With Mr Hannon’s next album on the horizon, I thought now is a good time to show some appreciation for, I think, one of Britain’s most underappreciated songwriters. Great fun live too. Their commercial peak may well be long gone, but as part of my expedition to fall back in love with music I’m focusing on an artists’ back catalogue every month, and May has been most enjoyable listening back to ‘Fin de Siecle’, ‘Foreverland’ and ‘Bang Goes The Knighthood’.
I really like The Divine Comedy. The pomp, the way they usually feel like old-fashioned pop or cabaret or musical-lite, that they’ve always felt like they don’t group well with any other artist.
The best songs are these lovely little stories, too. Songs of Love always stands out, but I really love A Lady Of A Certain Age and can’t imagine anyone else writing something like it this century:
But he’s become an odd parody of himself nowadays. I’m not keen on much that he’s done for the last decade. I’m hoping that the new one changes that, but ever since the rawky Regeneration way back in 2001 it seems like he’s been trying to claw back towards the sound and image he had in the nineties.
We had a thread of perfect songs on here a while back and someone suggested, “Lady of a Certain Age” and I absolutely fell in love with it. I keep meaning to explore Hannon’s back catalogue but never quite get round to it. I’m gonna keep a close eye on this thread instead for today at least.
Oh snap. Did you post this in that thread? Thank you if so! Great song for driving at sunset to I’ve found.
I don’t think I did, but it is a great track. Pretty good album that one, too.
If you like that, can I suggest this mid-nineties b-side?
You certainly can! This is lovely. I do love a well written story song and Hannon does seem to have a real knack for them.
Can’t seem to find that thread. Ah well. Thank you mystery poster!
Brilliantly ridiculous. Ridiculously brilliant.
A couple of other favourites:
Very late to them but very much like them
I will love Pop Singers Fear of the Pollen Count forever and always.
One of the greatest songs ever written, in my opinion
This is heartbreakingly good.
Fucking loved it back when they had a budget for an orchestra and then went totally full on with it
Could have been me, I will bang on to anyone willing to listen about how A Lady of a Certain Age is the most perfect song ever written.
Saw him live on the last tour and he wasn’t very well, he actually threw up during A Lady of A Certain Age, that did make it a bit less than perfect tbh.
Bloody love The Divine Comedy, massively underappreciated. If anything, they’re too good Clive. Promenade probably their best album.
Love a lot of the later ones too; Absent Friends, Victory for the Comic Muse and Bang Goes The Knighthood is a fantastic run of three.
Not that keen on when he does his ELO impression though, much prefer my Divine Comedy songs dressed up in a cravat.
Definitely enough material for a second best of, off the top of my head…
Love What You Do
Come Home Billy Bird
Our Mutual Friend
To Die A Virgin
A Lady of a Certain Age
Party Fears Two
The Complete Banker
Down In the Street Below
Catherine The Great
To The Rescue
BONUS DUCKWORTH LEWIS METHOD SONG
I’d probably chuck Queuejumper in there too. Great recent single.
Oh no - I’ve never heard that song and thought, “this could do with some violent chundering.”
It’s a great call for a perfect song though. Not a note I’d change.
Only got into him relatively recently, despite adoring National Express since I was a nipper
A Lady of a Certain Age is one of the best songs ever written, it’s utterly perfect
Not actually a massive fan of Queuejumper, but really like Norman and Norma - its more of his nice storytelling style.
- Fanfare for the Comic Muse (lol)
- A Short Album About Love
- Fin de Siecle
- Absent Friends
- Victory for the Comic Muse
- Bang Goes The Knighthood