Record of the Day: Everything But The Girl, "Worldwide"

Record of the Day: Everything But The Girl, “Worldwide”

Everything But The Girl
Worldwide (Cd Atlantic 782322-2)

Over the course of their more than twenty-year musical career Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn, better known as Everything But
The Girl, have undergone numerous musical metamorphoses, often extreme, going from the folk/pop of the first albums “Eden” and “Love Not Money” to the orchestral romantic atmospheres of “Baby the Stars Shine Bright”, through the sophisticated pop of “Idlewild” and “The Language Of Life”, to arrive in more recent years at a radical change in their musical physiognomy by embracing the world of dance/techno, which allowed them to break into the charts all over the world thanks to records like “Missing You” and “Temperamental”.

This continuous zigzagging between the most diverse musical genres has often disconcerted those who followed them, provoking opposite reactions towards this continuous desire to go beyond the goals already achieved without ever repeating themselves. The only common thread in this perpetual wandering is Tracey’s voice, among the most beautiful in the history of pop.

“Worldwide” is one of their best albums, and is located in a land of transition between the essentially acoustic dimension of the initial works and the electronic suggestions of the latest ones. Ben Watt begins to use synthesizers and electronic drums with great skill and taste (also making an explicit homage to Marvin Gaye of “Sexual Healing” in “Understandin’g”) but still leaving ample space for the piano and guitars. The intertwined vocal harmonies typical of their style, subsequently abandoned, are still present in a massive way and as always Watt and Thorn prove themselves to be one of the highest quality compositional teams on the British music scene writing songs such as “Old Friends”, “One Place” , “Politics Aside”, “Boxing and Pop Music” combining the sweetness of music with often bitter lyrics that cast a disillusioned gaze on the realities of life in common and relationships between people, sometimes drawing on autobiographical ideas.

The album was made shortly before a terrible illness (later described in chilling detail in his book “Patient”) brought Watt one step away from the grave.

Carlo Boccadoro, composer and conductor, was born in Macerata in 1963. He lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with soloists and orchestras in different parts of the world. He is the author of numerous books on musical topics.

This text is taken from “Lunario della musica: A record for every day of the year” published by Einaudi, courtesy of the author and the publisher.