Nightbird

Onge's Review

After the critical panning received by Other People's Songs, the band returned to form in style with Nightbird, their first album of original songs for five years. No Doubt is a great album opener: Andy's vocals are superbly pitched on this gospel sounding ballad with Vince providing a lush, sweeping musical backdrop. A terrific opening to the album. The first of many long-titled tracks, Here I Go Impossible Again, follows. The song is about having a fight with your partner in order to kiss and make up later. This track is excellently paced and has an extremely memorable melody resulting in a fine overall listening experience. The sublime Let's Take One More Rocket To The Moon is next up. The track is an epic vocal delight with Andy having rarely sounded better as he sings his sweet, lovelorn lyrics. Vince's arrangement reflects the sentiment of the lyrics perfectly allowing the lullaby nature of the song to shine through. A stunning song.

The pair may be one of the most mismatched odd couples in pop, but their chemistry here - whether on the intimate Breathe or the va-va-voom eroticism of Don't Say You Love Me - is as strong as ever. Covering a range of emotions from the exuberant to the reflective, Nightbird is an eloquent achievement - two frontline showbusiness troopers showing they haven't lost their hunger or intelligence.

The Mirror

Next up is Breathe, which was the first single from this album. Never has a more perfect example of exemplary song pacing, vocals and synth backdrop been woven. Andy's lyrics are simple but ever-so-effective and are performed brilliantly over Vince's awesome key-changing arrangement. Shiver-inducing and easily Erasure's best song for some time, it was fully deserving of reaching #4 in the UK Singles Chart. Jill Walsh's backing vocals are also superb in this truly flawless song. The soaring I'll Be There follows and is a track that doesn't really fit in with the rest of the album. Vince's pseudo-80s arrangement is kitsch enough to be enjoyable and the vocal melody is reminiscent of the Cowboy album, which is certainly a good thing, but the song is devoid of any backing vocals at all and as every other track has rich, deep backing vocals it makes this track seem a little naked. Catchy and enjoyable, but a little incongruous.

The album then slows for the ballad Because Our Love Is Real. The simple arrangement works very well in this song about the joys of love and companionship. Not the most memorable track on the album by any means, but still an enjoyable listen. Don't Say You Love Me is another example of this album's beautiful vocals and well structured synths. Some of Andy's lyrics aren't so hot on this track, but all is forgiven thanks to the terrific chorus. A very good song, but perhaps a strange choice as the second single from the album. All This Time Still Falling Out Of Love is perhaps the only real dance floor up-tempo track on the entire album. Despite it's promising introduction, the song never reaches the its potential, partly because of the very repetitive nature of the music. The melody is excellent as usual but the chorus doesn't really climax in the way it perhaps could have done. It's still a decent track, but sadly falls short of being an Erasure classic.

Fans' Best/Worst Of

Top 3 Songs
  1. Breathe
  2. All This Time Still Falling Out Of Love
  3. Here I Go Impossible Again
Bottom 2 Songs
  1. Because Our Love Is Real
  2. I'll Be There
Results taken from Poll 2008-09

I Broke It All In Two follows and is probably the weakest track on a strong album. The vocals are excellently pitched over a fine mellow arrangement but the song is badly let down by the lyrics and the unsatisfying chorus. It is by no means a terrible song, but lyrically could have been much better. The anthemic Sweet Surrender is next up, and despite a slightly dated sounding backdrop from Vince, is a brilliant song. Lyrically Andy expresses disdain over the conflict in Iraq, but it is the contagious melody and vocals that make this such a gratifying aural experience. An excellent and infectious track. The album concludes with the awesome I Bet You're Mad At Me. Superb from start to finish, this is one of Erasure's finest slow ballads which is impossible to fault in any way. Andy has rarely sounded better and the sentiment of the song is perfectly captured in Vince's music. A fine ending to a fine album.

Summary

Nightbird is an extremely consistent album, with there not being a single poor track on it. Despite this, the album doesn't get five stars for one reason: the lyrics. Although generally good, they are sometimes clumsy and thematically are almost completely comprised of first-person songs about the facets of love. This makes the lyrical theme of the album seem too familiar and occasionally a little tiresome. However, to finish this review on a negative would be doing this release a huge disservice; Nightbird is a superb album and is easily Erasure's best work of the Twenty-First Century. Unmissable for fans, old and new.

Fan Reviews

Below are some fan reviews written by visitors to this very site. Once you've read these, please feel free to use the form at the end of the page to write your own review.

  1. Erasure back to their best without a shadow of doubt!

    If this album had been released when radio stations still liked Erasure, then it would have been a sure fire Number 1………….easily

    ok………..so there are more mid-tempo tracks on here than enough but some of Erasures finest moments come from these slower songs, ‘One More Rocket’, ‘Breathe’, ‘I Broke It All In Two’ and ‘I Bet You’re Mad At Me’ are all mid-tempo tracks yet easily stand out on this superb album.

    The use of softsynths proves Vince can make music with any piece of equipment, new or old, and still keep his magic flowing throughout.

    The only downside to this one, for me, is the end, it comes way too soon for my liking, or am i just being too greedy?

    Roll on the next ‘New’ Studio Album

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Glynn, Huddersfield, England
    2 January 2006 11:06 pm (GMT)
  2. Ok, I must be very sincere here: I needed more time than usual for enjoying this one from Erasure. I consider Nightbird a very good album nowadays, but it really doesn’t sound brilliant to me, specially because of its lyrics since I consider Andy talked about love in a tiring way here. I mean I think he was so much more creative in terms of lyrics on Erasure’s previous ones. They are not poor or bad at all, on the contrary they are very good but I think Andy had better days as lyricist for being frank. By his turn, Vince really produced many wonderful synth sounds here. Anyhow, there are some ones from Nightbird album that I really love and my fave one is the underrated single Don’t Say You Love Me, whose lyrics I personally consider as sensational, besides I love when Andy decides to write a third part of lyrics after the solo moment (I mean lyrics-chorus-lyrics-chorus-solo-lyrics-chorus) and its melody is equally great and very whistling! The other three single-tracks are so catchy as DSYLM, but I tend to consider Here I Go Impossible Again just as a good one. Regarding Breathe and All This Time Still Falling Out Of Love, both ones are irresistibly great and I take them as instantaneous classics from this work. Among the non-single tracks, I would point out Sweet Surrender (a song with brilliant lyrics that sounds as a gorgeous anthem when associated to the amazing synths created by Vince for this one), Because Our Love Is Real (a beautiful ballad whose lyrics I particularly adore) and I Bet You’re Mad At Me (another beautiful ballad that I took a long time for loving and it was particularly great when was played on The Erasure Show tour). While No Doubt (a touching ballad), Let’s Take One More Rocket To The Moon (a captivating and sweet ballad) and I’ll Be There (a delightful dancing one) are just good ones and they really don’t thrill me a lot. In relation to the poor I Broke It All In Two (that reminds me a bit of the divine All Through The Night from Cyndi Lauper), I just ignore it. Well, I hope nobody is too shocked with my opinion about Nightbird, but I cannot lie…

    8 out of 10
    Reviewed by Ocean Soul, Rio de Janeiro
    28 January 2006 12:05 am (GMT)
  3. Nightbird is an ok album, but that’s all it is.. Something’s missing, maybe it’s Vince’s lack of ability writing excellent compositions or just the way it sounds. There is some very well written tracks: “breathe”, “here i go impossible again” and “sweet surrender”, but majority of the songs are just ok.

    6 out of 10
    Reviewed by jemuvompo, Finland
    30 January 2006 9:50 pm (GMT)
  4. by now the band look tired – useless lyrics, poor vocals and tragic production. their last best album was I SAY I SAY and ever since its been a long road to dumperville. my advice? hang up the satin slacks now and call it a day – its pitiful to see a massive band end up in wollies bargin bins

    1 out of 10
    Reviewed by leekaay, london
    16 April 2006 8:37 pm (GMT)
  5. This is a brilliant collection of songs. I loved yje album from the first play of it and haven’t stopped listening to it since! My favourite track is ‘Don’t Say You love Me’.

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by sue, malvern
    16 April 2006 9:10 pm (GMT)
  6. One of their best albums in my opinion. The sounds are very rich and crisp. Vocals are very varied and this gives a wonderful warm feel to the album. Not really a weak song on the album and certainly no fillers. The melodies are enlightening and the bass lines on some songs thumpingly good.

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Tiska, Slovenia
    19 April 2006 2:34 pm (GMT)
  7. I think it’s a very good album. I very love it! My favourite songs: No doubt, Breathe.

    8 out of 10
    Reviewed by Helga, Hungary
    15 August 2006 9:39 pm (GMT)
  8. I love it! Erasure have made a brilliant album! I love every song, some more than others, but on the whole, it’s in my mind 1 of the best that they have done!

    There are a few mid tempo songs but it wouldn’t be an erasure album without them.

    I hope they keep it up.

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Matt, S.Wales
    19 October 2006 5:46 pm (GMT)
  9. EXCELLENT!!!!!!!!ABSOLUTELY EXCELLENT ERASURE’S PRODUCTION. I LOVE THIS ALBUM A LOT.

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Carlos Chimeo, YUCCA VALLEY CA
    3 June 2007 7:10 am (GMT)
  10. AFTER THE FIRST LISTEN I LIKED VIRTUALLY EVERY SONG ON THIS ALBUM, APART FROM BECAUSE OUR LOVE IS REAL. THIS HAS NOT CHANGED. ALTHOUGH NOT BAD, IT IS THE ONLY WEAK TRACK IN MY OPINION. BREATHE IS A MASTERPIECE. EXCELLENT LYRICS FROM THE BOYS AND VOCALS ARE ANDY BELL AT HIS BEST. VINCE HAS CREATED PERFECT SYNTHS ON THIS. HERE I GO IMPOSSIBLE AGAIN- ANOTHER BRILLIANT TUNE. HOWEVER, MY FAVOURITE ON THE ALBUM IS I BET YOU’RE MAD AT ME.-WHEN I HEAR IT I CAN’T GET IT OUT OF MY HEAD- GENIUS.OTHER STAND OUT TRACKS: LET’S TAKE ONE MORE ROCKET TO THE MOON- SUBLIME. AND THE DANCE FRIENDLY ALL THIS TIME STILL FALLING OUT OF LOVE. SWEET SURRENDER ANOTHER FINE MELODY AND STRONG LYRICS.
    ALONG WITH THE INNOCENTS, CHORUS AND COWBOY, THIS IS UP THERE AS ONE OF THE BEST ALBUMS IN MY OPINION.

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by KEVIN, ESSEX
    4 July 2007 2:18 pm (GMT)
  11. Their best album since “Cowboy”. After releasing an acoustic style album (“Loveboat”) and their dreadful cover album (“Other People’s Songs”), Erasure are back with their original style of music.

    NO DOUBT [9/10]
    HERE I GO IMPOSSIBLE AGAIN [9/10]
    LET’S TAKE ONE MORE ROCKET TO THE MOON [10/10]
    BREATHE [10/10]
    I’LL BE THERE [8/10]
    BECAUSE OUR LOVE IS REAL [6/10]
    DON’T SAY YOU LOVE ME [10/10]
    ALL THIS TIME STILL FALLING OUT OF LOVE [8/10]
    I BROKE IT ALL IN TWO [7/10]
    SWEET SURRENDER [8/10]
    I BET YOU’RE MAD AT ME [10/10]

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Michael, Amarillo, TX
    27 July 2007 6:56 am (GMT)
  12. I think this has to be my favorite cd from Erasure. I just could not deal with anymore cds like Cowboy, Erasure, Loveboat. I needed this! It reminded me of the good early years of Erasure.

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by steve, usa
    1 August 2007 6:29 pm (GMT)
  13. I’m only 18 so I wasn’t hugely aware of Erasure’s 80’s & 90’s material apart from what my parents played on in the car as a child.
    The radio airplay of Breathe really hot me I loved the track and purchased the Nightbird album. Possibly one of the best Erasure albums ever, it’s full of catchy melodys, haunting lyrics and mindblowing vocals & syths.

    Although it starts out quite very mild I much prefer the latter part of this album especially All This Time Still Falling Out Of Love, Broke It All In Two and Sweet Surrender. It proves Erasure to be the best pop act ever, I no of no other whop after so long in the business can still produce a fantastic album.

    9 out of 10
    Reviewed by Shaun, Sunderland, UK
    16 October 2007 2:24 pm (GMT)
  14. An almost return to form. Good album, mix of great and good songs. Love I bet your mad at me, fantastic.

    7 out of 10
    Reviewed by P Elliott
    11 May 2011 11:03 am (GMT)
  15. I ran to buy the Promo copy (£45 if you please!) of Nightbird about a week before its release date; popped the CD into my trusty but ancient personal CD player and pressed play with ‘Fingers and Thumbs’ trembling with excitement. I wasn’t disappointed! The opening track alluded to I Say’s ‘Take Me Back’ and kick started what was to be the best erasure listening experience for a good while.

    The rest of the album proved that erasure were in a good place creatively. The album sounded fresh;( thanks in part to the long overdue departure of Gareth Jones), and despite 99.9% of the album comprising lave ballads, Andy writes from various emotional angles, giving the album variety in terms of mood and atmospheres, if not in theme.

    Here I Go Impossible proved a hit with a lot of fans and critics alike, but for me is one of the weakest tracks on the album; the lyrics sound way to formulaic and the production sounds as though Vince is ‘trying too hard’ to sound ‘modern’.

    LTOMRTTM; continues erasure’s attempts to get into the Guinness Book of World Record for the longest song titles ever with some style. A heart on sleeve slushy love song,with all the sweetness and innocence of a branch of Mothercare, it non-the-less emotes a magical warmth . Not my favourite by any stretch, but a worthy track. The album comes to life with the next track. ‘Breathe’ proved beyond shadow of doubt that when erasure ‘works’ it really works! Breathe is one of those ‘special’ songs that only erasure could have written; simple; slightly ambiguous lyrics, fantastic Vince sounds, wonderful melody and – wait for it – the first decent video in an age. All these elements conspired to highlight that erasure never needed a comeback because they’d never been away and the record buying public agreed, sending erasure back into the top 5 for the first time in a decade.

    The rest of the album is a bit of a mixed bag; again, I’ll be There sounds like V&A trying too hard, Because Our Love is as soft and slushy as Rocket, but lacks the sincerity. Sweet Surrender sounds great, but lyrically (despite admirable intentions) goes nowhere; All This Time is a Love To hate You wanna-be (and fails miserably). The excellent Don’t Say You Love Me makes it into one of my top time favourite erasure singles of all time, and like Breathe just has all the magic ingredients essential to successful erasure songs, whilst ‘I Broke it All’ and ‘I Bet You’re Mad’ echo the sentiment of erasure’s best ‘break up’ songs, reminiscent of ‘Love Affair’ and ‘Because You’re So Sweet’.

    Overall, Nightbird makes up for the lack of consistency of some of their post 1995 releases and shows a considerable step forward in terms of creativity and commercial popularity. Sadly this progression wasn’t to be maintained for their next release!

    8 out of 10
    Reviewed by Starlight UK
    4 August 2011 10:42 am (GMT)
  16. No Doubt – the second Erasure song to start with ‘woah’, an obvious indication that it’s going to be good – as the title says. Here I Go Impossible Again – flows along with words that work really well with the musical style of this album. Let’s Take One More Rocket To The Moon – a leisurely paced spaceship allowing Andy to point out all the stars along the way. Breathe – absolute classic, with similar crescendo qualities to Always. Worthy of reaching number four in the charts. I’ll Be There/Because Our Love Is Real – a slight dip, but both pleasant. Don’t Say You Love Me – a real singalong tune. All This Time Still Falling Out Of Love – the most urgent track on the album, and a strong one. I Broke It All In Two – again a slightly weaker song, but mainly because there are so many good ones with which to compare it. Sweet Surrender – lovely, enough said. I Bet You’re Mad At Me – another final track leaving you wanting more.

    8 out of 10
    Reviewed by Paul, UK
    4 August 2011 12:57 pm (GMT)
  17. If there ever was an album that should be in everyone’s collection it has got to be NIGHTBIRD. Not one weak track on the entire album. Vince and Andy are truly delivering their best work in years. I must have listened to this album hundreds of times by now and am still enjoying it!!!

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Thomas Janak. Birmingham/UK
    1 July 2012 12:44 am (GMT)
  18. A stunningly good album which ranks up their with the groups best. Highlights include
    HERE I GO IMPOSSIBLE AGAIN [9/10]
    LET’S TAKE ONE MORE ROCKET TO THE MOON [10/10]
    BREATHE [10/10]
    and the wonderful track:
    I BET YOU’RE MAD AT ME [10/10]

    8 out of 10
    Reviewed by Pmr31
    2 July 2013 3:51 pm (GMT)
  19. i tried so many times to find a way into getting to this album

    but it failed

    maybe due to the fact that was released 2005 and not 1991 for example

    ANDYs voice has become bad and vinces songwriting has become bad

    BREATHE is a good song maybe the only good on that album

    4 out of 10
    Reviewed by Christianz Germany
    14 November 2013 9:56 pm (GMT)
  20. This was a certainly return to form for Vince, There is a couple of weak tracks, other than that, the rest just sends shivers down my spine, capturing emotions that I have never felt before………..

    Grand job boys…… love Breathe & Bet you’re mad at me

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Steve
    20 December 2013 4:06 pm (GMT)
  21. A fantastic album with some of the best Erasure songs for many years. Examples of classic tracks on this album include ‘Here I Go Impossible Again’, ‘Breathe’ and ‘Don’t say you love me’.

    An album which everybody should have in their CD collections…

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Brendan, Surrey
    25 January 2014 2:07 pm (GMT)

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