I’ve never been completely sure about Badly Drawn Boy. I quite liked the singles I heard off the debut album, but it was never really top of my to-buy list, and most of the stuff I’ve heard since then has been quite safe and boring. And I’ve always felt the same way about this album, which I was inspired to buy after hearing a couple of songs on the radio.
Those two songs (“Silent Sigh” and “Something To Talk About”) are well worth the price of the album alone, but much of the rest of the album does tend to pale in comparison. As this is a soundtrack, it’s to be accepted that there’s a fair bit of incidental music, but a few of the songs feel a bit incidental too (“File Me Away”, “River-Sea-Ocean”). “Donna & Blitzen” is a great closer though, and fits the brief of being a fictional famous Christmas song nicely.
My main gripe with this album though is that it feels a bit schmaltzy and cloying in places. It’s all a bit “nice” and parts actually remind of the old Grange Hill music. Maybe that’s what Badly Drawn Boy was going for, but, while it may work in the film, it’s not quite as effective on record.
There are enough cracking songs on here to make it worth sitting through though, and I enjoyed listening to it this time around a lot more than I thought I would.