posted on September 05, 2009 19:00
A review of the album 'Let's Change the World with Music' by Prefab Sprout
Review Snapshot: Just like Brian Wilson's long-lost 'Smile' album, 'Let's Change the World with Music' has been in the vaults for 17 years, so has it been worth the wait, or will it feel dated to everyone, including Paddy McAloon?
The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10
So much over the years has been written and said about this long-lost album, the fact that it was recorded and rejected by the record company back in 1993, and chronologically belongs between 'Jordan The Comeback' and 'Andromeda Heights'. It may be nearly 20 years old but music does not always grow old.
On the opening number 'Let There Be Music' it begins with a robotic voice quoting words from the first book of genesis, “in the beginning was a mighty bang” but within 15 seconds you hear the beautiful tones of Paddy's vocals that we all fell in love with all those years ago and immediately you're hooked. A radio friendly song that shows its age, courtesy of a typically 90s backing track.
'Ride' (previously recorded by Australian singer Wendy Matthews) is a foot-tapper and continues the religious theme (“...walking in the footsteps of our lord...”). But before you begin to think this is a concept album, Paddy sings “I've no time for religion” at the beginning of the beautiful piano ballad 'God Watch Over You', a song some may be familiar with from the 90s when Frances Ruffelle (ex-UK Eurovision entrant) covered it admirably.
'I Love Music' tells us what we've known about Paddy all along. “Love is the reason I'm playing this game” and he goes on to tell us his heroes are Irving Berlin while also name-checking Chic's Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards. There's a full sounding orchestra on this one, kind of Sinatra swing.
'Earth - The Story So Far' is one of the masterpieces on the album, while 'Last of the Great Romantics' will put you to sleep for all the right reasons. A lullaby sang so sweetly, with, again some fantastic piano throughout, while Paddy sings “come on Gatsby stand aside”. These two are already Sprouts classics.
It's ballads all the way including 'Music is a Princess' and the tale of Romeo and Juliet in 'Angel of Love', but 'Meet the New Mozart' is excellent also. “I'll form a band and play some dates” he sings, but sadly for us, those words were written long ago, but there is optimism when he continues “all I write may not last, it may be manure / but I'll endure, not burn out fast”.
On the sleeve notes Paddy writes a lovely piece about his fascination with Brian Wilson's long-lost 'Smile' album and apologises for there being no 'Good Vibrations' on this record. He goes on to admit that “one day in May '93 we made a poor move”, but heartwarmingly he dedicates this album to the ex-Sprouts members and producer Thomas Dolby.
Whether the album is a concept one of Music, Love or Religion, it still sounds fantastic. Long before the release of this album Paddy McAloon had, for many of us, already changed the world with music. This album should bring many more to the same realisation.
Meet The New Mozart? We already have.