Prefab Sprout
Steve McQueen


5.0
classic

Review

by Alex Robertson STAFF
June 13th, 2011 | 74 replies


Release Date: 1985 | Tracklist


Prefab Sprout’s Steve McQueen is everything I could want in a “pop” album (as nebulous a term as that’s become): its production is super-pretty, its lyrics are literate and humorous without being condescending in the slightest, it’s fun to listen to, and there’s just something in the way lead singer and songwriter Paddy McAloon puts chords and melodies together that’s instantly gripping and gratifying.

I sort of wish I could leave it at that and let all you lucky readers decide for yourself exactly what kind of amazing album Steve McQueen is (or, if you’re going to be that way, whether or not it’s amazing, or even good, at all), but professionalism beckons: this album’s excellence is immediate in the beginning of opening track “Faron Young,” which, incidentally, doesn’t really sound like anything else off the album. The track starts with twanging country guitars and rollicking drums, which the band cleverly invert to service their gorgeous adaptation of ‘80s pop. This is an album that feels slightly antiquated (on that note: you know those breathy vocal pads that are always in ‘80s pop songs? Those need to be brought back, stat.) but in the best way possible; it’s an album that takes the best aspects of the musical landscape that surrounds it and uses it to create something distinctly of its era and yet somehow timeless.

This timelessness is a result of that inexplicable songwriterly skill I half-described in the first paragraph. Here, I must take the ultimate cop-out and simply urge you, the listener, to get the album and hear for yourself. Hear how the pummel of “Faron Young”’s chorus magically dissolves into the gorgeously lightweight chorus. Hear how “Hallelujah” flows through a hundred or so of the weirdest chord changes possible, yet somehow comes out hummable. Or how “Moving the River” deftly switches moods multiple times before finally ending on the triumphantly angelic title chorus.

Steve McQueen is a subtle masterpiece; a nearly flawless convergence of gorgeous, smart pop songwriting and immediately pleasurable production that divides itself into eleven songs that are both distinct and also separated by a common thread of excellence.



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user ratings (43)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2011


15050 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this review is no good, but i just wanted this to have a review

Fugue
June 13th 2011


7353 Comments


holy shit someone reviewed a Prefab Sprout album, mad propssss.

Yotimi
June 13th 2011


6523 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

One of the best 80's pop albums.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2011


6196 Comments


and rollicking drums, which the band cleverly invert to service their gorgeous adaptation of ‘80s pop

inverts

Prefab Sprout is a subtle masterpiece;

Steve McQueen is



this review is no good

on the contrary i think it is good, since i don't know this band and i fully understood what i would listen to, should i had picked this up.

pos.

Digging: Alkoholizer - Free Beer... Surf's Up!!!

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2011


15050 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

good catches, but can anyone settle this for me once and for all:

is a band plural or singular?

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2011


15743 Comments


ive always used plural

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2011


6196 Comments


ive always used plural




me too. In my native tongue (Greek), it is plural as well.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2011


15050 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

well in that case, if a band is plural, shouldn't it be invert?

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2011


6196 Comments


but you wrote:


which the band cleverly inverts to service their gorgeous adaptation of ‘80s pop

to service its gorgeous adaptation



Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2011


15743 Comments


no, it just makes it look grammatically correct

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2011


6196 Comments


but it is "one" band and "one" gorgeous adaptation.





oh well..

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2011


15050 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

it's either invert/their or inverts/its

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2011


15743 Comments


i mean both look right, its frivolous

thebhoy
Emeritus
June 13th 2011


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

if you are referencing the band as a singular entity then your grammar should fit accordingly. If you are referring to the band as a group of people it is plural. So like:

The National is blowing up right now.

The band are blowing up right now.

I'm pretty sure that's how it goes, but remember grammar is ambiguous and arbitrary anyways and this is one of those instances where it's like, do what you feel is right.

thebhoy
Emeritus
June 13th 2011


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

also, yes this mmmm tasty.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2011


15050 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

hype train

thebhoy
Emeritus
June 13th 2011


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

only 26 years late

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 14th 2011


15050 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ooooooooooooh johnny johnny johnny

plane
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2011


6094 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

okay, yes. johnny johnny ooooh

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2011


15050 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

hoo-ya



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