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The Beautiful South - Choke (1990)

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The Beautiful South - Choke (1990)

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1. Tonight I Fancy Myself					play
2. My Book
3. Let Love Speak Up Itself
4. Should've Kept My Eyes Shut
5. I've Come For My Award
6. Lips
7. I Think The Answer's Yes
8. A Little Time
9. Mother's Pride
10. I Hate You (But You're Interesting)
11. The Rising Of Grafton Street			play

Personnel
Paul Heaton - vocals
Dave Hemingway - vocals
Briana Corrigan - vocals
Dave Rotheray - guitar
Sean Welch - bass
Dave Stead - drums
+
Gary Barnacle – Flute, Saxophone
Kevin Brown – Saxophone
Damon Butcher – Piano, Keyboards
Jody Kitson – Percussion
Tony Robinson – Trumpet
Pete Wingfield – Piano

 

Choke (released October 1990) is The Beautiful South's second album. It was pushed to number 2 in the charts after the release of the South's first and only number 1 single "A Little Time".

The album was followed by two more singles, both of which were flops. "My Book", which became the band's first non top-40 single, peaked at number 43 and finally "Let Love Speak Up Itself", the last release from this album, only managed to reach number 51.

Earlier versions of the album, regardless of format, contained only 11 tracks. The twelfth track (appearing at the end of later presses of the CD) was intended for the album from the beginning, but was removed at a late stage of production. Only in much later editions of the CD did the track finally appear, added without explanation to the end of the album. Original copies of "Choke" on cassette tape feature a long silence at the end of Side One, possibly indicating that this would have been the location originally intended for the track. ---wiki

 

Their 1989 debut was hailed for reinserting cynicism, doubt, and biting sarcasm into pop music. But when Choke arrived a year later, Paul Heaton and the Beautiful South encountered a good amount of critical blowback. "Too clever!" they cried. "Too cynical!" It was true -- kind of. As before, tales of codependence and things seen that should never have been unfolded over the course of irresistible little pop songs. But "I Hate You (But You're Interesting)" twisted the knife even deeper. While the main thrust of the song suggested sitting on a beach lost in painful memory, sprightly piano kept drowning out the seagulls like a memory too strong to shake.

Maybe this sort of thing hit too close to home for some; for others, it was just an extension of the Smiths' self-love/hate. So even if Choke wasn't as successful as its predecessor, that it would give people fits at all probably pleased Heaton to no end. A lounge-y cover of "What You See Is What You Get" smirked with its own effeteness, "Tonight I Fancy Myself" gave the band's three vocalists a peppy arrangement over which to harmonize and numerous songs showcased the bracing vocals of Briana Corrigan playing off of Heaton's ironic croon. All of Choke's light, jazz-tinged arrangements had a great time concealing the Beautiful South's ghastly tales in their own way. Perhaps the only reason they were accused of being too clever was because their skewering of society was too accurate. ---Johnny Loftus, Rovi

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