that is so Sprout!
    We need more PS, more Paddy McAloon!!


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