Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Casanova – The Divine Comedy (#249)

on February 16, 2015

Hi, I’m Elizabeth, and another of Stegzy’s guest posters. If you arrived here via Stegzy’s Livejournal (LJ still exists, who knew?) then you might know me as Venta.

Casanova was released in the mid-90s, and everyone who’d fallen in love with the Divine Comedy via their previous album Promenade groaned gently. Gone was the high-concept songwriting, the delicate, classical-sounding instrumentation and the references to French New Wave cinema. Instead the band veered towards Britpop, themed the album around sex, and hit the charts running with lead single Something for the Weekend.

Needless to say, Casanova was massively more commercially successful than Promenade.

I, however, was not in the groaning gently camp. I’d never heard of this band The Divine Comedy, but based on chart performance I dismissed them as some form of novelty act. With the arch lyrics, overblown coy voice-overs (“Oooh, go on, you know you want to…”) and trite references, I figured they’d not last long. All right for a couple of songs, of course, but not a band you’d really want to let into your album collection.

A year or two later, someone made me a tape compilation. On it they put Songs of Love, another track from Casanova which by then was known to everyone but me as “the theme from Father Ted”. I fell in love with it, and was immensely surprised not only to find it by the same band, but on the same album. I cautiously investigated.

And there are songs on the album that are worth listening to. Songs of Love, The Dogs and the Horses, The Frog Princess… even the others are fun now and again, even down to the mock radio 4 outro. I branched out, and found that The Divine Comedy (or, as it should be more accurately known, Neil Hannon plus whoever he’s roped in this time) are really rather clever. They fell into a bit of a Britpop hole for a while, and still occasionally over-reach themselves in terms of pomposity, but their music is always worth listening to.

Casanova isn’t their best album, but even their flirtation with the commercial zeitgeist still allows the talent to shine through at times.


One response to “Casanova – The Divine Comedy (#249)

  1. stegzy says:

    Brilliant! Thanks Elizabeth 😀

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