Beaucoup Fish

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Beaucoup Fish
Underworld.beaucoupfish.jpg
Studio album by
Released1 March 1999 (1999-03-01)
Recorded1997–1998 at Lemonworld Studios in London
Genre
Length74:17
Label
ProducerRick Smith
Underworld chronology
Second Toughest in the Infants
(1996)
Beaucoup Fish
(1999)
Everything, Everything
(2000)
Singles from Beaucoup Fish
  1. "Moaner"
    Released: 21 July 1997
  2. "Push Upstairs"
    Released: 15 March 1999
  3. "Jumbo"
    Released: 24 May 1999
  4. "King of Snake"
    Released: 16 August 1999
  5. "Bruce Lee"
    Released: 15 November 1999
Alternative cover
Vinyl edition
Vinyl edition

Beaucoup Fish is the fifth album by Underworld, released in 1999. Following the huge success of the single "Born Slippy .NUXX" from its use in the film Trainspotting, Beaucoup Fish was Underworld's most anticipated release. It spawned several successful singles, including "Push Upstairs", "Jumbo" and "Moaner", which was previously used in the film Batman & Robin.

It is the last studio album to feature Darren Emerson, who departed in 2001, and the third album by the techno/house orientated version of Underworld which became active in about 1991/1992 (tracks were being released around this time under the names Lemon Interrupt and Underworld).

The album was remastered and re-released on 25 August 2017 with deluxe and super-deluxe expanded editions.[1]

Overview[edit]

Beaucoup Fish was released after the successful single "Born Slippy .NUXX"; a single that began to define Underworld's signature sound of stream of consciousness lyrics, anthemic melodies and driving beats and rhythms. Lead single "Push Upstairs", with its energetic piano melody, exemplified this new sound.

The album's working title was Tonight Matthew, I'm Going to be Underworld, inspired by the famous catchphrase "Tonight [host name], I'm going to be...", used on the British celebrity impersonation TV programme Stars in Their Eyes.[2] The title was changed to Beaucoup Fish ("beaucoup" being French for "much"), on the basis that the tongue-in-cheek title would be incomprehensible to listeners outside of the United Kingdom. The current title comes from a sampled voice used in "Jumbo", of an American from the Southern United States using the regional pronunciation, "bookoo fish."

"King of Snake" features a tape-edited guitar intro titled "Shudder", leading into a lively house track, before fading into sampled dialogue about the blood sport of snake baiting. "Skym" is a minimal ballad, inspired by This Mortal Coil and featuring little more than a solo keyboard and light piano chords over Karl Hyde's vocals, while "Bruce Lee" has more akin to rock music than trance. Beaucoup Fish also features a downtempo re-imagining of "Push Upstairs", cleverly titled "Push Downstairs"; only the vocal track is kept between the two. "Moaner", a song featured in the 1997 film Batman & Robin, is presented on Beaucoup Fish in its slightly edited soundtrack album version, previously available on an Underworld CD single.

"Push Upstairs" and second single "Jumbo" were both hits on the dance charts and in clubs. Beaucoup Fish was well-received critically (one review calling it "electronica's The Dark Side of the Moon") and remains Underworld's most successful album, with over two million copies sold.[citation needed]

Artwork[edit]

The art for Beaucoup Fish was once again designed by Tomato, the art firm that Underworld is a part of. Each page of the liner notes featured a stylized shape in a large blue field. The shapes used are a circle for CD; a square for vinyl; and an elongated rectangle for MiniDisc and cassette formats.

Due to delays, the packaging incorrectly lists 1998 as the release year.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic79/100[3]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[4]
Entertainment WeeklyA[5]
The Guardian4/5 stars[6]
Melody Maker5/5 stars[7]
Mixmag5/5[8]
NME8/10[9]
Pitchfork6.8/10[10]
Q3/5 stars[11]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[12]
Spin7/10[13]

Beaucoup Fish was well received by music critics and it continues to be Underworld's best selling album to date. It has a score of 79/100 on Metacritic based on 20 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[3]

John Bush from AllMusic gave the album 4 out of 5 stars saying "the trio is still the best at welding obtuse songcraft onto an uncompromising techno framework and making both sound great".[4]

David Browne from Entertainment Weekly gave the album an A rating stating that Beaucoup Fish "gently tweaks the naysayers by demonstrating how many more places this music can wander, how it can grow and reinvent itself. Albums like this (and Fatboy Slim's kaleidoscopic You've Come a Long Way, Baby) are comparable to Lauryn Hill's recent work in the way they make an overly familiar style of music seem vital again. In its own lush, detached manner, Beaucoup Fish is the rebirth of the cool."[5]

John Wojtowicz from The Village Voice gave it a very favourable review saying it is "A shiny little appliance that fragments its 11 tracks into nearly as many subgenres, doing away with the seamless sprawl of their earlier records".[14]

Rolling Stone gave it 3.5 stars out of 5 saying that "Their specialty is an undulating trance throb that shimmers with shades of rock, contemporary symphonics, dub, disco, house, spoken word, whatever. The result still sounds like Underworld, and the fiftieth play sounds better than the fifth".[15]

NME gave the album 8/10 saying that "Beaucoup Fish is a pure, seamless flow, pinned together with trance-techno beats that hark back to classic Detroit house and early Underworld singles like 'Cowgirl' and 'Spikee'" and also adding that "There are rare moments when even the longest albums feel like they should go on forever: this, emphatically, is one of them".[9]

  • Spin (4/99, pp. 157–158) - 7 (out of 10) - "...the British trio hit on a formula that mixes agression [sic] and gibberish in just the right proportions..."[16]
  • Q (4/99, p. 107) - 3 Stars (out of 5) - "...Beaucoup Fish finds them continuing down an individualistic path as they pull in strands from electronic influences such as Kraftwerk...Giorgio Moroder...and Yello..."[16]
  • Magnet (4/99, pp. 81–82) - "...Rather than adopt the happy faces of house, the saintly roar of modern minimalist/classical, the bugged-out rhythms of drum 'n' bass or the sloped dope of dub, the first great album of '99 revels in all these styles....[Underworld] seems to be funkin' for nirvana..."[16]
  • Muzik (1/00, p. 69) - "A brutal, bruising take on the band's unique techno template....the melodies were infectious as ever. Trance tunes, swirling basslines and stupendous piano chuggers..."[16]
  • CMJ (4/12/99, p. 3) - "...showcases a more mature, album-oriented Underworld, travelling from over-the-top club maelstroms to ominous, gothic ballads to choppy, experimental rap..."[16]
  • Mojo (03/99, p. 84) - "...BEAUCOUP FISH proves that the real deal with electronic music is not that it is fast and crazy....but allows for perfect recall of sounds and moments....music like Underworld's can have a texture as rich, emotive and individual as memory itself."[16]

Accolades[edit]

  • Muzik (1/00, p. 69) - Ranked #10 in Muzik's "Albums Of The Year '99"[16]
  • CMJ (1/10/00, p. 5) - Ranked #14 in CMJ's "Top 30 Editorial Picks [for 1999]."[16]
  • Mojo (1/00, p. 30) - Ranked #18 in Mojo Magazine's "Best of 1999"[16]

2017 reissue[edit]

Professional ratings (2017)
Review scores
SourceRating
Pitchfork7.4/10[17]
The Line of Best Fit7.5/10[18]
Louder than War8.5/10[19]
PopMatters9/10[20]

In 2017, the album was reissued on vinyl and 2-CD and 4-CD expanded editions. Pitchfork's Phillip Sherburne dismissed the two remix CDs as "mainly of interest to collectors" and the alternate takes as "not much more essential" in an otherwise positive review.[17] Chris Todd of The Line of Best Fit similarly pans the extra discs, but calls the original album "weirdly brilliant."[18]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Darren Emerson, Karl Hyde, and Rick Smith except "Shudder/King of Snake", written by Underworld, Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte.

No.TitleLength
1."Cups"11:45
2."Push Upstairs"4:34
3."Jumbo"6:58
4."Shudder/King of Snake"9:29
5."Winjer"4:29
6."Skym"4:07
7."Bruce Lee"4:42
8."Kittens"7:30
9."Push Downstairs"6:03
10."Something Like a Mama"6:37
11."Moaner"7:32
Total length:74:17

4-CD Super Deluxe Edition (2017)[edit]

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1999) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[21] 7
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[22] 36
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[23] 2
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[24] 40
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[25] 38
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[26] 32
French Albums (SNEP)[27] 34
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[28] 22
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[29] 7
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[30] 14
Scottish Albums (OCC)[31] 7
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[32] 22
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[33] 46
UK Albums (OCC)[34] 3
UK Independent Albums (OCC)[35] 1
US Billboard 200[36] 93
Chart (2017) Peak
position
UK Dance Albums (OCC)[37] 30

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Belgium (BEA)[38] Gold 25,000*
Germany (BVMI)[40] N/A 65,000[39]
Japan (RIAJ)[41] Gold 120,000[39]
Netherlands (NVPI)[42] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[43] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[44] N/A 100,000[39]
Summaries
Asia N/A 200,000[39]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Underworld: Beaucoup Fish (2017 Reissue)". www.underworldlive.com. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  2. ^ Dirty.org. Archived 11 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b "Reviews for Beaucoup Fish by Underworld". Metacritic. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  4. ^ a b Bush, John. "Beaucoup Fish – Underworld". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  5. ^ a b Browne, David (13 April 1999). "Beaucoup Fish". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  6. ^ Osborne, Ben (5 March 1999). "Underworld: Beaucoup Fish (V2)". The Guardian.
  7. ^ "Underworld: Beaucoup Fish". Melody Maker. Archived from the original on 8 February 1999. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  8. ^ Fearn, Rob. "Fish and Trips". Mixmag. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  9. ^ a b Mulvey, John (4 March 1999). "Underworld – Beaucoup Fish". NME. Archived from the original on 18 November 1999. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  10. ^ DiCrescenzo, Brent (13 April 1999). "Underworld: Beaucoup Fish". Pitchfork. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  11. ^ Doyle, Tom (April 1999). "Underworld: Beaucoup Fish". Q (151): 107. Archived from the original on 11 September 1999. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  12. ^ Walters, Barry (29 April 1999). "Beaucoup Fish : Underworld". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 1 October 2007. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  13. ^ Salomon, Jeff (April 1999). "Tomorrow's Classic Rock Today". Spin. 15 (4): 157–58. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  14. ^ John Wojtowicz (20 April 1999). "Gettin Slippy Wit It - Page 1 - Music - New York". Village Voice. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  15. ^ 4/29/99, p.68
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Underworld - Beaucoup Fish CD Album". Cduniverse.com. 15 September 2009. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  17. ^ a b Sherburne, Phillip (28 August 2017). "Underworld - Beaucoup Fish". Pitchfork. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  18. ^ a b Todd, Chris (1 September 2017). "Underworld's bizarre breakthrough sounds just as weirdly brilliant on its 18th birthday". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  19. ^ Tucker, Simon (8 September 2017). "Underworld: Beaucoup Fish – reissue review". Louder than War. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  20. ^ Schiller, Mike (28 September 2017). "Underworld: Underworld - Beaucoup Fish (Super Deluxe Edition) review". PopMatters. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  21. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Underworld – Beaucoup Fish". Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  22. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Underworld – Beaucoup Fish" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  23. ^ "Ultratop.be – Underworld – Beaucoup Fish" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  24. ^ "Ultratop.be – Underworld – Beaucoup Fish" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  25. ^ "Listen - Danmarks Officielle Hitliste - Udarbejdet af AIM Nielsen for IFPI Danmark - Uge 10". Ekstra Bladet. 14 March 1999.
  26. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Underworld – Beaucoup Fish" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  27. ^ "Lescharts.com – Underworld – Beaucoup Fish". Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  28. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  29. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Underworld – Beaucoup Fish". Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  30. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Underworld – Beaucoup Fish". Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  31. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  32. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Underworld – Beaucoup Fish". Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  33. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Underworld – Beaucoup Fish". Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  34. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  35. ^ "Official Independent Albums Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  36. ^ "Underworld Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  37. ^ "Official Dance Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  38. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – albums 2007". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  39. ^ a b c d Pride, Dominic (1 May 1999). "After Splashy Bow, V2 Charts Steady Growth". Billboard. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  40. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Underworld; 'Beaucoup Fish')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  41. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Underworld – Beaucoup Fish" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  42. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Underworld – Beaucoup Fish" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 30 June 2019. Enter Beaucoup Fish in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  43. ^ "British album certifications – Underworld – Beaucoup Fish". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 30 June 2019. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Beaucoup Fish in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  44. ^ "American album certifications – Underworld – Beaucoup Fish". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 30 June 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.