Hercules and Love Affair (album)

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Hercules and Love Affair
Studio album by Hercules and Love Affair
Released March 10, 2008 (2008-03-10)
Recorded
Genre
Length 46:29
Label DFA
Producer
Hercules and Love Affair chronology
Hercules and Love Affair
(2008)
Blue Songs
(2011)
Singles from Hercules and Love Affair
  1. "Blind"
    Released: March 3, 2008 (2008-03-03)
  2. "You Belong"
    Released: July 7, 2008 (2008-07-07)

Hercules and Love Affair is the debut studio album by American electronic music band Hercules and Love Affair, released on March 10, 2008 by DFA Records. The album was produced by Andrew Butler and Tim Goldsworthy. Andrew Raposo (of fellow DFA band Automato) and Tyler Pope (of !!!) contributed bass to the album,[1] while Antony Hegarty co-wrote and performed vocals on select songs.

Music[edit]

Lead single "Blind" discusses the loss of innocence.

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Most reviewers comment on the album's musical style as an homage to or re-imagining of disco and classic house music. Fact Magazine dubbed the album's style "a pulsating, glamorous, elegiac mix of classic disco influences, live instrumentation and modernist, mind-spangling electronic production."[2] Similarly, The Daily Telegraph critic Bernadette McNulty dubs the music "d-i-s-c-o in its seventies glory" into which "Butler weaves [...] fractured Chicago house beats and pulsing synths," going on to refer to the overall style of the album as "a tableau of beautiful, dysphoric disco visions."[3] The Guardian also describes the music in the same terms, commenting "it sounds like proper late-70s disco. Not the camp glitterball retro electro-pop of Kylie circa 'Spinning Round', but actual underground disco, like something long-lost from the vaults of The Loft or the Paradise Garage, real 1977–78 vintage stuff."[4] However, while most focus on the obvious musical debt to disco, some critics highlight the album's eclectic range of styles, such as Eddy Lawrence, for whome the album "has dark, psychedelic moments, such as the downbeat, mildly menacing, almost Congotronic 'Easy' alongside outright funky party stuff like 'You Belong'."[5] Butler himself describes the album's musical approach thus:

I always say it's a rhythmic, artsy kind of pop music that was made with classic dance and electronic music in mind. It has a lot of vocals and is rooted in my childhood.[2]

The album's first single "Blind", co-written and featuring vocals by Antony Hegarty, was released on March 3, 2008 and reached number forty on the UK Singles Chart.[6] The NME called it a "stone-cold classic", going on to describe it as "the best kind of dance record: physical and emotional, euphorically happy and deeply, irredeemably sad. It clips along weightlessly; all disco bass, trumpets and rippling synthesiser, as Antony, his voice like tears rolling down the cheeks of a beautiful 40-year-old woman, muses intoxicatingly on lost innocence and ageing." However, the magazine dismissed the song "You Belong" as "essentially just an old Chicago house tune given a digital spit'n'polish."[7] The music video for "Blind" was directed by London-based Saam and features English actress Jamie Winstone walking through clouds of smoke. Pitchfork Media described the video as a "bacchanalian orgy tak[ing] place all around [Winstone], hearkening back to the pre-AIDS days of disco and places like the Continental Baths, where Larry Levan DJed and which advertisers promoted as recalling 'the glory of ancient Rome'."[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 86/100[9]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[10]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[11]
NME 8/10[7]
The Observer 5/5 stars[12]
Pitchfork Media 9.1/10[1]
PopMatters 9/10[13]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[14]
Spin 8/10[15]
The Times 4/5 stars[16]
The Village Voice favorable[17]

Hercules and Love Affair received general acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 86, based on 31 reviews, which indicates "universal acclaim".[9] Fact magazine called it "a unique, deeply satisfying and insanely catchy piece of work."[2] Pitchfork Media's Philip Sherburne awarded the album 9.1/10, and described it as "Lush, melancholic, gregarious, generous, both precise and a little bit unhinged" before going on to proclaim "this is the most original American dance album in a long while."[1] Pitchfork Media named "Blind" the best song of 2008 and placed it at number eighteen on the website's list of The Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s,[18][19] while the album itself was ranked number 132 on their list of the top 200 albums of the 2000s.[20] Paul Flynn of The Observer awarded the album a maximum five stars, commenting that it "concentrates on the musicality of the [disco] genre and leaves the cliches for dust," adding "it is as sweaty, raw and meaningful as the first 12-inch singles that were spun at NY lofts."[12]

The Guardian critic Alexis Petridis was slightly more skeptical, finding the album's first side to be "tremendous fun", but - as a result of its being confined to genre revivalism - to possess "an air of pointlessness". However, he deemed the inclusion of Hegarty's melancholic vocals in the disco setting to be "inspired," and praised the album's "far more inventive second half [,as] its atmosphere shifts from touchy-feely warmth to queasy unease to deep melancholy, as if the authors keep being jolted from their nostalgic musical reverie by the thought of how horribly it all ended."[11]

The single "Blind" was included at number two on Entertainment Weekly's list of the 10 Best Singles of 2008.[21]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Time Will"  
4:34
2. "Hercules Theme"  
4:29
3. "You Belong"  
  • Butler
  • Antony
4:11
4. "Athene"   Butler 3:59
5. "Blind"  
  • Butler
  • Antony
6:18
6. "Iris"   Butler 4:15
7. "Easy"  
  • Butler
  • Antony
5:21
8. "This Is My Love"   Butler 4:58
9. "Raise Me Up"  
  • Butler
  • Antony
3:51
10. "True/False, Fake/Real"   Butler 4:33
Total length:
46:29

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Hercules and Love Affair.[24]

Hercules and Love Affair
  • Andrew Butler – production (all tracks); keyboards (tracks 1, 3, 7, 8, 10); marimba (track 6); vocals (tracks 6, 10)
  • Antony – vocals (tracks 1, 5, 7–9); additional production (tracks 1, 5, 9); additional vocals (track 3)
  • Kim Ann Foxman – vocals (tracks 4, 6, 10)
  • Nomi – vocals (tracks 2, 3)
  • Andrew Raposo – bass (tracks 2, 8–10)
  • Morgan Wiley – keyboards (tracks 2, 4, 5, 8, 9)
  • Carter Yasutaki – trumpet (tracks 2, 6, 8, 9)
Additional personnel

Charts[edit]

Chart (2008) Peak
position
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders)[25] 12
Belgian Alternative Albums Chart (Flanders)[25] 8
European Top 100 Albums[26] 85
French Albums Chart[27] 144
Irish Albums Chart[28] 44
Italian Albums Chart[29] 33
Norwegian Albums Chart[30] 18
Spanish Albums Chart[31] 84
Swedish Albums Chart[32] 23
UK Albums Chart[33] 31
US Billboard 200[34] 191
US Top Electronic Albums[35] 5
US Top Heatseekers[35] 7

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label
France[36] March 10, 2008 EMI
United Kingdom[37] DFA Records
Germany[38] March 14, 2008 Parlophone
Italy[39] EMI
Australia[40] March 28, 2008
United States[22] June 24, 2008 Mute Records

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Sherburne, Philip (March 12, 2008). "Hercules and Love Affair: Hercules and Love Affair". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c McGillivray, Will (January 2008). "Hercules & Love Affair". Fact. Archived from the original on March 24, 2008. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  3. ^ McNulty, Bernadette (March 8, 2008). "Pop CDs: Hercules & Love Affair, Dolly Parton and more...". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  4. ^ Lester, Paul (January 8, 2008). "No 251: Hercules & Love Affair". The Guardian. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  5. ^ Lawrence, Eddy (March 3, 2008). "Hercules And Love Affair: interview". Time Out London. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Hercules & Love Affair". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "Hercules And Love Affair". NME. IPC Media. February 21, 2008. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  8. ^ Hogan, Marc (January 25, 2008). "Video: Hercules & Love Affair [ft. Antony]: "Blind"". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on March 3, 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2007. 
  9. ^ a b "Hercules And Love Affair – Hercules and Love Affair". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  10. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Hercules & Love Affair – Hercules & Love Affair". AllMusic. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Petridis, Alexis (March 7, 2008). "Hercules and Love Affair, Hercules and Love Affair". The Guardian. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Flynn, Paul (February 17, 2008). "Hercules and Love Affair, Hercules and Love Affair". The Observer. theguardian.com. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  13. ^ Rivera, Daniel (June 26, 2008). "Hercules and Love Affair: Hercules and Love Affair". PopMatters. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  14. ^ Hughes, Dave (June 20, 2008). "Hercules and Love Affair: Hercules and Love Affair". Slant Magazine. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  15. ^ Walters, Barry (June 24, 2008). "Hercules and Love Affair, 'Hercules and Love Affair' (Mute/DFA)". Spin. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  16. ^ Jelbert, Steve (March 8, 2008). "Hercules and Love Affair: Hercules and Love Affair". The Times. Archived from the original on May 17, 2011. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  17. ^ Weiss, Dan (March 11, 2008). "Hercules & Love Affair". The Village Voice. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  18. ^ "The 100 Best Tracks of 2008". Pitchfork Media. December 15, 2008. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  19. ^ "The Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s: 20–1". Pitchfork Media. August 21, 2009. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  20. ^ "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 150–101". Pitchfork Media. September 29, 2009. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  21. ^ Greenblatt, Leah; Vozick-Levinson, Simon (December 18, 2008). "10 Best Singles of 2008". Entertainment Weekly. Time. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  22. ^ a b "Hercules & Love Affair". Amazon.com. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Hercules and Love Affair by Hercules and Love Affair". iTunes Store US. Apple. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  24. ^ Hercules and Love Affair (CD liner notes). Hercules and Love Affair. DFA Records. 2008. 5099920811020. 
  25. ^ a b "Hercules And Love Affair – Hercules And Love Affair" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved June 30, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard 120 (13). March 29, 2008. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  27. ^ "Hercules And Love Affair – Hercules And Love Affair" (in French). lescharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Top 75 Artist Album, Week Ending 13 March 2008". Chart-Track. Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Album – Classifica settimanale WK 19 (dal 28-04-2008 al 04-05-2008)" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Hercules And Love Affair – Hercules And Love Affair". norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Hercules And Love Affair – Hercules And Love Affair". spanishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Hercules And Love Affair – Hercules And Love Affair". swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  33. ^ "2008 Top 40 Official Albums Chart UK Archive". Official Charts Company. March 22, 2008. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  34. ^ "The Billboard 200". Billboard 120 (28): 39. July 12, 2008. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  35. ^ a b "Hercules & Love Affair – Hercules & Love Affair | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Hercules and Love Affair – Hercules And Love Affair" (in French). Fnac. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  37. ^ "Hercules And Love Affair". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Hercules and Love Affair" (in German). Amazon.de. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  39. ^ "Hercules and Love Affair – Hercules and Love Affair" (in Italian). IBS. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  40. ^ "Hercules And Love Affair – Hercules and Love Affair". JB Hi-Fi. Archived from the original on November 8, 2012. Retrieved April 26, 2014.