Leaders of the Free World

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Leaders of the Free World
Studio album by Elbow
Released 12 September 2005 (UK)
21 February 2006 (US)
Recorded 2004–2005 at Blueprint Studios, Salford, Manchester
Genre Alternative rock, art rock
Length 49:32
Label V2
Producer Elbow
Elbow chronology
Cast of Thousands
(2003)
Leaders of the Free World
(2005)
The Seldom Seen Kid
(2008)
Singles from Leaders of the Free World
  1. "Forget Myself"
    Released: 29 August 2005 (2005-08-29)
  2. "Leaders of the Free World"
    Released: 7 November 2005 (2005-11-07)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars [1]
The A.V. Club A− [2]
Entertainment Weekly A− [3]
The Guardian 4/5 stars [4]
The Independent 3/5 stars [5]
MusicOMH (favourable) [6]
NME 9/10 stars [7]
The Observer 4/5 stars [8]
Pitchfork Media (6.2/10) [9]
PopMatters 8/10 stars [10]
Stylus A− [11]
Yahoo! Music 8/10 stars [12]

Leaders of the Free World is the third studio album from the British alternative rock band Elbow, released on 12 September 2005 in the UK and 21 February 2006 in the US on the V2 record label. The Japanese version of the album (released on 7 September 2005) features two bonus tracks, "McGreggor" and "The Good Day", which were both B-sides to the first single "Forget Myself". Leaders of the Free World was entirely self-produced at Blueprint Studios in Salford, Manchester, a space the band hired for the duration of their recording sessions. The album reached number 12 on the British albums chart.[13]

The band teamed up with video artists The Soup Collective to produce an integrated music and video DVD to accompany the album. In the UK, there was a limited edition release of the CD and the DVD in a gatefold sleeve. When released in the US, initial limited copies contained the bonus DVD (with alternatively-colored green artwork).

The song "Mexican Standoff" was also recorded in Spanish. This version appears as a B-side to the "Leaders of the Free World" single.

The album was certified gold (sales of 100,000) in the UK by the BPI on 24 April 2009.[14]

Album cover[edit]

The album cover is highly reminiscent of the 1976 album A Trick of the Tail by Genesis. This is, however, completely coincidental, as the cover's designer hadn't seen the Genesis cover art prior to designing it.[15] The album cover depicts five characters from the songs on the album itself:

  1. The ticket conductor from the train in "Station Approach" (or possibly the bus conductor in "Great Expectations").
  2. The bouncer ("the man at the door") from "Forget Myself." During "An Imagined Affair," Garvey sings "I drink until the doorman is a Christmas tree" possibly meaning the same character.
  3. The man "kicking up mischief" and drinking from "Picky Bugger" (or possibly the man who drinks "until the doorman is a Christmas tree" in "An Imagined Affair").
  4. A Mexican, from "Mexican Standoff."
  5. A man needing patching up, with tea and a bike pump, as in "Puncture Repair."

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Elbow; all lyrics by Guy Garvey

No. Title Length
1. "Station Approach"   4:22
2. "Picky Bugger"   3:07
3. "Forget Myself"   5:22
4. "The Stops"   5:03
5. "Leaders of the Free World"   6:11
6. "An Imagined Affair"   4:43
7. "Mexican Standoff"   4:01
8. "The Everthere"   4:13
9. "My Very Best"   5:33
10. "Great Expectations"   5:05
11. "Puncture Repair"   1:48

Japanese version[edit]

All songs written and composed by Elbow; all lyrics by Guy Garvey

No. Title Length
1. "Station Approach"   4:22
2. "Picky Bugger"   3:07
3. "McGreggor"   2:49
4. "Forget Myself"   5:22
5. "The Stops"   5:03
6. "Leaders of the Free World"   6:11
7. "An Imagined Affair"   4:43
8. "Mexican Standoff"   4:01
9. "The Everthere"   4:13
10. "The Good Day"   3:41
11. "My Very Best"   5:33
12. "Great Expectations"   5:05
13. "Puncture Repair"   1:48

DVD[edit]

Singles[edit]

In the UK, there were two singles released from the album:

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Alexis Smith and Jason Boshoff - additional programming on "Forget Myself", "Leaders of the Free World" and "My Very Best"
  • Jote Osahn and Stella Page - strings on "Forget Myself" and "My Very Best"
  • Dylan Jupp - laughter on "Mexican Standoff"

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wilson, MacKenzie. Leaders of the Free World at AllMusic. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  2. ^ Murray, Noel (21 February 2006). "Leaders of the Free World > Review". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  3. ^ Fiore, Raymond (24 February 2006). Leaders of the Free World > Review (865). Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  4. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (2 September 2005). "Leaders of the Free World > Review". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  5. ^ Gill, Andy (2 September 2005). "Leaders of the Free World > Review". The Independent. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  6. ^ Lloyd, Jeremy (5 September 2005). "Leaders of the Free World > Review". MusicOMH. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Goodwin, Cat (19 September 2005). "Leaders of the Free World > Review". NME. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  8. ^ Mardle, Paul (21 August 2005). "Leaders of the Free World > Review". The Observer. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  9. ^ Khong, Rachel (7 September 2005). "Leaders of the Free World > Review". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  10. ^ Lomas, Michael (17 February 2006). "Leaders of the Free World > Review". PopMatters. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  11. ^ Mathers, Ian (12 September 2005). "Leaders of the Free World > Review". Stylus. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  12. ^ O'Connell, Sharon (16 September 2005). "Leaders of the Free World > Review". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  13. ^ Roberts, David (ed.) (2 June 2007). British Hit Singles and Albums (20th (revised) ed.). London: Guinness World Records Ltd. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  14. ^ Certified Awards Search on the BPI website
  15. ^ Thread on Elbow Room forum