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The Stereophonics have been one of the most popular bands in Britain for the best part of the last decade and this is a nicely timed greatest hits album representing band who rock music has such a broad appeal. Despite line up changes, fallings out and constant critical disdain Kelly Jones has driven the band from strength to strength going from the small Welsh village in which he grew up to the festival circuits of the world.
Contained in this packaged is twenty tracks covering the period from the debut "Word Gets Around" back in 1997 to "Pull the Pin" (so fans of recent hit Innocent will need to look elsewhere). The track listing is spot on. As a die hard fan of the band I obviously have personal favourites which have been excluded but for the purpose of a greatest hits album to represent the past decade of the bands success its ideal. Kelly Jones knows what fans want and he has chosen a great line up of songs here for the collection.
The phonics are one of those bands who you don't immediately realise how many songs you know and how many have been hits, till you hear them on a collection like this. The album kicks off with the Number 1 smash Dakota and doesn't slow down from there, racking through the crowd pleasing up tempo numbers including Have a Nice Day, Just Looking (perhaps one of Phonics most know songs) and the Performance and cocktails classics. The album only temporarily slows down for a few slower numbers including Mr Writer and Step on my old Size nines but for most of the CD its fast paced sing a long anthems.
And it wraps it all up with another of the bands biggest hits, the cover of handbags and Gladrags which surely everybody knows. As usual with these packages there are a couple of new tracks which detract a little from the flow of things (surely a record labels decisions to make sure fans buy it), a trait which personally I hate as when a band Im a fan of released a greatest hits I feel obliged to buy it for the completist side of things!
All in all A decade in the Sun reminds us all of what a fantastic band the Phonics are, from the short rock anthems telling tales of small town welsh life to the crowd pleasing rock classics it's a testament to one of the country's finest outputs and a band who hopefully will continue to go from strength to strength.
Also on Ciao
OK - I am a hardcore Stereophonics fan, I thought it was best to get that out of the way before I start with this. But this is a very honest review. So you may be a little surprised at what's to follow...
I've only just aquired this particular album. It was given to me as a gift. I wouldn't have bought it for myself. I have all the previous albums so I really don't see the point in spending money on the Greatest Hits too. However, that said, it is handy having all the hits on the same CD, particularly if you want to listen to them whilst driving...
Unfortunately, when it comes to the tracklisting, it could have been better for me personally - I do prefer a lot of the Stereophonics album tracks to the ones they released as singles. But it wouldn't be a Greatest Hits album if it didn't contain all their hits. And there comes a time in every band's life when they get inevitably get chivvied down this route by the record company, so I suppose ten years in (it's actually longer than ten years since they formed, but I think they are working back from the release of Dakota) is as good a time as any.
The first track on the album is, somewhat fittingly, Dakota, the bands first UK number one. The rest of the tracklisting is as follows: The Bartender and the Thief; Just Looking; Have a Nice Day; Local Boy in the Photograph; Maybe Tomorrow; Superman; Pick a Part That's New; My Own Worst Enemy; I Wouldn't Belive Your Radio; Your My Star; Mr Writer; Step on my Old Size Nines; Devil; It Means Nothing; A Thousand Trees; Vegas Two Times; Traffic; More Life in a Tramps Vest, and Handbags and Gladrags.
I would have really liked to have seen a couple of unplugged/ live versions on this album. Jones' voice is mindblowing (I've heard it from about four feet away and I still can't quite get my head around the fact that such a small bloke (5"6) can unleash such raw power in his vocal) and I would have gotten a lot more from this album had there been the opportunity to hear the band in a less 'produced' environment.
It's good value for money because of the number of tracks, but it's a very 'safe' bet. I think if somebody was listening to this as an introduction to the band then they wouldn't really get a true flavour of just what they can do. In my opinion, many of the group's better tracks are to be found on the 40-track delux version, which contains two discs.
So, my advice would be, fellas - buy that instead. Or, get yourself a copy of 'Language. Sex. Violence. Other?', and play it really, really loud. And, to the ladies - just get yoursef a copy of the DVD, which contains all of the band's music videos, best live performances and some extra footage, so you can see (as well as hear) the very lovely Mr Jones in glorious technicolour...best of both worlds if you ask me!
Also on CIAO.
Stereophonics are a welsh rock group who have been going for a number of years now and who have released a number of studio albums before, so I think it was time that they did release their greatest hits, titled decade in the sun. I think the title in its self sums up how they think about their career in music, its been very well for them and they have had some great hit singles.
They haven't always been a band that iv rushed out to buy their albums in the past but when I saw this one came out I got it pretty much straight away, I remember thinking before I looked at the album what songs have they done again, I looked at the back and recognised a few and remembered how good they are so I decided to buy it. After I had played the album through though I actually recognised most of the songs on there and really enjoyed the whole album from start to finish.
2.The Bartender And The Thief
4.Have A Nice Day
5.Local Boy In The Photograph
8.Pick A Part That's New
9.My Own Worst Enemy
10.I Wouldn't Believe Your Radio
11.You're My Star
13.Step On My Old Size Nines
15.It Means Nothing
16.A Thousand Trees
17.Vegas Two Times
19.More Life In A Tramps Vest
20.Handbags And Gladrags
This album is just fantastic there is just too much good songs on here to pick a favourite, but my top five must be Dakota, have a nice day, my writer, superman and handbags and the gladrags. I think that pretty much sums up the album though, each song has been a top 40 hit, each one I can remember well, and each one I love in its own way, stereophonics
I have always been indifferent to this group, finding Kelly's gravelly vocals more of a nuisance than something to get into and enjoy, yet they have managed to carve some decent tunes in their career. This best of gathers their biggest hits.
Who are they:
A Welsh rock group, who have had album and single success in the UK.
On this album:
The best track is the opener, 'Dakota' is as exciting as they ever got. A superb guitar hook and a chorus which just blows you away with the amount of energy behind it. Kelly's vocals are on top form and the verses here are possibly better than the chorus, one of those tracks which succeeds in delivering a catchy rocky sound with pop leanings.
'Bartender And The Thief ' is a raw and gritty affair and works better for it. The tale of love is given an edge and the brash chorus is the kind of moment which could start a pub brawl. 'Local Boy In The Photograph' is more refined and seems them in a more thoughtful mood, not as instant, but more rewarding for repeated listening. I rate 'A Thousand Trees' which has some very knowing lyrics and a chorus which goes round in your head.
Not one of the more widely known tracks, but one which is more intellectual.
Their cover of 'Handbags And Gladrags' is sufficient enough, staying true to the original and keeping enough sentimental charm. Better is the radio friendly 'Have A Nice Day' which perhaps signalled the end of the snarling rocky side and the start of the more commerical soft side of the group.
20 hits, an arty front cover, good value and well, it's just his voice which can grate!
For 10 years now the stereophonics have been churning out quality tracks, and this album combines them all into one album brilliantly.
From the early stuff including "traffic" and "a thousand trees" to the new tracks including "your my star", it's a fantastic album. All 20 tracks are great to listen along to and the hits come thick and fast.
The album opens up with thier number one song "Dakota" which sets the tone and standard for this album.
As with every greatest hits album there will always be one or two that you think the band have missed off but this one is different and i cant think of any that should replace another track on the album.
The classics "local boy in the photograph" and "bartender and the thief" sound just as good today as they did back when they were released.
Even if you are not the biggest Stereophonics fan i would still recommend getting this album as there are tracks on the album for everyone to listen to.
To last 10 years and to still continue to churn out top quality tracks is a tribute to them and this album reflects that.
This is a must buy for dedicated fans and something for everyone to listen to. A cracking album from one of the best bands around, lets hope the next 10 years are just as good.
Picking out the best tracks of the last 10 years, the Sterophonics have put together a collection which shows the development of their style and sound. Starting with the early tracks from 'word get around' through all their albums with stand out tracks such as 'The Bartender and the Thief', 'Pick a part that's new' and 'Hand bags and gladrags'. Hopefully this best of album will not be the end for the band, but an opportunity to underline the contributions made as they emerged from the death of Britpop into a fully fledged rock act.
The line up over the years may have changed but the quality of the music hasn't, the only criticism is that the album was not done in chronological order which would show progression much better. Hopefully the next 10 year of contribution will result in more of the same and the prospect of more great track in this vain.
It's hard to believe that Kelly Jones and the boys have been going for (over) a decade now and as a retrospective, 'A Decade In The Sun', pretty much covers all angles.
Sequentially, the album is a chronoligical mish-mash, throwng around cuts from all six of the band's albums.
The heavy and up-tempo is dealt with right away, with 'Dakota' and 'Bartender And The Thief' slotting in at number 1 & 2 respectively and from then on, no real mood is created.
After the weak, 'Have A Nice Day', relief comes in the shape of 'Local Boy In The Photograph', the early single that began to get the lads serious attention from critics and consumers alike. In fact, the material from the 'Word Gets Around' album is among the strongest in the band's canon and 'A Thousand Trees' is another track with a special place in the hearts of 'Phonics fans.
The album also features 4 of the 5 singles from the hugely popular 'Performace And Cocktails', and all the singles from the mellower, more introspective, 'Just Enough Education To Perform'.
'Maybe Tomorrow' is one of the strongest songs here and is one of the few groove based tracks the guys have pulled off with any real quality.
Like most greatest hits compliations, this will probably only appeal to fans of the band, but many people with a passing interest may find themselves wanting to dig a little deeper into the 'Phonics back catalogue.
Firstly let me start by saying that this has got to be the most anticipated Greatest Hits album ever! And boy is it great!
My Fiance brought me this as one of my Christmas presents and below you will find my personal review of each of the 20 (yes, 20!) tracks.
Dakota - This is a very fast paced guitar song which is quite a reminiscent song talking about lying around in summertime and the feelings of being in love.
The Bartender And The Thief - Quite an old song but yet again a classic (aren't they all!).
Just Looking - The guitar on this song is absolutely fantastic, the song talks about just looking at various things and not buying. Great song for singing at the top of your lungs!
Have A Nice Day - This song has a very happy vibe, the lyrics seem to be quite nonsensical but still a great song to have a good sing to.
Local Boy In The Photograph - This song has quite touching lyrics, it seems to be about a local boy who has passed away and how everyone has gathered to lay flowers and remember him the way he was.
Maybe Tomorrow - The vocals on this song are amazing as is the music. This song always provokes memories of summertime driving around listening to this as loud as possible without bursting my eardrums! Maybe tomorrow I'll find my way home..! The lyrics say it all there!
Superman - This song has a very fast tempo and is definitely one to be played loud! The drumming is amazing. Definitely a track for the summertime!
Pick A Part That's New - This song is talking of all things new and how you can do anything you want to do.
My Own Worst Enemy - The first of two brand new songs on the album; definitely worth a listen anyway!
I Wouldn't Believe Your Radio - I think most people would recognise this song even if they weren't fans of the Stereophonics.
You're My Star - The second of two brand new songs on the album; it was released recently and is a very catchy song with an upbeat vibe.
My Writer - This is one of my favourite Stereophonics numbers and has a fantastic rift to it whilst being a slow song talking about the way of the media.
Step On My Old Size Nines - This is quite a philosophical song wondering about life and where we are going and what will we get from this world. Not one of my favouite Stereophonics songs but still a deserving one for this album.
Devil - This song is just all about the Devil, quite a loud song with rather questionable lyrics. Still a good one in my opinion.
It Means Nothing - This is a very emotion filled song.
A Thousand Trees - An absolute classic festival number from back in the early days of the Stereophonics talking about how it only take one tree to make a thousand matches and only takes one match to burn a thousand trees! Very true indeed, absolutely classic song which you can shout your heart out too!
Vegas Two Times - This song is about Las Vegas and gambling and Vietnam vet taxi rides. A very catchy song which will stay on your mind all day!
Traffic - This song was literally wrote while Kelly Jones was sitting in a traffic jam. This is festival favourite as everyone enjoys screaing along to this whilst drinking a few beverages! Talking about being stuck in traffic and idly wondering what other motorists are on their way to do or what they have in the boot of their cars!
More Life In A Tramp's Vest - I do not rate this song very highly and could think of other songs which would be more deserving for the greatest hits. Its quite a short number and not many words to worry about remembering thats probably the plus of the song!
Handbags And Gladrags - This is a fantastic song to close the album. A great song that is crooned amazingly by Kelly Jones who has a voice to die for!
I would definitely recommend this song to young or old Stereophonics fans and even people who have never heard the Stereophonics before (where have you been all these years!) the album is worth every penny and comes completed with an inlay with all of the words plus photographs from the last 10 years. (Hence the name "A Decade In The Sun").
You can also find this review on ciao.co.uk under the same title, username katyeverett :)
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 The Bartender And The Thief
3 Just Looking
4 Have a Nice Day
5 Local Boy In The Photograph
6 Maybe Tomorrow
8 Pick a Part That's New
9 My Own Worst Enemy
10 I Wouldn't Believe Your Radio
11 You're My Star
12 Mr Writer
13 Step On my Old Size Nines
15 It Means Nothing
16 A Thousand Trees
17 Vegas Two Times
19 More Life in a Tramps Vest
20 Handbags and Gladrags