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Grace / Wastelands

13 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 24, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

2009 debut solo album from the Libertines and Babyshambles leader. The album was recorded at Olympic Studios in London last autumn and is produced by legendary producer Stephen Street (The Smiths, Blur) Grace/Wastelands features a number of special guests. Blur guitarist Graham Coxon, plays on almost all of the cuts and singer Dot Allison performs co-vocals on the track, 'Sheepskin Tearaway'. Peter's Babyshambles band mates, Mik Whitnall, Adam Ficek and Drew McConnell also play on the album.


Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 24, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Astralwerks
  • ASIN: B001QCJNN6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,799 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ArcadiaBeliever on December 18, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I got this album after I read Doherty's book "Books of Albion", which is a collection of his personal journals and poetry. After reading all of that, I have come to have a better understanding his drug addiction and poor choices. After listening to this album, I have come to the conclusion that "Grace/Wastelands" can be seen as Doherty rediscovering his Arcadia.

Even in Doherty's time in The Libertines there has always been a motif between himself and his former bandmate Carl Barât; Arcadia. Arcadia is the central mountain region of Greece and is seen as a place where life is easy. According to a Greek Mythology Dictionary, Arcadia is a place where "human beings lived in contentment and harmony with the natural world."

This album reflects the idea of Arcadia and brings it to life. The first track "Arcady", literally describes Arcadia itself and is very happy and upbeat. There isn't a hurtful thought in it.

The next track is "Last of the English Roses," this song, in my view at least, emphasizes his love for life at a younger age. Doherty describes a lady who can "charm the bees knees of the bees" and he also mentions his friends and how they would laugh and play together. This can be connected back to his rather serious relationship with Kate Moss. Pete ruined his friendships with Barât and the rest of his bandmates in The Libertines and I think this song is him reviewing his past relationships at a more happy part of his life that he may even consider to be Arcadia.

Looking at the structure of how this album was set up, we can see it as a time line.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Hallinan on May 20, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a rich, beautiful, muted, heartbreaking and occasionally exhilarating CD. All the media crap aside, Doherty is the real thing, an artist who can put deepest and sometimes his darkest impulses into memorable, if often heartbreaking songs. His singing is perfect: he never gets in the lyrics' way and his phrasing is totally his own. And there's not enough to be said for the production. It's immaculate.

What's worrisome is that most of these are old songs. I'd be terrifically happy to hear a dozen new songs, if only to demonstrate that Pete's still turning them out.

But this is a collection that just gets richer with repeated listening.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By JG on May 18, 2010
Format: Audio CD
If someone played this CD for me and didn't tell me who it was, I'd never guess Pete Doherty. If they then told me who it was, I'd say "The Pete Doherty who's been on a slow motion trainwreck to self destruction on the front page of tabloids for much of the last decade? That Pete Doherty?".

Most people probably wouldn't characterize Mr. Doherty's heroin induced public conduct as mature. Well, folks, I'm here to tell you that after just a couple of spins of this CD, this is mature music and songwriting. With the possible exception of "Sweet By and By", which, with its New Orleans brass band sound doesn't quite seem to fit in with the rest of the album, for the most part, this is a great record.

It's been said that good songwriting comes only from people who wrestle with problems, internal strife, psychological issues, etc. Who knows whether that's really true or not, but if there is any truth to that, then Grace/Wastelands is a good record to use as an example in support of that argument.

It doesn't hurt matters that the great guitarist and creator of retro ambience, Graham Coxon, plays on most of the tracks.

This is music that will stand the test of time. Now, if Mr. Doherty can just keep the momentum of what he's done here going, we can look forward to more good stuff, and hopefully, look back at his self destructive tabloid days as just a phase.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nse Ette TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 24, 2009
Format: Audio CD
First thing I noticed about Pete Doherty's solo debut was the addition of an "r" to his forename, an attempt to leave the papparazzi infested past behind and forge ahead with more seriousness? Perhaps!

Second thing I noticed was the song titles. I'd read in an interview he gave where he confessed to being influenced by literature. "Titles are almost the be all and end of the song" he stated. Well, a look at the song titles and one could be forgiven for mistaking them for chapters from some literary classic.

Produced by Stephen Street, Doherty will shock most who had written him off due to his battling with Amy Winehouse for tabloid supremacy, thanks to his extra curricular drug activities which tend to overshadow his excellent songwriting skills, especially on display here.

Much more sublime and uncommercial than songs from his previous groups Libertines and Babyshambles, much of the album is acoustic and Folky, from opening cut "Arcady", through "1939 returning" (with an intro that sounds like some TV show theme, and lyrics portraying wartime imagery), "I am the rain" (a nice sing-along which picks up tempo towards the end), to the tender "Sheepskin tearaway" (which finds him harmonizing with some breathy female - Dot Allison).

"Sweet by and by" is horn-peppered piano-driven Cabaret. So languid and laid back, he yawns and sings at the same time, adding to its kitsch and charm.

For a fuller sound, we have songs like the groovy "Last of the English roses", "Salome" (with lyrics alluding to the biblical daughter of King Herod that demanded John the Baptists head on a silver platter), "Palace of bone", "Broken love song", "New love grows on trees" (with sporadic bursts of fuzzy guitar), and "Lady don't fall backwards".
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