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Everything But The Girl – Idlewild (1988)

January 31, 2017

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Everything ‘Bout the Logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

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[Album 509/1001]

Idlewild: is it an oxymoron?

To me, idle would mean being completely stationary, not going anywhere, and wild would mean anything/everything but.

Back in 1995, Everything But The Girl (EBTG)’s song Missing used to drive 13-year-old me wild, the song just keeps looping, it isn’t going anywhere, yet it’s inescapable!

Given that teenage frustration, the following statement would definitely seem oxymoronic to 13-year-old me: Idlewild is an awesome EBTG album.

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I’m not sure if their post-Idlewild output was/is consistently great, so it’s possible EBTG is one of those groups people talk about when they say, “Oh, their older stuff was better.”

But as long as that older stuff literally sounds like These Early Days of the band, I’m in.

There’s plenty to like among the rest of the tunes, including several standout lines like Shadow of a Harvest Moon‘s, “I write these words to make them true.”ebtg_-_iw_jpeg

But it’s the one particular track, These Early Days, that really resonates.

It shares a lot of the elements that made Aimee Mann’s Fifty Years After the Fair so memorable for me: lovely melody, with some sadness looking back at a time when there was more optimism about the days ahead.

This one also earns perhaps the highest form of praise I can give: These Early Days reminds me of The Smiths.

While listening, I kept thinking, you know what, these guys would probably do a good Smiths cover. Sure enough, as confirmed by a YouTube search, they do a gorgeous version of Back to the Old House.

But EBTG also write some pretty fine songs of their own, especially the ones penned by lead singer Tracey Thorn.

And I don’t think it took me writing these words to make that true.

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Verbalize the Positive

I appreciate Slicethelife‘s ongoing countdown, Ranking the US Presidents from Worst to First. Particularly enjoyed being reminded of The Simpsons quote regarding “History’s greatest monster,” Jimmy Carter!

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From → 1980s

20 Comments
  1. Strangely enough, I really love a few of their tracks, but don’t think I’ve ever heard one of their albums.

  2. ‘the highest form of praise I can give’ – you kiss your mother with that mouth?! Man!

    • haha, Joe eventually you’ll get over that pesky Morrissey anaphylaxis!

      • Heaven knows I’m miserable now!

      • *smiling ear to ear*
        A song title from ‘that group which must not be named’ as a comment from 1537 – Words I thought I’d never hear from this charming man!

  3. Glad you liked Idlewild, the album title certainly does make you think! I remember enjoying Tracey Thorn’s 2010 solo Love and Its Opposite. For a while now I’ve been meaning to dig into her Everything But The Girl material. Maybe your post is the push I needed.

    • And I hadn’t realized she’s done some solo work too – thanks Chris for the suggestion to check it out too!

  4. Oh this is so great. I want to stay in this musical cocoon for a while.

  5. Once again …great Music Lesson Teach!

    • Cheers Deke – I appreciate that you still tune in even when the lessons drift well away from the rawk!

      • It’s cool to read blogs on all kinds of music!

  6. I’m looking forward to this one. I remember buying “Eden” back in the day and there were some good songs mixed with melancholic filler. I like Tracey Thorn’s voice though.

  7. Ooof, if it reminds of Smiths, I’m out. Fair play and all that, but you go right ahead!

    Also, wasn’t there a UK band in the 90s called Idlewild?

    • Possibly – perhaps they too would remind me of the smiths! 🙂

      • There was!

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idlewild_(band)

        I doubt they’d remind you of the Smiths, though:

        “Initially, Idlewild’s sound was faster and more dissonant than many of their 1990s indie rock contemporaries. However, it developed over time from an edgy and angular sound (as heard in their early material—once described by the NME as “the sound of a flight of stairs falling down a flight of stairs”) to a sweeping, melodic rock sound as displayed on The Remote Part and Warnings/Promises. While Idlewild’s sound cannot be easily placed into a specific genre, they have clearly been influenced by the likes of: Gang of Four, Pavement, R.E.M., Blur and Fugazi.”

      • Well if they’ve been clearly influenced by Stephen Malkmus & friends, that sounds good to me too!

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