Afraid of Sunlight

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Afraid of Sunlight
Afraid-of-sunlight.jpeg
Studio album by
Released24 June 1995
RecordedJanuary — March 1995
StudioThe Racket Club
(Buckinghamshire, England)
Length51:25[nb 1]
LabelEMI
Producer
Marillion chronology
Brave
(1994)
Afraid of Sunlight
(1995)
Made Again
(1996)
Singles from Afraid of Sunlight
  1. "Beautiful"
    Released: 29 May 1995
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Q4/5 stars[2]

Afraid of Sunlight is Marillion's eighth studio album, released in 1995. It was their last for EMI (who would, however, continue to release back-catalogue material on compilations and re-issues, as well as distribute some later recordings).

Afraid of Sunlight was the first Marillion studio album to fail to reach the Top 10 in the UK Albums Chart, peaking at number 16 and falling out of the Top 75 after two weeks.[3] Despite this, Afraid of Sunlight became one of the band's most critically acclaimed albums and was included in Q magazine's "Recordings of the Year" for 1995.[4] It was retrospectively described by Jeri Montesano of Allmusic as "the peak of Marillion's growing, impressive body of work" and by colleague Jason Ankeny as "the most consistent Marillion release to date".[5][6]

Concept[edit]

While not a concept album as such, Afraid of Sunlight repeatedly examines the destructive side of celebrity. In particular, "Gazpacho" lampoons the Hollywood lifestyle and seems to refer to Mike Tyson. "Cannibal Surf Babe" is a Beach Boys pastiche inspired by late-night horror movies. "Out of This World" is dedicated to world land and water speed record holder Donald Campbell, killed in 1967, and inspired diver Bill Smith to look after the wreck. The main wreckage of Campbell's Bluebird K7 hydroplane was recovered from Coniston Water on 8 March 2001. Both Steve Hogarth and Steve Rothery were present at the raising.[7] The title track refers to self-destructive thrill-seekers such as James Dean, while "King" is about Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain and Michael Jackson. "Beyond You" is reminiscent of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound productions and was mixed in mono.[8]

Steve Hogarth named the 1980 Martin Scorsese film Raging Bull, about a boxer's inability to deal with fame, as a strong influence on the album.[citation needed] He also cited O. J. Simpson, on trial for murder at the time Afraid of Sunlight was recorded, as another influence on its concept; the wind-down of "Gazpacho" ends with a sample from a news report on Simpson's infamous flight from the police.[citation needed]

Release[edit]

Afraid of Sunlight was released in Europe on 24 June 1995 by EMI Records on CD[nb 1], LP[nb 2] and cassette, and in the U.S. on 4 July 1995 by El Dorado, a subsidiary label of I.R.S. Records.[9] It climbed to number 16 in the UK and spent only three weeks in the charts, the shortest chart residency of any Marillion studio album by then.[10] The only single from the album, "Beautiful", peaked at number 29 in the UK Singles Chart. Afraid of Sunlight reached number 8 in the Netherlands, the country where the band has one of their largest fanbases.

As part of a series of Marillion's first eight studio albums, EMI Records re-released Afraid of Sunlight on 22 March 1999 with 24-bit digital remastered sound and a second disc containing bonus tracks[nb 3].[9] A new 180g heavy weight vinyl pressing[nb 4] identical to the original 1995 edition was released in 2013.[11]

Critical reception[edit]

AllMusic critic Alex S. Garcia has retrospectively given Afraid of Sunlight a four-out-of-five star rating. He noted that the album has "some very beautiful melodic moments and perhaps a better mix between calm and aggressive [sic] melodies than on previous albums made with Steve Hogarth".[1] Jeri Montesano called it "the peak of Marillion's growing, impressive body of work" while reviewing Seasons End (1989).[12] His colleague Dale Jensen has named the album "the most consistent Marillion release to date".[13] In a review from Q magazine, Afraid of Sunlight has been described as "a 40-minute journey that touches on the legacy of Brian Wilson, Todd Rundgren and The Beatles, while hinting at the experimental trivialities of Jellyfish or Split Enz".[2]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Steve Hogarth, Steve Rothery, Mark Kelly, Pete Trewavas, Ian Mosley and John Helmer, except where noted.

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Gazpacho" 7:28
2."Cannibal Surf Babe" 5:45
3."Beautiful"Hogarth, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley5:12
4."Afraid of Sunrise" 5:02
5."Out of This World" 7:54
6."Afraid of Sunlight" 6:50
7."Beyond You"Hogarth, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley6:11
8."King" 7:03
Total length:51:25
  • Tracks 3-9 of the 1999 remastered edition bonus disc had previously been unreleased.

Personnel[edit]

Marillion
Additional musicians
  • Barbara Lezmy – additional backing vocals (on "Cannibal Surf Babe")
  • Wendy Paige – additional backing vocals (on "Cannibal Surf Babe")
  • Hannah Stobart – additional backing vocals (on "Beautiful")
Technical personnel

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b EMI 7243 8 33874 2 7, CDEMD 1079
  2. ^ EMI 7243 8 33874 1 0, EMD 1079
  3. ^ EMI 7243 4 98614 2 8
  4. ^ EMI 825646413485, VEMD 1079
Citations
  1. ^ a b Garcia, Alex S. Marillion: "Afraid of Sunlight" > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b Q. August 1995. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ David Roberts, ed. (2006). British Hit Singles and Albums. Guinness World Records Limited. p. 349. ISBN 978-1904994107.
  4. ^ "1995 Q Magazine Recordings Of The Year". Rocklist.net. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  5. ^ "allmusic ((( Season's End > Overview )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
  6. ^ "Marillion - Music Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  7. ^ Hogarth, Steve (8 March 2001). "A Day in the Lakes". The Official Marillion Website. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  8. ^ Kelly, Mark (1999). Afraid of Sunlight (booklet). Marillion. London: EMI Records (7243 4 98614 2 8). p. 21.
  9. ^ a b "Album: Afraid of Sunlight". Bert ter Steege. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  10. ^ "Marillion – Afraid of Sunlight". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  11. ^ "Afraid of Sunlight". The Official Marillion Website. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  12. ^ Montesano, Jeri. Marillion: "Seasons End" > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  13. ^ Jensen, Dale. "Marillion Biography by Dale Jensen". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  14. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Marillion – Afraid of Sunlight" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  15. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Marillion – Afraid of Sunlight" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  16. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Marillion – Afraid of Sunlight". Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  17. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  18. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Marillion – Beautiful" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  19. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 September 2016.

External links[edit]