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Friday, July 09, 2004  
Ten thousand words and counting

The Enormous Embrace Exercise Part Four

As marketing departments go it’s quite tuneful… There’s a certain melancholy to it, which is almost entirely down to Danny singing it. The piano line sounds like it’s nicked from a soap opera, like Chris Martin, vegan tee-total rockstar son of a life-long Conservative who bankrolls corrupt Tory MPs (hello Patrick Nichols! Eat my fuck please!) and tries to build houses on sites of extreme natural beauty and can’t deal with the publicity because he’s essentially a self-preserving cunt, thought, halfway through writing it, “that’s pretty enough now” and stopped, exactly the same as he did with “Trouble” and that one that sounds like it was commissioned by the BBC for between-programme incidental music. The guitar at the end is ace. The lyrics are abysmal everyman claptrap, no sense of personality in there at all, no real life experience, no observation, just virginal melancholic faux-yearning. This is the dumbing down… Simple, obvious but unfamiliar metaphors are something Embrace have done very well – fireworks, satellites, hooligans – CM can’t manage to concoct a metaphor about gravity properly (he has a very good degree from a very good university, he went to a junior school where they make the boys wear shorts READ INTO THAT WHAT YOU WILL – his biggest song is not “the fireworks in me are all gone” or “shining stars light the heavens / we satellites hope to reach” it’s “everything was all yellow” FOR FUCK’S SAKE). I hope it goes massive, I really really do. But I HAVE A PRETTY GOOD IDEA OF WHAT THEY CAN DO, what they will do, what they have done and this IS NOT ENOUGH. It’s an advert, a favour, and nothing more. I’m worried that they’ll always compromise at the last minute, that they’ll never actually put their best 10 or 11 songs on a record together and leave it be. REALLY GOOD RECORDS, and I mean really, really good records, records of undeniable quality… it doesn’t matter if they don’t have adverts and thin ends of wedges to lever them into position. They get the recognition they deserve. If they just were brave, once, took the risk… people wouldn’t be able to deny.

It’s nice enough. Maybe I’m drunk, and I am a little. I’m not sure what I was expecting. Maybe it’s that it’s only running at 64kbps. Maybe I just need time to settle into it. Maybe (gosh, maybe) the B-SIDES ALONE WILL BLOW IT INTO KINGDOM COME. I wish it wasn’t on the album. Right now.


7/09/2004 11:13:00 pm


Blogger Nick - 7:38 am

And the people on the site all love it because it's emotional and beautiful and really sounds like an Embrace song despite the fact that lyrically and melodically it's so much more pedestrian, so much more naive, so much more dead than anything Embrace would ever do. It's a great title for a song. Fucking hell Coldplay are so rubbish, so lifeless, so competely lacking in imagination.

Yes I want Embrace to be massive, but only because of the creative freedom that this would bring, not just from record company intervention (sometimes record company intervention is a good thing, some people need telling "this is not good enough, this is the wrong direction, you are better than this") but from the demons in their own heads that keep telling them "you could be massive". Graham Sutton said something very important the other week when I interviewed him - if you don't rely on the idea that you can make a living from your music, if you don't believe people who tell you that you can, then you take power away from everybody else and keep it all for yourself.

Big doesn't necessarily mean bad, but it doesn't necessarily mean good either.

I'm not one to preach the values of songwriting when it's in terms of "writing your own songs, playing your own instruments" blah blah yadda yadda, but there is a sense of doing it on your own terms rather than dumbing down, coat-tailing. Coldplay have sold 20 million albums. Embrace don't need to sell 20 million albums. Nobody NEEDS to. Embrace don't do fame very well. Danny McNamara is not tabloid fodder.

Sometimes you get what you wish for, even if you don't want it.

Blogger Nick - 7:43 am

But like Billy said, it's a very nice tune. And I guess that's all that matters.

People keep saying "no one cares" and "does anyone care?" in reference to the second and third albums failing in comparison to the first, to Oasis, to Stereophonics, to Coldplay, but a; those bands really weren't worth 'beating' in the first place, and b; people obviously do care, and care a lot. Enough people care a lot and enough people will pick it up casually to pay mortgages and ensure a chance to make another record.

Who the fuck am I to pass judgement on whether other people care enough, on whether they're listening to Embrace 'properly' or 'for the right reasons'?

I can't care about "Gravity".

The Bends.


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Nick Southall is Contributing Editor at Stylus Magazine and occasionally writes for various other places on and offline. You can contact him by emailing auspiciousfishNO@SPAMgmail.com

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