Casanova (The Divine Comedy album)

Casanova is the fourth studio album by The Divine Comedy. It was the band's commercial breakthrough. It was released on Setanta and certified Gold in the UK in July 1997. This was helped by the release of the album's first single "Something for the Weekend" which reached number 13 on the charts. Two other singles released from the album, "Becoming More Like Alfie" and "The Frog Princess", charted at 27 and 15 respectively.

Casanova
TDC Casanova.jpg
Studio album by
Released29 April 1996 (1996-04-29)
RecordedJune 1995 – January 1996
GenreOrchestral pop
Length51:52
LabelSetanta
ProducerDarren Allison and Neil Hannon
The Divine Comedy chronology
Promenade
(1994)
Casanova
(1996)
A Short Album About Love
(1997)
Singles from Casanova
  1. "Something for the Weekend"
    Released: 17 June 1996
  2. "Becoming More Like Alfie"
    Released: 12 August 1996
  3. "The Frog Princess"
    Released: 4 November 1996
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Dotmusic90/100[2]
Entertainment WeeklyA[3]
The Guardian4/5 stars[4]
Q4/5 stars[5]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[6]
Select4/5[7]

ThemesEdit

Treble writer A.T. Bossenger wrote that Neil Hannon "started going for a more straightforward pop tone as the base for his songwriting" for Casanova, resulting in the album having a more Britpop flow to it.[8] Its central theme is sex, around which all songs on the album centre, except "The Dogs and the Horses", which is the last song on the album and whose theme is death.[8]

RecordingEdit

Casanova had the longest recording period of any Divine Comedy album up to that point and consequently cost more. Setanta was able to indulge Neil Hannon's desire because of the success of Edwyn Collins' hit single "A Girl Like You."[citation needed]

Although more musicians were involved than on Liberation and Promenade, for most of the album, as with the previous two albums, Neil Hannon plays the majority of the parts himself, with co-producer/drummer Darren Allison directing proceedings.[9] The album's last track "The Dogs and the Horses", which was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, features a large orchestral ensemble which includes future members of the live band, namely Joby Talbot, Stuart 'Pinkie' Bates, Grant Gordon, and Bryan Mills. Talbot was beginning to play an increasingly important role in the band; he arranged and orchestrated "The Dogs and the Horses," and he co-arranged "Theme from Casanova" with Hannon.

Connections with other musicEdit

"The Dogs and the Horses" is very close to the musical style of Scott Walker's first four solo albums. "Through a Long & Sleepless Night", a track off Casanova, shares the same title as a track off Scott's first solo album.

Two of the album's songs were originally composed by Hannon as potential theme tunes for the 1995 sitcom Father Ted. Hannon's first attempt was rejected, and he reworked it to become "A Woman of the World". His second attempt was accepted and used as the theme for the series; however, Hannon later reworked it, played on harpsichord (rather than the series' guitar), to become "Songs of Love".

LegacyEdit

The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[10]

In 2014, NME included the album in its list of "30 Glorious Britpop Albums That Deserve a Reissue Pronto," saying "Gawky Neil Hannon as smooth loverman was a conceit that actually worked and it produced two of Britpop’s least obvious classics in the hilarious Cold Comfort Farm-inspired tale of ‘Something For The Weekend’ and the movie fantasy of ‘Becoming More Like Alfie’."[11]

Track listingEdit

All songs written and arranged by Neil Hannon, except Track 10 arranged by Hannon and Joby Talbot; Track 11 arranged and orchestrated by Talbot.

  1. "Something for the Weekend" – 4:19
  2. "Becoming More Like Alfie" – 2:59
  3. "Middle-Class Heroes" – 5:26
  4. "In & Out of Paris & London" – 3:27
  5. "Charge" – 5:27
  6. "Songs of Love" – 3:26
  7. "The Frog Princess" – 5:13
  8. "A Woman of the World" – 4:12
  9. "Through a Long & Sleepless Night" – 6:12
  10. "Theme from Casanova" – 5:51
  11. "The Dogs & the Horses" – 5:14

SinglesEdit

  • A Casanova Companion No.1
    1. "Something for the Weekend" – 4:20
    2. "Birds of Paradise Farm" – 3:52
    3. "Love is Lighter than Air" – 3:54 (written by Stephin Merritt)
    4. "Songs of Love" – 3:22 (Theme from Father Ted)
  • A Casanova Companion No. 2
    1. "Becoming More Like Alfie" – 3:02
    2. "Untitled Melody" – 2:09 (written by Edwyn Collins)
    3. "Your Daddy's Car" – 4:14
    4. "The Dogs and the Horses" – 4:27 (NYC acoustic)
  • A Casanova Companion No.3
    1. "The Frog Princess" – 5:13
    2. "Motorway to Damascus" – 4:22
    3. "A Woman of the World" – 4:16 (band version)
    4. "Lucy" – 4:03 (Demo)
  • A Casanova Companion No.4
    1. "The Frog Princess" – 5:13
    2. "Something Before the Weekend" – 2:02 (Demo)
    3. "Neptune's Daughter" – 5:08
    4. "Tonight We Fly" – 2:40

PersonnelEdit

  • John Allen – celeste, whistle
  • Darren Allison – percussion, drums, producer, engineer, mixing
  • Kathy Brown – cello
  • Jane Butterfield – trombone
  • Andy Chase – producer, engineer, mixing
  • Emile Chitikov – violin
  • Ian Cooper – mastering
  • Eos Counsell – violin
  • Rob Crane – design
  • Alison Fletcher – violin, viola
  • Anna Giddey – violin
  • Charlotte Glasson – viola
  • Ruth Goldstein – cello
  • Tom Gurling – assistant engineer
  • Neil Hannon – bass, guitar, percussion, piano, arranger, Hammond organ, vocals, producer, tympani [timpani], art direction, Wurlitzer
  • Rebecca Hayes – violin
  • Robin Hayward – tuba
  • Yuri Kalnitz – violin
  • Robbie Kazandjian – assistant engineer
  • Mark Knight – violin
  • Alex McRonald – flute
  • Bryan Mills – bass
  • Paul Mysiak – assistant engineer
  • Darren Nash – assistant engineer
  • Gerard Navarro – assistant engineer
  • Gareth Parton – assistant engineer
  • Alex Postlethwaite – violin
  • Alice Pratley – violin
  • Alice Reynolds – laughs
  • Joe Richards – cello
  • Adrian Roach – oboe
  • Laura Samuel – violin
  • Padraic Savage – violin
  • Chris Scard – assistant engineer
  • Joby Talbot – piano, arranger, conductor, alto saxophone, orchestration
  • Titch Walker – trumpet
  • Jane Watkins – cello
  • Kevin Westenberg – art direction, photography
  • Chris Worsey – cello

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Casanova – The Divine Comedy". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  2. ^ Micallef, Ken. "The Divine Comedy: Casanova". Dotmusic. Archived from the original on 30 August 2004. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  3. ^ Flaherty, Mike (24 October 1997). "Casanova". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  4. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (3 May 1996). "The Divine Comedy: Casanova (Setanta)". The Guardian.
  5. ^ Aston, Martin (June 1996). "The Divine Comedy: Casanova". Q. No. 117. Archived from the original on 1 September 2004. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  6. ^ Cohen, Jason (17 April 1997). "The Divine Comedy: Casanova". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 23 October 2007. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  7. ^ Male, Andrew (May 1996). "The Divine Comedy: Casanova". Select. No. 71. p. 100.
  8. ^ a b Bossenger, A.T. (13 March 2014). "10 Essential Britpop Albums". Treble. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  9. ^ Liner Notes by Darren Allison – "A Secret History". Setanta Records SETCDL100
  10. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  11. ^ "30 Glorious Britpop Albums That Deserve A Reissue Pronto – NME". 21 July 2014.

External linksEdit