Seasons End (album)

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Seasons End
Studio album by Marillion
Released 25 September 1989
29 September 1997 (two-disc edition)
Recorded Hookend Recording Studios, Oxfordshire, 1989[1]
Genre Progressive rock
Neo-progressive rock
Pop rock
Length 47:35 (vinyl edition)
50:55 (single CD edition)
1:39:25 (double CD edition)
Label EMI (Worldwide)
Capitol Records (Canada, US)
Producer Marillion & Nick Davis
Marillion chronology
The Thieving Magpie
(1988)
Seasons End
(1989)
Holidays in Eden
(1991)
Singles from Seasons End
  1. "Hooks in You"
    Released: 24 August 1989
  2. "The Uninvited Guest"
    Released: 27 November 1989
  3. "Easter"
    Released: 19 March 1990 (cassette), 26 March 1990 (other formats)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
Progressiveworld.net 5/5 stars[3]

Seasons End is the fifth studio album by British rock band Marillion, released in 1989. The album was the first to feature current lead singer Steve Hogarth, following the departure of former vocalist Fish in late 1988. It reached number 7 on the UK Albums Chart.

Overview[edit]

Following the departure of Fish, Marillion started to audition singers while writing the new album, and they eventually chose Steve Hogarth. The music for Seasons End was mostly finished by the time Hogarth joined Marillion, and only a couple of songs on it actually have some pieces written by him, most notably "Easter" and "The Space". A number of the lyrics were written by John Helmer, who the band had commissioned before Hogarth joining. He would continue to contribute lyrics throughout the 1990s.

Much of the music on Seasons End had been composed while Fish was still in the band. The bonus disc of the 1999 re-issue of Clutching at Straws contains a number of nascent versions of songs that would end up on Seasons End with vocals and lyrics by Fish, these demos having been produced during the writing sessions for the ill-fated fifth studio album with Fish. (A number of the lyrical concepts from these demos, such as The Voice in the Crowd, would later resurface on Fish's debut studio album, Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors.)

The album was produced jointly by Marillion and Nick Davis (who would go on to work with Genesis and associated acts).

Singles[edit]

As with Marillion's previous two studio albums, three singles were released from Seasons End. The first single was "Hooks in You" in August 1989, followed by "The Uninvited Guest" in November and "Easter" in March 1990.

Cover art[edit]

As Mark Wilkinson, who had designed all previous Marillion covers, had left together with Fish, the album also marked a turning point in the band's visual style, towards a more "modern", photographic look created by Bill Smith Studio. The four square fields dominating the cover symbolise the four classical elements, earth, air, water and fire (clockwise from top left). At the same time, the cover contained some references to the past: It used the band's original logo, which had been replaced with a "modernised" version on the previous album Clutching at Straws and related releases as well as on B'Sides Themselves (although the 1988 live retrospective The Thieving Magpie also used it). The feather in the "desert" square is a reference to the image of the "magpie" found on Misplaced Childhood (1985), the "sky" square contains a fragment of the "Jester's" dress introduced on Script for a Jester's Tear (1983), the chameleon in the "fire" square appears on Script for a Jester's Tear, Fugazi (1984) and Misplaced Childhood; the painting with the clown's face falling into the water upside-down is taken from the Fugazi cover. Also, the vinyl version returned to the gatefold format that had been abandoned on the previous studio album.

Lyrics[edit]

The lyrics on Seasons End, unlike on the two previous albums, are not tied together by a common storyline. The opener, "The King of Sunset Town", in John Helmer's original version, was about poverty; however, Hogarth modified it under the impression of the brutal oppression of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 by the Chinese government; the line "And everyone assembled here / Remembers how it used to be / Before the 27th came" refers to the 27th Army involved in the massacre.[4] "Easter" addresses The Troubles of Northern Ireland (a topic Fish had previously dealt with in "Forgotten Sons" in 1983);[5] more indirectly, this also goes for "Holloway Girl", which refers to the imprisonment of Judith Ward in Holloway Prison for IRA bombings.[6] "Seasons End" addresses climate change (a topic Marillion lyrics would return to in 1998 and 2007)[7] – the spelling of the title is intentional, referring not to the end of a season (which would be "Season's End"), but the end of all seasons as a result of global warming eliminating winter altogether. "Berlin" describes the situation in the divided city of Berlin, where Marillion had recorded Misplaced Childhood; the Berlin Wall would eventually come down just weeks after the release of Seasons End.[8]

About "The Space", Steve Hogarth has said that "this song kind of started life in Amsterdam. When I was quite young I saw a tram come down the road and someone had parked a car too close to the tram line. It came down the road and it just tore the side of this car because it couldn't do anything else. It made the most fantastic noise as it did so. Fortunately there was nobody in the car and fortunately the trams in Amsterdam are very thick so I'm not sure the driver even noticed it happen. Years later when I was feeling a bit more like a rock star than I did when I saw it happen, I was thinking about my life. It occurred to me that I was a bit like that tram when I when I probably ripped the side of a few things I hadn't even felt and I hadn't slowed down either and I probably hadn't noticed. So the words to this song came from that realization. It was one of the first songs we put together when we met in January of 1989."[9]

Critical reception[edit]

Mick Wall, writing in Kerrang!:

"Musically, it's pretty much business as usual: the mature and busy percussion work of Ian Mosley always a delight to hear; Pete Trewavas' supple bass lines underpinning the beat with soft, wooded textures; Mark Kelly's keyboards and synthesizers as pert and delicate as ever; Steve Rothery's aching guitar lines used like brandy to lace the milk of the melodies. Tracks like 'King Of Sunset Town', 'Uninvited Guest', 'Hooks in You' (the first single) and the title track itself, 'Seasons End', all cover familiar Marillion territory, endlessly refining the themes that have come to characterize their sound. 'Hooks in You', for example, is a direct descendant of 'Incommunicado', itself a not-so-distant relative of 'Market Square Heroes'. While the origins of 'Seasons End' (the track) can be located quite easily in something like 'Warm Wet Circles', some of the less cluttered instrumental passages of Misplaced Childhood or, from the distant past 'The Web'. Vocally and lyrically, of course, we find ourselves on new ground. Hogarth's certainly got a voice, smooth as glass and emotive as hell. And, in common with his more famous predecessor, it's a very un-American voice, the vowel sounds are all Queen's English. But there the comparisons end. Steve Hogarth is no Fish clone. He's no Peter Gabriel nor Phil Collins apologist, either. He doesn't need to be. He's got a voice of his own – and when you listen to it on tracks like 'Easter', and 'Seasons End' or 'After Me', you can almost forget the band ever had another singer."[10]

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

  1. "The King of Sunset Town" (Hogarth/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley/Helmer) – 8:04
  2. "Easter" (Hogarth/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley) – 5:58
  3. "The Uninvited Guest" (Hogarth/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley/Helmer) – 3:52
  4. "Seasons End' (Hogarth/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley/Helmer) – 8:10

Side two[edit]

  1. "Holloway Girl" (Hogarth/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley) – 4:30
  2. "Berlin" (Hogarth/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley/Helmer) – 7:48
  3. "After Me" (Hogarth/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley) – 3:20 (Only included on CD and MC)
  4. "Hooks in You" (Hogarth/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley/Helmer) – 2:57
  5. "The Space..." (Hogarth/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley/Woore/Dugmore/Harper) – 6:14

Remastered CD bonus tracks[edit]

  1. "The Uninvited Guest" (12" Version) – 5:05
  2. "The Bell in the Sea" (Hogarth/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley/Helmer) – 4:21
  3. "The Release" (Hogarth/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley) – 3:45
  4. "The King of Sunset Town" (Demo) – 5:34
  5. "Holloway Girl" (Demo) – 4:48
  6. "Seasons End" (Demo) – 8:02
  7. "The Uninvited Guest" (Demo) – 3:56
  8. "Berlin" (Demo) – 8:03
  9. "The Bell in the Sea" (Demo) – 4:52

Formats and re-issues[edit]

The album was originally released on CD, Cassette, vinyl LP and 12" Picture Disc. "After Me", the b-side of "Hooks in You", was included as a bonus track on the original CD and cassette versions. In 1997, as part of a series of Marillion's first eight studio albums, EMI re-released Seasons End with remastered sound and a second disc containing bonus material. The bonus disc contained the extended 12" version of the album's second single, "The Uninvited Guest", that single's b-side "The Bell in the Sea", the third single "Easter"'s b-side, "The Release", and six demo versions. The remastered edition was later also made available without the bonus disc.

A new 180 gram vinyl pressing was released in February 2012 by EMI. It was identical to the original vinyl release from 1989, namely 'After Me' was not included.

Personnel[edit]

Marillion:

With:

  • Phil Todd: saxophone on "Berlin"
  • Jean-Pierre Rasle: pipes on "Easter"

Charts[edit]

Album

Year Chart Position
1989 UK Album Chart 7[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Seasons End". marillion.com. 31 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "allmusic ((( Season's End > Overview )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2010-01-05. 
  3. ^ "ProgressiveWorld.net". www.progressiveworld.net. Retrieved 2010-01-05. 
  4. ^ "Marillion – Explanation of Song Elements – Warm Wet Circles". Marillion.baldyslaphead.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  5. ^ "Marillion – Explanation of Song Elements – Warm Wet Circles". Marillion.baldyslaphead.co.uk. 13 July 1994. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  6. ^ "Marillion – Explanation of Song Elements – Warm Wet Circles". Marillion.baldyslaphead.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  7. ^ Seasons End
  8. ^ "Marillion – Explanation of Song Elements – Warm Wet Circles". Marillion.baldyslaphead.co.uk. 23 September 1989. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  9. ^ Marillion: Live from Cadogan Hall (DVD 1, track 5)
  10. ^ Mick Wall, Kerrang!, 23 September 1989.
  11. ^ "Chart Stats – Marillion – Season's End". www.chartstats.com. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 2010-01-05. 

External links[edit]

Liner notes for the remaster by some of the band members and associated people (on the marillion.com band page):