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Passionoia


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Audio CD, September 2, 2003
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Passionoia + Facts of Life + England Made Me
Price for all three: $55.07

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 2, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: One Little Indian Us
  • ASIN: B0000AYL46
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #271,198 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. The School Song
2. GSOH Q.E.D.
3. British Racing Green
4. Being Number One
5. The New Diana
6. These Are the Things
7. Andrew Ridgley
8. When Britain Refused to Sing
9. Girls Guide for the Modern Diva
10. I Ran All the Way Home

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul Ferrell Brown on April 25, 2003
Format: Audio CD
So far, there's no word of a U.S. release for this album. With any luck that situation will be corrected soon, as "Passionoia" is the best Black Box Recorder album yet. The sound is a shade brighter than their past efforts-- a little more emphasis on synthesizers, pretty much an even split between live drums and programmed rhythms-- but this only serves to enhance the cynicism and bleakness of the words Sarah Nixey sings in her incongruously ethereal voice. The album opener, "School Song", extends the grand British tradition of castigating the rigidity and individuality-destroying aspects of the educational system, with Nixey speak-singing the role of the cold, embittered teacher; and things only get darker from there, with tales of romantic disaster ("GSOH Q.E.D.") and unhealthy celebrity obsession ("The New Diana"), all set to stunningly gorgeous melodies. There's even a trace of hip-hop influence in the semi-rapped section of "When Britain Refused To Sing"-- and believe me, it works a whole lot better than Madonna's clumsy flow on "American Life". This is genuinely uncompromising music, all the more cutting for its deceptively upbeat sonic surfaces, and it's one of the finest albums of the year so far.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 28, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Like REM, Black Box Recorder seem to have a tradition of not having the lyrics in their album inlays. I had to print the lyrics for their two previous albums off of the Internet, but I can't seem to find the full lyrics for this new album which is really a shame because lyrics are essential with this band. This is the only complaint I have, though. Passionoia is pretty similar to Black Box Recorder's previous album, The Facts Of Life, so if you enjoyed it you'll love this. As usual, the sharp writing team of Haines & Moore keep exploring the beauty of the United Kingdom with an ever-present edge of irony & observation. Here they focus on the country's obsession with the royal family, the death of Princess Diana & rich celebrities. "These Are The Things" was a clever choice for a first single & it's entirely our loss that it didn't get any exposure. "Andrew Ridgley" evokes sweet memories from the 1980's (even if you didn't like Wham!). Basically all of the songs are equally good so I don't wanna do a song by song review as the album is really short & sweet & I want my review to reflect that. Buy this if you like The Facts Of Life, Britpop or Britain in general.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By chris. on May 7, 2003
Format: Audio CD
For all those familiar with Black Box Recorder and the geniuses behind it (John Moore and Luke Haines), you'll already know that perhaps the maturity level behind the music is low (not obscene, just elementary, specifically songs like "Facts of Life"). The fact is, though, that the British band Black Box Recorder is so fun to listen to with sexed up electronics, vocals and instrumentation.
I must say that I fell in love with the band with their second true LP, "The Facts of Life." Sarah Nixey's voice comes into the tracks as soft whispers, usually silently sexy, but on this release, many times her vocals are drown out by the back-up vocals, like in "GSOH Q.E.D." and "British Racing Green." This makes me sad. As kitchy, catchy and cute as the vocals are, they just aren't up to par.
The first time I think the album could be getting better is in "British Racing Green" when we hear a majority of solo from Nixey with just a little bass going in the background, the topics once again dealing with British culture, rock 'n' roll and love (I think it could be safely said that these topics pretain to most of their songs).
"Being Number One" starts with great, slightly dark electronics and seems to be one of those songs you really would get on the dance floor with. Here, we hear the use of back-up vocals ENHANCING what's already there, and thank god. I think at this point, you can safely assume that Black Box Recorder is good again (and thank god).
"The New Diana" makes me want to classify Black Box Recorder as Eletroclash, the music movement of course dealing with image over musicianship, and I think we can see here that maybe Black Box Recorder is just that, this sexy band with a sexy lead singer and sexy subjects.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 30, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Black Box Recorder goes lush pop! If their previous record was BBR doing Air, Passionoia sounds a bit like Different Class PULP if BBR's Sarah Nixey was singing instead of Jarvis Cocker. There are lots of great hooks and fat sounds on this record. It's nice to hear a group not trying to obscure their pop side, which seemed to be the trend of the 90s and early 2000s.
My criticisms are minor. Sometimes, they are trying too hard to be clever. The "We are English, We are Cheeky, and We are Black Box Recorder" routine wears on the nerves after a while. I also wish they'd use other vocalists in addition to Sarah Nixey's. She can do the timid, fey, girlie thing - but this album rocks in places where her vocals don't.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Demetrius A. Armstrong on September 3, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Black Box Recorder's third album represents a departure in more ways than one. Dominated mostly by upbeat drum machine driven melodies, the only really familiar thing here is Sarah Nixey's spoken word/soft melody delivery. This is Black Box Recorder's least rewarding album. One of the main reasons being their lyrical ingenuity. While it's still above average, it falls to bring the songs up to the previous level of quality that was once standard for this group. There is no "bad" song on this album, nothing stands out either. There is no "The Art of Driving", "Kidnaping an Heiress", or "The English Motorway System" here.

The album opener and highlight "The School Song" is entertaining, though they probably should have come up with something a little more innovative for the background chant than "black box recorder". "British Racing Green", and "The New Diana" can be reminding of previous better songs, but are good enough to listen to in the moment. Songs like "Andrew Ridgely" and "These Are the Things" however, should have been b-sides.

Black Box Recorder captured some of the things that make them unique on Passionoia. They just didn't do it as well as they did on "England Made Me", or the even better "The Facts of Life"
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