No matter what Badly Drawn Boy (born Damon Gough) does from here forward, he’ll always be a sentimental favorite for me; Annie and I chose his song The Shining for her walk down the aisle at our wedding more than two years ago.
But I’ll be interested to see how his new album is received. He doesn’t strike me as the type of artist that will stir much buzz among the blogs.
Talented as I think he is, Badly Drawn Boy does just as much to befuddle me. We saw him in Tempe, Ariz., in support of his last album, One Plus One Is One, a couple years back. For some reason, BDB insisted – somewhat stubbornly – on playing only new songs for the first half of the show, as if he had some point to prove. I’m sure there was some deep, artistic interpretation to what he was doing, but it didn’t seem like the best way to ingratiate himself to the crowd.
Musically, One Plus One Is One threw me a bit as well. It felt – and still does – dense and overdone. The song Year of the Rat is a great example. I love what that song should be; instead, there’s timpani drums, a disrupting ride cymbal and a chorus sung by children. His arrangements seem headed toward exaggerated levels that wash out his more introspective sincerity, which is what drew me to him in the first place. Though, he’s always been prone to unironic (cheesy?) grandioseness: “The keys to your heart open the door to the world” (opening line on the title track to Have You Fed the Fish?). Yipes. Yet, I still get chills listening to You Were Right, which lays on the cheese factor pretty heavy.
So I’m curious just enough to see what he has in store on Born in the UK, a pretty obvious play off Born in the USA. An homage to his home country, the title track, a straightforward rocker, references Sid Vicious, John Lennon and the Union Jack among others.
I’m trying to secure an mp3 from the new album. Until then:
mp3: The Shining (The Avalanches Good Word for the Weekend Remix)