World Be Gone

Onge's Review

Over the years Erasure have written several songs influenced by politics, covering topics ranging from Thatcherism to the Gulf War, but have never gone as far as creating an entire politically charged album. Although World Be Gone isn't quite a protest album in the strictest sense, it's the closest thing the band have come to recording one, with the Donald Trump presidency and Brexit Zeitgeist influencing the general mood of proceedings. Opening track and lead single Love You To The Sky however, sees the band sticking with familiar territory and is very much a pop song, with tribal percussion and a catchy chorus. The track is a little too generic and by the numbers for my liking but a strong melody and rich arrangement help to gloss over any weaknesses. It's the most up-tempo track on the album by far - the rest of the album comes at a far slower pace. This shift in mood starts with the ethereal Be Careful What You Wish For!, which is a rhythmic warning song about the pitfalls of human nature. Layered both vocally and musically it sets up the tone for the rest of the album nicely – this is not an saccharine collection of songs. World Be Gone is next and is a powerful masterpiece. The shimmering, echoing synths sounds in the verses, the lush and poignant chorus and Andy's beautifully pitched vocals all help this track to soar amongst the band's finest ever efforts. Lyrically strong, with a plea for Man to make amends, this achingly beautiful composition is testament to the band's unrivalled quality after three decades writing together.

There are songs about world politics, and the overall tenor is much more reflective if not sombre. It still comes as some surprise that on virtual every song, Clarke and Bell pull goodies out of the bag... Thirty-plus years after they first formed and they're still delivering quality material? Other music acts of similar vintage, take note.

The Business Post

Next up is A Bitter Parting, a song that is driven by percussion which resembles a heart-beat. Despite the song's title, the song doesn't convey bitterness and is instead forgiving in its tone. There are some nice layered vocals and it's another mood track like with much of the album - you won't be dancing to this track. Nor will you be dancing to the sublime Still It's Not Over. A haunting and touching Moby-like piano arrangement drives this protest song about the troubles faced by gay rights activists with despair that their plight is still ongoing. Wondrous lush counter melody backing vocals reminiscent of I Say I Say I Say are perfectly pitched, but are slightly blighted by the overly distorted production. Powerful, moving and defiant but never preachy, it's an excellent song. The slow and reflective pace continues with Take Me Out Of Myself. Home to more beautiful layered vocals, the track is more sombre and considered than the live acoustic version the band debuted in Birmingham in 2016. Vince's understated arrangement is somewhat similar to some tracks from Snow Globe tracks and has a sweet, lullaby quality to it. Not an instant classic, but definitely a grower. Sweet Summer Loving follows and has more punch (although it's still very much a slow-tempo song), with its defiant, rhythmic, chant-like chorus. Lyrically the song's theme is about love, but the somewhat repetitive lyrics don't detract from this being a decent track.

Onge's Best/Worst Of

Top 3 Songs
  1. Lousy Sum Of Nothing
  2. World Be Gone
  3. Still It's Not Over
Bottom 2 Songs
  1. A Bitter Parting
  2. Love You To The Sky

The dark, foreboding Oh What A World is next which starts with a synth sound that resembles an alarm and this uneasy tone continues throughout. Andy's almost robotic vocals are unlike any other Erasure track with the song having a Depeche Mode vibe to it. The lyrics lament the state of the world, and particularly politics, over another wonderfully restrained arrangement. It's a strong track which takes a few listens to really start to fully appreciate. Next up is the majestic Lousy Sum Of Nothing which opens with a ticking sound and knell which musically seems to reference the Doomsday Clock. Lyrically, this song is a real protest at the injustices in the world, with Andy's all too real despair at public apathy and media manipulation. But it is the epic, masterful chorus that elevates this song to sit with their all-time greats - it's a powerful, epic beast and emphatically shows that the band are still very much at the top of their game after all this time. Just A Little Love concludes the album and along with the album's opening track, is the only remotely up-tempo and dance-floor friendly song on the album. Whilst other tracks have been downbeat in their tone, this track is more uplifting, if laced with some caution. The lyrics in the verses are somewhat sombre despite the chirpy arrangement but the chorus offers hope. It really feels like the listener has been on a journey listening to the album and that this track offers the light at the end of the tunnel. It's a real triumph, as a standalone track and as an album conclusion.

Summary

World Be Gone is a mature and reflective album, one that makes a statement about the state of global affairs in 2017. Whilst often downbeat and sombre, it's achingly touching whilst never being depressing or devoid of hope. It's one of their most significant albums and one that deserves a wide audience, not least being it challenges the political climate rather than trying to sweep it under the carpet. There are some missteps with the production, especially with the vocals which can sound a tad distorted at times, and as a result World Be Gone could have benefited from an outside producer instead of being self-produced. There are few instantly gratifying melodies and the album is almost made up entirely of slow-tempo tracks with minimal percussion, but it's an album that stays with you when you've finished listening to it. A real grower, World Be Gone is sombre, thought-provoking and beautiful.

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. 32 years into the partnership and Erasure are doing some serious observations of global current events. Its a world full of many things that are collapsing,rebelling or fighting around us. Erasure have hinted on these subjects in the past, but never a complete album full of these observations. I applauded them for going down the road that many will either love or not accept. Apart from the obvious upbeat LYTTS, the remaing parts of World Be Gone examines topics that focuses on hard subjects with an Erasure touch- strong vocals from Andy and minimal lush production by Vince creates a very atmospheric album #17.

    Erasure have not been in such a dark place before but it shows they are not afraid to open up and show what concerns them, even at the risk of alienating some of their fan base. You really have to hand it to them after coming up with Violet Flame with a mix of classic Erasure and now going Polar opposite to that album. It will be rather difficult to see how this album would have turned out with a named producer but by now, Vince and Andy know what Erasure should sound like and they really do an amazing job on this project. I would say that such a great album is rather on the short side, I would have loved some Vince interludes between some tracks to almost create an Erasure 2 soundtrack. Some tracks lend themselves to this possible treatment and would have made for a real seamless mix. I will also say that overall I think Andy was influenced by his Torsten stint as his lyrics sound a bit mature, but really don’t like the overuse of the word Baby. As for Vince, I was hoping he really busted out the old synths and have a more minimal Yazoo sound. You can still hear them but not as meaty sounding except for Oh What A World. Vince still does a great job mixing up the sounds with Andy’s beautiful layered backing vocals. It makes it interesting to see how these songs will play live but I’m sure they will mix it up again.

    It would have been great if World Be Gone would be an amazing duet with Annie Lennox and Andy Bell- as two angelic singers on this highlight track of the album. It would have really put this album over the top in my opinion. Let’s hope we get some bonus material on future singles. This will make up for a short album. Daniel Miller must be beaming at his beloved Erasure now- BRAVO, at a # 6 placing in the UK album charts.

    7 out of 10
    Reviewed by Mike DePaz
    27 May 2017 1:21 am (GMT)
  2. Tracks 1-4 and 8-10 are good, but its the sagging middle section of the album I have a problem with, still its not over, take me out of myself and sweet summer loving sounding all very samey and are probably far to slow, this is where an experienced producer would have approached these songs differently and changed things, World Be Gone is not a patch on previous album Violet Flame but has it’s moments and offers something slower and different from the usual Erasure up tempo bangers

    6 out of 10
    Reviewed by Burt
    30 May 2017 8:54 pm (GMT)
  3. World Be Gone feels like a “Vince album”, with down-tempo tracks and world-conscious lyrics. Personally, it’s an album I’ve been waiting for from the boys since 2007’s Light at the End of the World. I love Erasure’s dancy tracks as much (ok probably more!) as the next guy, but my heart has always been with their slower, mid-tempo songs.
    It does feel like something of a “spiritual successor” to I Say, but I can hear influences and similarities to several previous albums. Some have said that the album is “sombre” but I disagree. I don’t know that Erasure could write a sombre album if they tried. However, if you look at some of Vince’s early works, there was often a hint of sadness, sarcasm, maybe even depression.
    I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead – what a title!
    Happy People – snarky lyrics about the complacent masses
    Never Never – possibly the saddest lyrics ever in a pop single!
    My Heart… So Blue – not exactly uplifting lyrics either

    Over the years, I think Andy has countered Vince’s seriousness with his onstage antics and relationship-heavy lyrics, but World Be Gone to my ear sounds like the kind of album Vince wants to make. His presence is stunning on World Be Gone. Headphones are a must!
    But – how am I supposed to know what’s in Vince’s head, what’s on his mind? This is all pure speculation. It’s great to see V&A produce their own music, they way want. That said, there are a few spots on the album that could have used a bit more production. Sweet Summer Loving is a perfect example of a song that could have been so much more, and though I love it, it’s missing something. Take Me Out Of Myself and Just A Little Love sound more like b-sides than album worthy songs. Be Careful What You Wish For! stands out; the instrumental break in A Bitter Parting is divine. We hear some interestingly dark new sounds in Oh What a World and the title track World Be Gone is possibly one of Erasure’s best ever.
    Though I can’t say it will rank in my mind up there with Chorus and I Say (true 5 star albums if there ever were any), World Be Gone is truly stunning and will be held in high regard for many years. I just hope they keep giving us more albums like this.

    8 out of 10
    Reviewed by glazball
    31 May 2017 5:00 pm (GMT)
  4. Not sure what to think about this record, an interesting change but for me too many slow songs.

    The vocals are poor, recorded incorrectly, the music is good in some parts, sounds like an old DM album.

    Some very highs, followed by very lows. Not one of my Favs I’m afraid.

    5 out of 10
    Reviewed by Steve from Kent
    5 June 2017 9:09 pm (GMT)
  5. what can i say to this work? This one is not for me…ist erasure for sure but it doesnt kick me like other works before. My favorite is world be gone but the rest is not a Highlight. please go back to the erasure Feeling….

    3 out of 10
    Reviewed by markus from germany
    9 June 2017 9:10 pm (GMT)
  6. My favourite Erasure album is “I Say, I Say, “I Say”. When I first heard it, I thought it was dreadful, boring, uninteresting, unmemorable etc. How wrong was I. And, as with most Erasure albums, “World Be Gone” is a grower. It rather left me cold after the first listening; disappointed that the balance of tempo is noticeably weighted far too much towards slower and mid-tempo songs.
    Although I adore Erasure’s more thoughtful mood and slower material, (Ship of Fools, Home, Siren Song, Am I Right, In My Arms), it’s nice to counterpoint it with the dance numbers we’ve come to expect. However, after three of four listens, this album is really staying with me, and every track has been running round my head this week at some point. It’s definitely got something special about it, and is a worthy addition to their repertoire.
    I adore the opening drum pattern, and have grown to love the first single, especially when the chorus kicks in each time. And the album really needs this up-beat opener.
    Tracks 4 and 10 don’t really make the grade, but the rest are fine. Easily the best for me are “Lousy Sum of Nothing”, with its beautiful chorus, and “Oh What a World”, which is refreshingly different to anything they’ve previously recorded. “Be Careful What You Wish For” is really nice, but reminds me so much of something that I can’t quite put my finger on. “World Be Gone” and “Still It’s Not Over” are also excellent tracks. Those not mentioned are so-so.
    Lyrically, it’s great to hear a deeper tone and reflective vibe. Most welcome indeed.
    Overall, it’s become a very enjoyable album for me, but ranking somewhere in the middle. Not in the glorious realm of “I Say”, “The Innocents”, “Chorus” or “Cowboy”, but certainly a lot better than the major disappointments that were, “Loveboat’, “Nightbird”, “Snow Globe” and “The Violet Flame”.
    Great that a band that’s been around for so long can still deliver such quality songs, in that eternal quest to write pure perfection.

    7 out of 10
    Reviewed by Paul Linn, Lyon, France
    13 June 2017 6:38 pm (GMT)
  7. I realise that this album has polarised many fans, but damn it, I like it. Is it up there with their heyday?, possibly not, but its a fine album, with well crafted songs that lyrically, tackle more interesting subject matter than on recent albums. I can’t say I dislike any of the tracks and, personally, I love the fact that it’s very mellow and chilled.
    The main issue for many fans is that the album doesn’t have enough up tempo songs. With 30+ years worth of albums out there is plenty of dance able music from the duo’s back catalogue. Highlights for me are World be gone, take me out of myself and just a little love.

    7 out of 10
    Reviewed by Paraic Dublin
    14 June 2017 11:58 am (GMT)

Review this album

Use the form below to write your own review of this album. Your review can be a few sentences long or several paragraphs - the length is entirely up to you.