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Steve McQueen (Remastered)

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Album Review

Smart, sophisticated, and timelessly stylish, Steve McQueen (titled Two Wheels Good in the U.S. after threats of a lawsuit from the actor's estate) is a minor classic, a shimmering jazz-pop masterpiece sparked by Paddy McAloon's witty and inventive songwriting. McAloon is a wickedly cavalier composer, his songs exploring human weaknesses like regret ("Bonny"), lust ("Appetite"), and infidelity ("Horsin' Around") with cynical insight and sarcastic flair; he's also remarkably adaptable, easily switching gears from the faux country of "Faron Young" to the stately pop grace of "Moving the River." At times, perhaps, his pretensions get the better of him (as on "Desire As"), while at other times his lyrics are perhaps too trenchant for their own good; at those moments, however, what keeps Steve McQueen afloat is Thomas Dolby's lush production, which makes even the loftiest and most biting moments as easily palatable as the airiest adult contemporary confection.

Customer Reviews

a classic album worthy of revisiting

how happy was i to discover i could download this awesome album from my youth,,,and god knows i think that PS's sound is more relevant now than ever....i recall first hearing Canadian indie darlings STARS and thinking how much Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell's wonderful harmonies were reminscent of this band's lushly understated but beautifully produced pop ballads....i believe Thomas Dolby produced this album which accounts for its impeccable production and layered textures...i think this is a beautiful album and the addition of so many accoustic versions is the ultimate bonus for me.......could be wrong but i think the US release was called Two Wheels Good for legal reasons

an awesome album, easily their best.

Prefab Sprout sound like classic period Brian Wilson writing for dated '80's style production, and the combination works shockingly well. while all their albums were great, this one was the classic, and the addition of the accoustic bonus tracks take the songs in new directions, adding to your appreciation of them. Great work from one of '80's pop's unsung genius'

Flat-Out Masterpiece

From the country shuffle of the opening track "Faron Young", to the driving "Appetite" and "Moving the River", to the late-night, cocktail-jazz of Horsin' Around" and "Halleluja", and the moody, dramatic build-ups of "When Love Breaks Down" and "Goodbye Lucille #1", one finds a frightening level of melodic consistency. And the lyrics, though occasionally bordering on sentimental, usually contain insightful and sometimes biting poetic visions that prove Paddy pays a lot of attention to his surroundings. Sophisticated, accomplished, yet so simple, the elements are so basic, the songs sound like they were put together so effortlessly, that only a true genius could pull something like this off. Like James Joyce, Paddy McCloon used to boast of his brilliance, and was even once quoted as saying, "on my day, who are my rivals?". And, yup, like with James Joyce, that kind of open arrogance can be cringe-inducing, but the scary thing is, he's absolutely right. Some 23 years after it was first released it still sounds fresh.


Formed: 1977 in Newcastle, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most beloved British pop bands of the '80s and '90s, Prefab Sprout have had a minimum of chart success in the United States, where they're all but unknown outside of their devoted cult following, but singer/songwriter Paddy McAloon is regularly hailed as one of the great songwriters of his era. Critics regularly compare McAloon favorably to Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney, and even Cole Porter, but the self-effacing and publicity-shy performer modestly prefers to let his increasingly rare...
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