[sic] Magazine

Richard Ashcroft – These People

Captain Rock returns after a 6 year hiatus resulting from the critical mauling of his United Nations of Sound debacle. He’s comeback pretty much full of himself, claiming in the Guardian (See link provided): “In the end my name will be bigger than the Verve because of all those great tunes and the power of what I stand for”.

With the new album out, does it match up to such grandiose claims?

Let’s see…

Track by track:




‘Out Of My Body’

Luke Haines is right: this could be the worst opening track of all time. Ashcroft should hang his head in shame. The opening descending cheesy, space invader synth sound is hilarious. Who the fuck thought that was a good idea? Sets the tone nicely for the rest of the album though.

3 word review: ‘Gay disco anthem’ (0/10)

‘This Is How It Feels’

Oh dear, the first string laden plodder. On an album of lyrical dross, this takes the biscuit. The all-time laziest chorus? He can’t even be bothered to write any actual words. (go on, mention ‘Hey Jude’, I fucking dare you)

3 word review: ‘Lumbering oaf anthem’ (0/10)

‘They Don’t Own Me’

Should a 44 year old man even consider such a song title? It is actually pleasant enough. For the first 10 seconds. Goes downhill when he starts singing a load of saccharine gibberish over those fucking strings. The first glimpse of David Brent.

3 word review: ‘Gareth Gates B-side’ (1/10)

‘Hold On’

The single and yet another lyrical atrocity. A dunce class in bone-idle rhyming stupidity. On the plus side, think yourself very lucky it isn’t the remix (see below). Definitely written with one eye on the Euros: ‘C’mon England – Hold on’. Oh, and drums would have been nice instead of a beefed up click-track.
More lazy twattery.

3 word review: ‘Soundtrack for simpletons’ (0/10)

‘These People’

“A soixante-neuf without the erotique” Richard Ashcroft actually wrote those words and considered them good enough to share with you.

3 word review: ‘Pure David Brent’ (0/10)

‘Everybody Needs Somebody To Hurt’

Again, starts promisingly enough, but it goes on to sound like he just cannot be arsed to do anything with it. Has he discovered golf or another hobby that is distracting him?

3 word review: ‘Chip shop vinegar’ (1/10)

‘Picture Of You’, ‘Black Lines’, ‘Ain’t The Future So Bright’

Put simply, these do not deserve to be reviewed individually. That’s almost a third of the entire fucking album by the way.
Yes they could have been made better with the addition of this and that (left-field invention from the likes of McCabe or Rob Marshall mainly) or the removal of the shit (the strings and all of the lyrics for example) but unfortunately, they are what they are.

It sounds like they we recorded as an interchangeable batch in the last 20 minutes of available studio time. Then Ashcroft pissed off home while some poor fucker was left to trowel on the strings.

The strings that now border on artistic criminality. Anyone up for a restraining order petition on them?

As for the lyrics: “Who put those black lines under your eyes, let me replace them with a smile?”

Dear fucking God….

3 word review: ‘Dad-rock landfill’ (0/10)

‘Songs Of Experience’

Did some put this on the album by mistake?

A fat-fingered child learning to play the piano, with a constipated cat crying over a rejected Gary Barlow song.
Amazing. For all the wrong reasons.

3 word review: ‘Make it stop’ (0/10)

Conclusion: 1/10

Overall, it comes across as bone fucking idle. Half-finished songs not saved in the slightest by turd polishing over-production.

Is it worse than the United Nations of Sound? Are the shits worse than chronic constipation? Adding the ‘Hold On’ remix as a bonus track would comfortably push it past UNOS as the worst album I’ve ever heard from a once respected artist.

The laughable ‘king of the world’ spiel seems like a last desperate act of deluded self-justification, though he’s probably under orders from the record company to ‘sell the fuck out of this shit’. It certainly won’t sell itself. The unfortunate aging smack-rat dressed by a fashionista twat committee look does not help matters.

The formula is depressingly predictable. Repeat a bland phrase to death in an attempt to hammer it into the public consciousness. Then let is fester long enough to destabilise someone enough to like it, or god forbid, buy it. Death by septic earworm.

The strings are deployed as an unimaginative, default weapon in a desperate attempt to add gravitas and substance to mere slips of songs. They hang over the album like a bad smell.

There’s no beauty, no tension, no invention, no energy, nothing and I mean absolutely nothing remotely interesting about anything on this album. The fact that he sings such utter fucking drivel in such an earnest, heartfelt, overblown way only adds to the sense of toe-curling embarrassment.

Taking six years to produce this shit after the UNOS debacle is unforgivable. He swaggers about spouting grandiose nonsense about his talent that actually disappeared years ago and only ever really meant anything in the context of his work with others. Others that he now chooses to arrogantly and unforgivably dismiss.

I have no desire to revisit a single second of this album ever again.

The Guardian

Luke Haines