The Infotainment Scan

The Infotainment Scan is the fifteenth album by The Fall, released in 1993 on Permanent Records in the UK and by Matador Records in the USA (the first of the band's albums to get an official American release since Extricate (1990)).[1] At the time of its release, it was considered the band's most accessible album and came when the band were experiencing unprecedented recognition in the media. It entered the UK Albums Chart at number 9, making it their highest-charting album.[2]

The Infotainment Scan
The Infotainment Scan.jpg
Studio album by
Released26 April 1993 (1993-04-26)
StudioSuite 16, Rochdale
Genre
Length
  • 40:36 (LP and cassette)
  • 50:08 (CD)
Label
Producer
The Fall chronology
Code: Selfish
(1992)
The Infotainment Scan
(1993)
Middle Class Revolt
(1994)

Track informationEdit

The album features covers of the Sister Sledge disco track "Lost in Music" and of Steve Bent's "I'm Going to Spain", an obscure song that Bent had performed on the British talent show New Faces in 1976 (Bent's version was included on The World's Worst Record album, compiled by disc jockey Kenny Everett in 1978).[3] The CD edition of The Infotainment Scan also includes "Why Are People Grudgeful?", the only track to be released as a single (albeit in a different version). It is based on two reggae songs: "People Grudgeful" by Joe Gibbs and "People Funny Boy" by Lee "Scratch" Perry.[4]

Of the original compositions on The Infotainment Scan, "Glam-Racket" drew much attention for its alleged criticism of Britpop band Suede, with the lyric "you are entrenched in suede", although Mark E. Smith denied it was a reference to the band and asserted that it was an attack on nostalgia.[5][1] "The League of Bald-Headed Men", identified by Simon Reynolds as a "diatribe against gerontocracy", appears to borrow its riff from Led Zeppelin's "Misty Mountain Hop", despite Smith's claim that he had never heard the band's music.[6][7] A remix of "The League of Bald-Headed Men", retitled "League Moon Monkey Mix", is also included on the CD edition.

"Paranoia Man in Cheap Sh*t Room" adapts its title from "Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room", an episode of The Twilight Zone.[8] Smith had previously borrowed episode titles "What You Need" and "Time Enough at Last" (and would later use "Kick the Can").

ReissuesEdit

The Infotainment Scan was reissued by Artful in 1999 with the same track listing as the original CD editions. It was remastered and expanded to a double-CD set by Castle Music in 2006 with slightly amended artwork. The first disc followed the original CD album track order, while the second added B-sides, demos, alternate versions and radio sessions.

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [9]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[10]
Los Angeles Times    [11]
Mojo     [12]
NME8/10[5]
Q     [13]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [14]
Select5/5[15]
Spin Alternative Record Guide8/10[16]
Uncut     [17]

The Infotainment Scan received generally positive reviews. AllMusic's Ned Raggett called it "a winner and a half" and "one of the band's most playful yet sharp-edged releases", picking out "Paranoia Man in Cheap Sh*t Room" as a highlight.[9] Jim Sullivan for The Boston Globe called it "10 tracks of caustic wit set to backing music that swirls one moment and grinds the next".[18] Robert Christgau gave it a three-star "honorable mention", with the comment "great original sound, one hell of a cover band".[19] Ben Thompson, in The Independent, gave it a positive review, stating "Smith's invective has rarely been more sharply honed" and that the band "have rarely sounded brighter".[20] Simon Reynolds, reviewing it for The New York Times, stated it "may be one of the Fall's more approachable records, but Mr. Smith's lyrics are as caustic as ever".[6] Keith Cameron, reviewing for the NME, said the album "stands at the very peak of their canon".[5] Chuck Eddy, for Spin, was less enthusiastic, saying Smith "used to seem smarter" and accusing him of repeating himself.[21] Mark Jenkins of The Washington Post stated "the album continues the swaggeringly uncompromising and hopelessly unmarketable mix of Craig Scanlon's scratchy guitar, bassist Stephen Hanley and drummer Simon Wolstencroft's loping thump, and Smith's caustic and cryptic, cut-up and spit-out poetry."[1]

The album was included in Robert Dimery's 2005 book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[22]

Track listingEdit

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Ladybird (Green Grass)"Mark E. Smith, Craig Scanlon, Steve Hanley, Dave Bush, Simon Wolstencroft3:59
2."Lost in Music"Nile Rodgers, Bernard Edwards3:49
3."Glam-Racket"Smith, Hanley3:12
4."I'm Going to Spain"Steve Bent3:27
5."It's a Curse"Smith, Scanlon5:19
6."Paranoia Man in Cheap Sh*t Room"Smith, Scanlon4:27
7."Service"Smith, Scanlon4:11
8."The League of Bald-Headed Men"Smith, Hanley4:07
9."A Past Gone Mad"Smith, Bush, Wolstencroft4:19
10."Light/Fireworks"Smith3:46
Additional tracks (CD only)
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
11."Why Are People Grudgeful?"Lee "Scratch" Perry, Joe Gibbs4:33
12."League Moon Monkey Mix"Hanley, Simon Rogers, Smith4:36
2006 Castle reissue bonus disc
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Ladybird (Green Grass)" (Peel Session #16 – 13/3/93) 4:05
2."Strychnine" (Peel Session #16 – 13/3/93)Gerry Roslie2:54
3."Service" (Peel Session #16 – 13/3/93) 3:36
4."Paranoia Man in Cheap Sh*t Room" (Peel Session #16 – 13/3/93) 4:19
5."Glam-Racket" (Mark Goodier Session – 17/5/93) 3:34
6."War" (Mark Goodier Session – 17/5/93)Peter Blegvad, Anthony Moore2:36
7."15 Ways" (Mark Goodier Session – 17/5/93)Smith, Scanlon, Hanley2:51
8."A Past Gone Mad" (Mark Goodier Session – 17/5/93) 4:35
9."Why Are People Grudgeful?" (CDSPERM9 single mix) 4:28
10."Glam-Racket" (CDSPERM9 single mix) 3:33
11."The Re-Mixer" (CDSPERM9 single mix)Smith, Scanlon6:03
12."Lost in Music" (CDSPERM9 single mix) 3:50
13."A Past Gone Mad" (alternative version) 4:39
14."Instrumental outtake"Scanlon, Hanley3:46
15."Service" (instrumental demo) 4:40
16."Glam-Racket" (instrumental demo) 3:21
17."Lost in Music" (mix 3) 4:40
18."Lost in Music" (mix 7) 4:39
19."Lost in Music" (mix 14) 4:28

PersonnelEdit

The Fall
Additional personnel

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Jenkins, Mark (26 May 1993). "Recordings". The Washington Post. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  2. ^ "Fall". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  3. ^ "6 Mar 76 – Series Four", You're a Star, Superstar: The History of ATV's New Faces.
  4. ^ Why Are People Grudgeful Archived 19 August 2011 at WebCite, The Fall Online.
  5. ^ a b c Cameron, Keith (23 April 1993). "Radical Spangle". NME. p. 30. Archived from the original on 20 November 2005. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  6. ^ a b Reynolds, Simon (11 July 1993). "Recordings View; The Fall Softens Its Edge". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  7. ^ Thompson, Dave (September 1993). "Falling Forward". Alternative Press. No. 62. pp. 43–44. Archived from the original on 12 February 2005. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  8. ^ http://annotatedfall.doomby.com/pages/the-annotated-lyrics/paranoia-man-in-cheap-sh-t-room.html#n1
  9. ^ a b Raggett, Ned. "The Infotainment Scan – The Fall". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  10. ^ Flaherty, Mike (21 May 1993). "The Infotainment Scan". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  11. ^ Ali, Lorraine (30 May 1993). "The Fall, 'The Infotainment Scan,' Matador/Atlantic". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  12. ^ Harrison, Ian (October 2016). "Rebellious Jukebox" (PDF). Mojo. No. 275. pp. 62–67. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  13. ^ "The Fall: The Infotainment Scan". Q. No. 81. June 1993. p. 96.
  14. ^ Gross, Joe (2004). "The Fall". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 292–95. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  15. ^ Collins, Andrew (May 1993). "The Fall: The Infotainment Scan". Select. No. 35. p. 91.
  16. ^ Rubin, Mike (1995). "Fall". In Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig (eds.). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. pp. 142–44. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  17. ^ "The Fall: The Infotainment Scan". Uncut. p. 84. Arguably their strongest '90s offering bar Extricate, it saw Smith singing Lee Perry and Sister Sledge...
  18. ^ Sullivan, Jim (3 June 1993). "The Fall: The Infotainment Scan (Matador/Atlantic)". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 12 February 2018. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  19. ^ Christgau, Robert (2000). "The Fall: The Infotainment Scan". Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 9780312245603. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  20. ^ Thompson, Ben (1 May 1993). "Rock: Manchester's old flames blaze again: Ben Thompson experiences the reviving properties of new albums from The Fall and New Order". The Independent. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  21. ^ Eddy, Chuck (August 1993). "The Fall: The Infotainment Scan". Spin. Vol. 9 no. 5. p. 87. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  22. ^ Dimery, Robert, ed. (2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (revised and updated ed.). Universe Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.