Raoul (song)

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Not to be confused with Raoul EP.
"Raoul"
Single by The Automatic
from the album Not Accepted Anywhere
B-side "Trophy Wives"
"On The Camping Trail"
(re-release)
"Gold Digger"
"Easy Target"
Released 27 March 2006 (original)
8 January 2007(re-release)
Format 7", CD, CD (maxi), digital download
Recorded Elevator Studio, Liverpool
Genre Post-punk revival
Alternative rock
Length 3:53 (original)
3:41(re-release)
Label B-Unique Records[1]
Polydor Records[2]
Writer(s) James Frost
Iwan Griffiths
Robin Hawkins
Alex Pennie
The Automatic singles chronology
"Recover"
(2006)
"Raoul"
(2006)
"Monster"
(2006)
Re-release chronology
"Recover (Re-release)"
(2006)
"Raoul" (re-release)
(2007)
"Steve McQueen"
(2008)
Alternative covers
2007 re-release artwork
2007 re-release artwork
Original artwork created by Antar

"Raoul" is both the second and the fifth single from Not Accepted Anywhere, the first album by the Welsh band The Automatic. The single was released twice, first on 27 March 2006[3] and again on 8 January 2007 at the decision of the band's record labels Polydor and B-Unique.[4][5]

Composition[edit]

The songs lyrics deal with people's day-to-day lives – getting stuck in the same routines and casting aside ambitions. Raoul, a sandwich shop owner in Cardiff, was where the band went during days spent in their studio to get away from this drill.[6] The vocals on Raoul were originally split three ways between Robin Hawkins (lead), Alex Pennie (shouts over the top) and James Frost (joint lead in the second verse and backing in the choruses). After Pennie's departure and the addition of Paul Mullen in 2007 the vocals continued to be split three ways. In 2008, the band re-worked the track, replacing the guitar and bass guitar in the first verse, with both Frost and Mullen playing synthesisers, building into two guitars in the choruses.[7][8]

Release[edit]

"Raoul" was originally released on 27 March 2006 on CD, digital download and limited edition 7" vinyl. Selected Tastemaker Stores stocked limited amounts of signed "Raoul" 7" vinyls. The release was promoted on the band's tour with Goldie Lookin Chain in March 2006, with "Raoul" pre-order passwords handed out on flyers on the tour dates. The release had two new tracks along with "Raoul" – "On The Campaign Trail" on the CD single and "Trophy Wives" on the 7" vinyl.[9] Three in-store signings with performances were used to mark the single's release: Bridgend Jungle on 27 March, Cardiff Spillers on 28 March and Manchester Fopp on 30 March.[10] The release was also celebrated by a sandwich giveaway courtesy of a Cardiff sandwich shop, Obriens, limited to 500 through the band's website.[11] The band was asked in an interview with The Sun if "Raoul" had befitted from the song endorsement and in actuality the shop had been closed down.[12]

In 2007, the band's record labels Polydor Records and B-Unique Records decided to re-release "Raoul" against the band's wishes to release another track from Not Accepted Anywhere or their newly recorded tracks "Steve McQueen" and "Revolution".[13] The re-release was accompanied by a cover of Kanye West's "Gold Digger" as a B-side, as well as a new track, "Easy Target".

It's not something us as a band wanted to do, but the radio were begging for us to re-release it again. Basically we had radio stations begging us saying if you release this song we'll play it. It's really frustrating for a band to be releasing the same things when all you want to do is put out new stuff and get people to listening to your other music

— Iwan Griffiths discusses the "Raoul" re-release[13]

The band's first TV appearance was performing "Raoul" on London Live.[14] The song was also performed on Channel 4's Popworld, The Friday Night Project and T4 on the Beach in 2006. The track was played live on Later with Jools Holland, along with "Thats What She Said" and "Monster".[15]

"Raoul" has been used on Soccer Am's 2006 Soundtrack, as well as being remixed by Culprit 1. However, unlike the "Recover" and "Monster" remixes by Culprit 1, the remix was not released on the single.

All of the release's artwork was created by Dean 'D*Face' Stockton, except for the original artwork which was only used for promotional CDs which was created by Antar.[16] The globe style artwork was recreated by 'Rock Drops' and used in tour and festival appearances by the band as a stage banner.[17]

Music video[edit]

Top: the original video, the band with an actor representing "Raoul". Bottom: the band performing "Raoul" at an office party in the re-release music video.

Original[edit]

The video directed by Charlie Paul[18] depicts the band 'taking a break' from studio work. They leave the studio and begin walking through a 1970s style concert where they look at themselves playing. They then walk through a gym and into another room where they are playing in a smaller dark venue. The video ends with them at Raoul's sandwich shop, with an actor who represents 'Raoul' making their sandwiches. The line from the song "Let's go back to work" then links in to the video, as they leave.[19]

Re-release[edit]

The 2007 video directed by Up the Resolution[20] is set in an office, and opens with a man singing "Monster". Another man does not seem to appreciate this and pushes him against a wall, possibly showing how the band are not happy with just being known for that song. The video goes on to show the band members working in the office. Robin Hawkins is delivering mail to the other employees, whilst in clips the whole band is shown at an office party, performing "Raoul", while Alex Pennie makes out with another older employee, whose husband is in a meeting with James Frost's character. The video ends with Iwan Griffiths urinating in a bowl.[21]

Reception[edit]

The single received fairly mixed reviews on both of its releases, many reviewers believing it did not match up to its predecessors "Recover" and "Monster". Lee Eynon of God Is in the TV reviewed the track stating; "it isn’t really the colossal moby dick sized hook they need to follow their summer blockbuster", Donna Dobson of Click Music also listed how the track does not have "the charm or quirkiness of 'Monster'".[22][23] During its original single run in 2006 Scott Colothan at Gigwise.com stated how the song didn't match up to the standards of the band's first single from 2005 – "Recover".[24] Joanne Nugent of Contactmusic.com praised the track saying "definitely worth a listen and easily likeable"[25] Tim Lee of Music OHM had mixed feeling on the song, ending his review with "as derivative additions to an over-saturated genre go, it's damn fine".[26]

Charting[edit]

"Raoul" and "Monster" both competed for success in the UK Singles Chart after "Monster" left the top 40, and re-entered when Downloads via iTunes and other online stores were allowed to be included in the singles charts. The single only reached No. 30, with "Monster" re-entering at #33.

Chart Peak Date
UK Singles Chart #32 original release 9 April 2006
UK Single Chart #30 re-release 14 January 2007

Track listing[edit]

vinyl 26 March 2006
No. Title Length
1. "Raoul"   3:29
2. "Trophy Wives"   1:57
CD single, 26 March 2006
No. Title Length
1. "Raoul"   3:29
2. "On The Campaign Trail"   3:03
vinyl 8 January 2007
No. Title Length
1. "Raoul"   3:29
2. "Monster (Fatboy Slim Remix)"   5:59
CD single, 8 January 2007
No. Title Length
1. "Raoul"   3:28
2. "Easy Target"   3:52

Personal[edit]

Musicians
  • Robin Hawkins – bass guitar, lead vocals
  • Alex Pennie – synthesiser, percussion, vocals
  • James Frost – guitar, vocals
  • Iwan Griffiths – drums
Production
  • Stephen Harris – producer
  • Richard Jackson - producer, mixing (B-sides only)
  • Sean Sinnot – engineer
  • Simon Francis – mixing

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Automatic at B-unique Records b-uniquerecords.com
  2. ^ Polydor artists polydor.co.uk
  3. ^ "Welsh Music, Raoul, B-Unique". BBC Wales. 27 March 2006. Retrieved 31 May 2008. [dead link]
  4. ^ "BBC Nottingham Radio Interview Segment, Prior to NME Indie Rock Tour". BBC Radio (Interview with Guitarist James Frost). 2007. Retrieved 31 May 2008. 
  5. ^ "The Automatic – Raoul (B-Unique)". musicOHM. 8 January 2007. Retrieved 31 May 2008. 
  6. ^ Features: A – The Automatic Channel 4, Robin Hawkins, 12 April 2006
  7. ^ The Automatic – Raoul – Live at Manchester Academy Youtube, 2008
  8. ^ "GLASTONBURY ANNOUNCEMENT (& coverage!) Sunday 29 June 2008 6:44 am". Martin Bowen (The Automatic's manager). July 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2008. [dead link]
  9. ^ Raoul – The new single out now theautomatic.co.uk, web.archive, March 2006
  10. ^ Instore performances theautomatic.co.uk, web.archive, March 2006
  11. ^ Fancy and sandwich? theautomatic.co.uk, web.archive, 2006
  12. ^ "The Automatic play Sun session". The Sun. 12 January 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2008. 
  13. ^ a b The Automatic interview Alex McCann, designermagazine.org, January 2006
  14. ^ Episode 3 mojohd.com, 2006
  15. ^ The Automatic dash up motorway to fill in for Keane, NME, 15 June 2006
  16. ^ Antar antar.cc, 17 June 2010
  17. ^ Rockdrops rockdrops.com, 17 June 2010
  18. ^ Partizan
  19. ^ Raoul 2006 Music Video 'Raoul Original'
  20. ^ Factory Films
  21. ^ 2007 Music Video "Raoul"
  22. ^ "The Automatic – Raoul". Donna Dobson (Click Music). January 2007. Retrieved 12 September 2008. 
  23. ^ Lee Eynon (January 2007). "The Automatic – Raoul – B-Unique". God Is in the TV. Retrieved 12 September 2008. 
  24. ^ Scott Colothan (March 2006). "The Automatic – 'Raoul' (B-Unique) Released 27/03/06". Gigwise ). Retrieved 12 September 2008. 
  25. ^ Joanne Nugent (March 2006). "The Automatic – Raoul Single Review". Contact Music. Retrieved 12 September 2008. 
  26. ^ Tim Lee (January 2007). "The Automatic – Raoul". music OHM. Retrieved 12 September 2008.