A Curious Thing

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For the Once Upon a Time episode, see A Curious Thing (Once Upon a Time).
A Curious Thing
Studio album by Amy Macdonald
Released 8 March 2010 (2010-03-08)
Genre Pop rock, soft rock
Length 50:18
Label Melodramatic, Mercury
Producer Pete Wilkinson
Amy Macdonald chronology
This Is the Life
(2007)
A Curious Thing
(2010)
Life in a Beautiful Light
(2012)
Singles from A Curious Thing
  1. "Don't Tell Me That It's Over"
    Released: 1 March 2010
  2. "Spark"
    Released: 10 May 2010
  3. "This Pretty Face"
    Released: 19 July 2010
  4. "Love Love"
    Released: 4 October 2010
  5. "Your Time Will Come"
    Released: 17 December 2010

A Curious Thing is the second album by Scottish singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald, and was released on 8 March 2010.[1] The album's lead single, "Don't Tell Me That It's Over" (containing "Young lovers" as b-side), was released on 1 March 2010.[2][3] The album was confirmed for release in late 2009, and the album's title and track listing was confirmed in January 2010.

Five singles have since been released from A Curious Thing. The album's lead single, "Don't Tell Me That It's Over" was released worldwide on 1 March 2010 and this was followed by the release of a second single "Spark" on 10 May 2010. Further singles were released, with the third being "This Pretty Face" which was a minor success in European countries such as Germany, where Macdonald holds a strong fanbase. A further two singles were released, "Love Love" and "Your Time Will Come", both in late 2010. The album has sold 1,500,000 copies worldwide.

Background[edit]

Macdonald began writing songs for her second album in spring 2009, in a brief break from her touring commitments. For the first time she began poring through her old notebooks, looking at song ideas, unlike her debut which consists mainly of songs that she wrote straight away.[4] Many of the tracks were inspired by real-life personalities or events from her everyday life. Contrary to some reports, she did not write "Spark" for murdered toddler James Bulger after watching a TV programme on his murder.[5] "What Happiness Means to Me" is dedicated to her footballer fiancé Steve Lovell,[2] while "An Ordinary Life" is inspired by the "Z-list celebs" she saw flocking around Scots-born Hollywood actor Gerard Butler at a party he held in Glasgow late 2009 to mark the opening of his film Law Abiding Citizen.[4] "My Only One" is partly about her late grandparents and partly about Michael Jackson.[2] The tracks were recorded at Weller's BlackBarn Studios in Surrey.[1]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[6]
BBC Music (favourable)[7]
The Daily Telegraph 3/5 stars[8]
Daily Express 3/5 stars[9]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[10]
MusicOMH 3.5/5 stars[11]
NME (5/10)[12]
The Press 3/5 stars[13]
The Scotsman 2/5 stars[14]
The Times 3/5 stars[15]

The album garnered mixed reviews. At aggregator website AnyDecentMusic? the album scored 5.4/10.[16] Paul Lester of BBC Music gave the album a positive review, calling it "a triumphant return" and went on to add that "it is a bold, grand statement of intent, full of songs of epic sweep that build to undeniable choruses, to be enjoyed by the largest possible audiences". He also praised Macdonald's vocal performance comparing it to the likes of Dolores O'Riordan and Sinéad O'Connor.[7] MusicOMH's Jenni Cole complimented Macdonald's songwriting ability, stating that her lyrics "display a maturity way beyond her years, which she marries to a wistfulness the most hardened bluesman would envy". She continued by saying that "her songwriting (in both style and substance) recalls the early days of Kirsty MacColl, while her deeper vocals have more in common with Alison Moyet. It's a match made in heaven."[11] Ian Sime of The Press noticed that the record "is very similar in feel and approach to its predecessor and should appeal to those who enjoyed This Is The Life" and that it has "an earthy rock edge comparable to Travis, Keane and The Killers."[13] Sarah-Louise James of the Daily Star commented on Macdonald's voice: "her galloping guitar pop-rock and husky Celtic voice combo sounds richer, bigger and more confident than on her monster debut",[17] while Simon Gage from Daily Express hailed the album's lead single Don't Tell Me That It's Over, saying that it "sets a furious pace with guitars and drums that frame her strong, slightly Irish-sounding voice" and concluded by stating that "the rest of the album follows suit with songs that stand up on their own, even without Amy’s obvious talent as a singer."[9]

Caroline Sullivan and Neil McCormick of The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph respectively, both gave the album favourable reviews, however they agreed that it doesn't really manage to stand out. Sullivan spotted that the "heartfelt, songwriterly tunes ... burrow into your consciousness but somehow fail to register on a deeper level"[10] and McCormick felt that it is lacking "anything truly distinctive or original to lift her above the massed ranks of young singer-songwriters."[8] The Times's Kaya Burgess did not share the other reviewers' excitement about the lyrics, saying that they "don’t quite match the striking power of Macdonald’s vocals", however he observed that "when the melodrama and crashing drums fade away on the piano-led What Happiness Means to Me we glimpse the soul behind the big voice."[15]

Noel Gardner of the NME gave the album a mixed review, saying that it is "predictable" and too "Scottish", in the sense that its "folkish Ford Mondeo pop upholds the nation’s legacy of pleasantly anthemic drivetime belters."[12] Fiona Shepherd of The Scotsman gave the album a negative review, stating that the artist "seems to take a step backwards on her second album with an anachronistic 1980s sound and predictable lyrics about the pressures of fame (An Ordinary Life), the perils of hype (Next Big Thing) and the culture of image-over-talent (This Pretty Face)."[14]

Release[edit]

A Curious Thing was released in the United Kingdom on Monday 8 March 2010.

Singles[edit]

  • "Don't Tell Me That It's Over" is the lead single from the album, it was released on 26 February 2010 in Germany and 1 March 2010 in the UK. Although it only managed to peak at #48 in the UK, it has so far made the Top 10 in Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
  • "Spark" is the confirmed 2nd single from the album. Amy Macdonald herself said on a gig she filmed the video on 23 March in Loch Lomond. The Amy Macdonald website revealed that Spark will be released on 10 May 2010,[18] and the video has also been released for it[19]
  • "This Pretty Face" is the confirmed third single from the album, to be released on 19 July 2010. The music video for the song has been created and is available to view through Macdonald's official website and YouTube channel.[20]
  • "Love Love" is the confirmed fourth single from the album. It was released as a digital download EP on 4 October 2010.[21] The music video was released on 23 September 2010.[22]
  • "Your Time Will Come" is the confirmed fifth single from the album, which was released on 17 December 2010.[23] The music video for the song is available through Macdonald's official website.[20]

Track listings[edit]

All tracks were written by Amy Macdonald except where shown.

Standard edition[edit]

A Curious Thing – standard edition
No. Title Length
1. "Don't Tell Me That It's Over"   3:15
2. "Spark"   3:07
3. "No Roots"   4:30
4. "Love Love"   3:17
5. "An Ordinary Life"   3:36
6. "Give It All Up"   2:55
7. "My Only One"   3:32
8. "This Pretty Face"   3:57
9. "Troubled Soul"   4:47
10. "Next Big Thing"   3:31
11. "Your Time Will Come"   4:32
12. "What Happiness Means to Me / Dancing in the Dark" (hidden track) 9:21

Deluxe edition[edit]

The Deluxe 2-disc-set includes the standard version of the album and the full live recording from Amy’s homecoming show at Glasgow Barrowlands in December 2007.

Deluxe edition CD 2
No. Title Length
1. "Poison Prince"   3:40
2. "Youth Of Today"   4:03
3. "L.A."   3:47
4. "Footballer's Wife"   5:12
5. "Mr Rock & Roll"   3:37
6. "Mr Brightside" (written by The Killers) 4:12
7. "The Road To Home"   2:27
8. "This Is The Life"   3:14
9. "Run"   3:48
10. "Rock 'n' Roll Star"   5:07
11. "Let's Start A Band"   5:31
12. "Caledonia"   2:32
13. "Fairy Tale Of New York"   5:48
14. "Barrowland Ballroom"   4:40

Special orchestral edition[edit]

The Special Orchestral 2-disc-set includes the standard version of the album and plus a bonus disc containing live orchestral versions recorded on 17 October 2010. It was recorded live for Universal Music and SR1 in Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg), performed with the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Orchestra, conducted by Gast Waltzing.

Special Orchestral Edition CD 2
No. Title Length
1. "An Ordinary Life (Live Philharmonic Orchestral Version)"   4:50
2. "Spark (Live Philharmonic Orchestral Version)"   4:04
3. "Footballer's Wife (Live Philharmonic Orchestral Version)"   5:02
4. "Mr. Rock & Roll (Live Philharmonic Orchestral Version)"   4:27
5. "Your Time Will Come (Live Philharmonic Orchestral Version)"   5:34
6. "Youth Of Today (Live Philharmonic Orchestral Version)"   4:23
7. "This Pretty Face (Live Philharmonic Orchestral Version)"   4:35
8. "Don't Tell Me That It's Over (Live Philharmonic Orchestral Version)"   4:38
9. "No Roots (Live Philharmonic Orchestral Version)"   5:48
10. "This Is The Life (Live Philharmonic Orchestral Version)"   4:46
11. "What Happiness Means To Me (Live Philharmonic Orchestral Version)"   5:44
12. "Let's Start A Band (Live Philharmonic Orchestral Version)"   5:20

Personnel[edit]

  • Mixed by – Danton Supple
  • Producer, arranged by – Pete Wilkinson
  • Written by, vocals, guitar – Amy Macdonald

Charts and certifications[edit]

The album entered the UK Albums Chart on 14 March 2010 at number 4. It entered the Swiss Albums Chart at number 1 on 21 March 2010, making it her second album to get to number 1 in Switzerland. It also peaked at number 1 in Germany and Austria. The album has sold 1,000,000 copies. Spending 65 weeks on the German Albums Chart, A Curious Thing is MacDonald's second album to stay on that chart for more than a year despite a significant decrease to her debut album which spent 101 weeks on that chart with 36 weeks of them in the top 10.[24][25]

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2010) Position
Ö3 Austria Top 40[45] 15
Ultratop[46] 13 & 26
Dutch Albums Chart[47] 31
European Top 100 Albums[48] 18
German Albums Chart[49] 6
Swiss Albums Chart[50] 2
Chart (2011) Position
German Albums Chart[51] 80

Chart succession[edit]

Preceded by
Hoodoo by Krokus
1983 by Sophie Hunger
Swiss Albums Chart number-one album
21 March  – 10 April 2010 (first run)
18 April – 1 May 2010 (second run)
Succeeded by
1983 by Sophie Hunger
Iron Man 2 (Soundtrack) by AC/DC
Preceded by
Große Freiheit by Unheilig
German Albums Chart number-one album
26 March 2010 – 15 April 2010
Succeeded by
Große Freiheit by Unheilig
Preceded by
Plastic Beach by Gorillaz
Austrian Albums Chart number-one album
26 March 2010 – 22 April 2010
Succeeded by
Slash by Slash
European Top 100 Albums number-one album
3 April 2010 – 23 April 2010
Succeeded by
The Fame by Lady Gaga

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Amy Macdonald: I'm not thinking about marriage yet because it would mean taking break from my career". The Daily Record. Archived from the original on 12 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  2. ^ a b c Sweeney, Chris (2010-01-20). "Amy Macdonald is back with her second album". London: The Sun. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  3. ^ By: (2010-01-26). "Amy Macdonald: Hit or Miss?". Sugarscape. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  4. ^ a b "Amy Macdonald — Biography". Amymacdonald.co.uk. Archived from the original on 21 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  5. ^ "Music Interview Amy MacDonald". Digital Spy. 2010-07-16. 
  6. ^ A Curious Thing - Amy MacDonald | AllMusic
  7. ^ a b 7:34pm. "Music - Review of Amy Macdonald - A Curious Thing". BBC. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  8. ^ a b McCormick, Neil (2010-03-05). "Amy MacDonald: A Curious Thing, CD review". London: Telegraph. Archived from the original on 10 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  9. ^ a b "Home of the Daily and Sunday Express | Music :: Amy Macdonald: A Curious Thing (Melodramatic) album review". Express.co.uk. 2010-03-05. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  10. ^ a b Caroline Sullivan (2010-03-04). "Amy Macdonald: A Curious Thing | CD review | Music". London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on 7 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  11. ^ a b "Amy Macdonald - A Curious Thing | album reviews". musicOMH. Archived from the original on 23 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  12. ^ a b "Amy Macdonald - Album Review: Amy Macdonald - 'A Curious Thing' (Mercury) - Album Reviews". Nme.Com. 2010-03-12. Archived from the original on 17 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-22. [dead link]
  13. ^ a b "Ellie Goulding, Lights (Polydor) ****; Amy MacDonald, A Curious Thing (Melodramatic) *** (From York Press)". Yorkpress.co.uk. 2010-03-12. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  14. ^ a b Shepherd, Fiona (2010-03-09). "Album review: Amy MacDonald - Scotsman.com News". Edinburgh: News.scotsman.com. Archived from the original on 12 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  15. ^ a b Burgess, Kaya (2010-03-13). "Amy Macdonald A Curious Thing". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-04-23. 
  16. ^ "Amy Macdonald - A Curious Thing". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  17. ^ By Sarah-Louise James (2010-03-08). "Simply The Best 7 Days A Week :: Music Reviews :: Review - Amy MacDonald: A Curious Life". Daily Star. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  18. ^ Watch Amy’s video for her next single ‘Spark’ — News — Amy Macdonald
  19. ^ Video on YouTube
  20. ^ a b Videos - Amy MacDonald
  21. ^ amymacdonald.co.uk: 'Love Love out now'
  22. ^ amymacdonald.co.uk: 'Amys new video for "Love Love"'
  23. ^ N24.de: New Amy-Macdonald-Single: "Your Time Will Come"
  24. ^ Chartsurfer.de. "This Is The Life von Amy MacDonald". Chartsurfer.de. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  25. ^ Chartsurfer.de. "A Curious Thing von Amy MacDonald". Chartsurfer.de. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  26. ^ "Amy Macdonald - A Curious Thing - Music Charts". Acharts.us. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  27. ^ Amy MacDonald / A Curious Thing
  28. ^ "Amy Macdonald - A Curious Thing". ultratop.be. Archived from the original on 13 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  29. ^ "Amy Macdonald - A Curious Thing". ultratop.be. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  30. ^ Steffen Hung. "Amy Macdonald - A Curious Thing". danishcharts.com. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  31. ^ "European Albums - Week of April 03, 2010". Billboard.com. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  32. ^ A Curious Thing on French charts
  33. ^ greekcharts.com - Amy Macdonald - A Curious Thing
  34. ^ FIMI - Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana - Classifiche
  35. ^ A Curious Thing on Swedish charts
  36. ^ Steffen Hung. "Amy Macdonald - A Curious Thing". danishcharts.com. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  37. ^ Steffen Hung. "Amy Macdonald - A Curious Thing". spanishcharts.com. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  38. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Amy MacDonald – A Curious Thing" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved 22 November 2011.  Enter Amy MacDonald in the field Interpret. Enter A Curious Thing in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
  39. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – 2010". Ultratop & Hung Medien / hitparade.ch. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  40. ^ "Tops & Flops musicaux de l'année 2010" (in French). www.chartsinfrance.net. 27 December 2010. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  41. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Amy MacDonald; 'A Curious Thing')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  42. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Amy MacDonald; 'A Curious Thing')". Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  43. ^ "British album certifications – Amy MacDonald – A Curious Thing". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 22 November 2011.  Enter A Curious Thing in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  44. ^ "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards – 2012". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  45. ^ "Amy MacDonald / A Curious Thing". Charts.orf.at. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  46. ^ "Amy Macdonald - A Curious Thing". ultratop.be. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  47. ^ "Amy Macdonald - A Curious Thing". ultratop.be. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  48. ^ "Best of 2010 - European Top 100 Albums". Billboard.com. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  49. ^ [1][dead link]
  50. ^ "Schweizer jahreshitparade 2010" (in German). Hitparade. Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  51. ^ ":: MTV | Album Jahrescharts 2011 | charts". Mtv.de. 2011-12-31. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 

External links[edit]