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Carry On Up the Charts - The Best of the Beautiful South

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Album Review

Carry On up the Charts: The Best of the Beautiful South was the surprise British hit of 1994, going platinum five times between its late fall release and the summer of 1995. The success was surprising, because while the Beautiful South had been modestly popular, their last few albums were sliding down the charts. However, their hits collection, Carry On up the Charts, flew to number one and stayed there for weeks. It's nothing more than all their singles, yet compiled together they make the most convincing case for the Beautiful South's sly, cynical sophisticated pop. Carry On up the Charts was finally released in the United States in the fall of 1995.

Customer Reviews

An album that survives the test of time

Although this album is over a decade old as I write this, I'm still enjoying listening to it. The cynicism of the lyrics - sometimes silly, black, or just plain raw - is still enjoyable, though I find I can't listen too often. A joke is not funny if you hear it too often. But in this case the jokes (if you can call thier type of black humour a joke) are good enough for the occasional re-listen. For instance, "Song for Whoever" plays on the stereotype of the charming ladies man, and suggests that he almost (but not quite) fools himself. "I'll Sail this Ship Alone" is seriously black humour, making a musical joke of the "cry for help" type of suicide. On a lighter but still fairly raw note, "A Little Time" is a nicely plotted story of marital separation from the point of view of a wife whose husband has decided to play around. Exceptions are the two "straight" songs - covers of "Everybody's Talkin'" and "Dream a Little Dream". The voices of the artists are exceptionally sweet and rich, and they have managed to come up with some arrangements that I like as much as the originals. These two songs are timeless classics, here done by people who know how to make a song work on both the musical and the emotional level.

A Fair and Unbiased Review

I won't beat around the bush - this is the greatest album in the world, ever.

Pity you cant

Was very enjoyable when first purchased. Lost for a while. Downloaded and thouroughly enjoyed once more.


Formed: 1989 in Hull, England

Genre: Alternative

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

Following the disbandment of the British indie pop group the Housemartins in 1989, vocalist Paul Heaton and drummer David Hemmingway formed the Beautiful South. Where their previous group relied on jazzy guitars and witty, wry lyrics, the Beautiful South boasted a more sophisticated, jazzy pop sound, layered with keyboards, R&B-inflected female backing vocals and, occasionally, light orchestrations. Often, the group's relaxed, catchy songs contradicted the sarcastic, cynical thrust of the lyrics....
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