89. Billy Bragg – “William Bloke”

Billy took a break after his last effort (as did we) and concentrated on fatherhood for a few years.  And he seems to have benefited from the hiatus.

billy-bragg-album-cover-william-blokeHe appears to have recognised some of the failed extravagances of the “Don’t Try…” effort, and has toned down the full band dimension. The guitar is a little more jagged on several tracks.  The vibe is very mellow.

The songwriting is less contrived here, and he delivers a few strong-ish tracks. Everybody Loves You Babe is biting (as the title is followed by a “but me”).  Northern Industrial Town has a nice twist in the final lines.  Goalhanger draws a real-life parallel from the sporting domain in the same fashion as Weddings, Parties, Anything‘s Monday Experts.

This album is satisfactory once one accepts that Billy’s peak has well and truly passed. I guess we should be relieved that he is acting his age and not pretending to be his raucous younger self. The new sound ain’t quite my cup of tea, but this album is much easier listening than his previous. But it doesn’t engender the warm feelings of his earlier Clashy stuff.  Such is life…

File under: Post-parenting slow afternoon stuff

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One response to “89. Billy Bragg – “William Bloke”

  1. Hello, I’ve recently discovered your blog and just wanted to say how much I like both your blog concept and your Billy Bragg reviews! They’ve encouraged me to go and drag a few out of my own collection and I think you’re right – ‘Talking with the Taxman…’ still sounds great, ‘Don’t Try this at Home’ not so.

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