Chairs Missing

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Chairs Missing
Wire-Chairs Missing (album cover).jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 1978
RecordedMay 1978
StudioAdvision Studios, London, England, UK
Genre
Length42:27
LabelHarvest
ProducerMike Thorne
Wire studio album chronology
Pink Flag
(1977)
Chairs Missing
(1978)
154
(1979)
Singles from Chairs Missing
  1. "I Am the Fly"
    Released: 1978
  2. "Outdoor Miner"
    Released: 1979
  3. "A Question of Degree"
    Released: 1979

Chairs Missing is the second studio album by English rock band Wire. It was released in August 1978. The album peaked at number 48 in the UK Albums Chart.[1]

Although it features some of the minimalist punk rock of the band's debut Pink Flag, it features more developed song structure (taking some cues from 1970s prog-rock, psychedelia, and art rock), keyboard and synthesizer elements brought in by producer Mike Thorne, and a broader palette of emotional and intellectual subject matter. The title is said to be a British slang term for a mildly disturbed person, as in "that guy has a few chairs missing in his front room".[2] The single "Outdoor Miner" was a minor hit, peaking at number 51 in the UK Singles Chart.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic5/5 stars[4]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[5]
The Great Rock Discography9/10[6]
MusicHound Rock4.5/5 stars[7]
Pitchfork10/10[8]
Q5/5 stars[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[10]
Spin Alternative Record Guide9/10[11]
Uncut5/5 stars[12]
Under the Radar8.5/10 stars[13]

In their retrospective review, Steve Huey of AllMusic gave the album five stars out of five and wrote "The arty darkness of Chairs Missing, combined with the often icy-sounding synth/guitar arrangements, helps make the record a crucial landmark in the evolution of punk into post-punk and goth, as well as a testament to Wire's rapid development and inventiveness."[4] BBC Music called the album a "glorious avant-pop coup" and (referring to the 2006 edition of the album) "the most satisfying of the three reissues [the others being Pink Flag and 154]."[14] In 2004 Pitchfork listed Chairs Missing as 33rd best album of the 1970s.[15][16] In 2013 NME listed the album as the 394th greatest album of all time.[17][16]

Legacy[edit]

In 2004 the US record label Words-on-Music released A Houseguest's Wish, a CD tribute album to the band consisting solely of 19 different versions of the Chairs Missing track "Outdoor Miner".

Track listing[edit]

Credits adapted from the 2018 Special Edition.[18]

All music written by Colin Newman, except where noted. All lyrics written by Graham Lewis, except where noted.

Side one
No.TitleLyricsMusicLength
1."Practice Makes Perfect"Bruce Gilbert 4:11
2."French Film Blurred"  2:34
3."Another the Letter"Gilbert 1:07
4."Men 2nd" Lewis, Newman[nb 1]1:43
5."Marooned"Gilbert, Lewis 2:21
6."Sand in My Joints" Lewis1:50
7."Being Sucked in Again"Newman 3:14
8."Heartbeat"Newman 3:16
Side two
No.TitleLyricsMusicLength
9."Mercy"  5:46
10."Outdoor Miner"  1:44
11."I Am the Fly"  3:09
12."I Feel Mysterious Today"  1:57
13."From the Nursery"  2:58
14."Used To"Gilbert, LewisGilbert, Newman[nb 2]2:23
15."Too Late"GilbertGilbert, Newman[nb 3]4:14
Bonus tracks
No.TitleLyricsMusicLength
16."Go Ahead" (1989 reissue, single B-side) Gilbert, Robert Gotobed, Lewis, Newman4:01
17."Outdoor Miner (Long Version)" (1994 reissue, single A-side)  2:54
18."Former Airline" (1989 and 1994 reissues, single B-side)GilbertGilbert3:20
19."A Question of Degree" (1989 and 1994 reissues, single A-side)  3:09

*The bonus tracks on the 1989 and 1994 reissues were removed from the 2006 remastered reissue because they, according to the band, didn't honour the "conceptual clarity of the original statements".[20]

2018 Special Edition[edit]

No.TitleLyricsMusicLength
1."Practice Makes Perfect"Bruce Gilbert 4:11
2."French Film Blurred"  2:34
3."Another the Letter"Gilbert 1:07
4."Men 2nd" Lewis, Newman1:43
5."Marooned"Gilbert, Lewis 2:21
6."Sand in My Joints" Lewis1:50
7."Being Sucked in Again"Newman 3:14
8."Heartbeat"Newman 3:16
9."Mercy"  5:46
10."Outdoor Miner"  1:44
11."I Am the Fly"  3:09
12."I Feel Mysterious Today"  1:57
13."From the Nursery"  2:58
14."Used To"Gilbert, LewisGilbert, Newman2:23
15."Too Late"GilbertGilbert, Newman4:14
Disc two (Singles, B-sides, and Studio Recordings)
No.TitleLyricsMusicLength
1."I Am the Fly" (single version A-side)  3:06
2."Dot Dash" (single A-side)  2:24
3."Options R" (single B-side) Lewis, Newman[nb 4]1:35
4."Outdoor Miner" (single version A-side)  2:52
5."Practice Makes Perfect" (single version B-side)Gilbert 4:05
6."Underwater Experiences" (Advision Studios version)  3:32
Total length:17:34
Disc three (Fourth and Fifth Demo Sessions)
No.TitleLyricsMusicLength
1."Practice Makes Perfect" (Fourth demo session, December 1977, Riverside Studios, London, England)Gilbert 3:46
2."Oh No Not So" (Fourth demo session, December 1977, Riverside Studios, London, England)  1:35
3."Culture Vultures" (Fourth demo session, December 1977, Riverside Studios, London, England)  2:06
4."It's the Motive" (Fourth demo session, December 1977, Riverside Studios, London, England)  1:19
5."Love Ain't Polite" (Fourth demo session, December 1977, Riverside Studios, London, England)Newman 1:06
6."French Film Blurred (Version 1)" (Fourth demo session, December 1977, Riverside Studios, London, England)  1:14
7."Sand in My Joints" (Fourth demo session, December 1977, Riverside Studios, London, England) Lewis1:49
8."Too Late" (Fourth demo session, December 1977, Riverside Studios, London, England)GilbertGilbert, Newman4:12
9."I Am the Fly" (Fourth demo session, December 1977, Riverside Studios, London, England)  6:00
10."Heartbeat" (Fourth demo session, December 1977, Riverside Studios, London, England)Newman 2:42
11."Underwater Experiences" (Fourth demo session, December 1977, Riverside Studios, London, England)  3:14
12."Stalemate" (Fourth demo session, December 1977, Riverside Studios, London, England)Newman 2:15
13."I Feel Mysterious Today" (Fourth demo session, December 1977, Riverside Studios, London, England)  1:40
14."Dot Dash" (Fifth demo session, April 1978, Riverside Studios, London, England)  2:19
15."French Film Blurred (Version 2)" (Fifth demo session, April 1978, Riverside Studios, London, England)  2:15
16."Options R" (Fifth demo session, April 1978, Riverside Studios, London, England) Lewis, Newman1:48
17."Finistaire (Mercy)" (Fifth demo session, April 1978, Riverside Studios, London, England)  5:45
18."Marooned" (Fifth demo session, April 1978, Riverside Studios, London, England)Gilbert, Lewis 2:16
19."From the Nursery" (Fifth demo session, April 1978, Riverside Studios, London, England)  2:50
20."Indirect Enquiries (Version 1)" (Fifth demo session, April 1978, Riverside Studios, London, England)  1:42
21."Outdoor Miner" (Fifth demo session, April 1978, Riverside Studios, London, England)  1:43
22."Chairs Missing (Used To)" (Fifth demo session, April 1978, Riverside Studios, London, England)GilbertGilbert, Newman4:09
23."Being Sucked in Again" (Fifth demo session, April 1978, Riverside Studios, London, England)Newman 3:38
24."Men 2nd" (Fifth demo session, April 1978, Riverside Studios, London, England) Lewis, Newman1:45
25."Another the Letter" (Fifth demo session, April 1978, Riverside Studios, London, England)Gilbert 1:06
26."No Romans" (Fifth demo session, April 1978, Riverside Studios, London, England)  1:12
Total length:66:26

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of the 2018 Special Edition.[18][21][22]

Wire
  • Colin Newman – vocals, guitar, backing vocals, arrangement
  • Bruce Gilbert – guitar, arrangement, concept
  • Graham Lewis – bass, vocals on "Sand in My Joints", backing vocals, arrangement, concept, original sleeve design
  • Robert Gotobed – drums, percussion, arrangement
Additional personnel and production

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Chairs Missing | full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  2. ^ DeRogatis, Jim; Neate, Wilson. "Wire". Trouser Press. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
  3. ^ "Outdoor Miner | full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "Chairs Missing – Wire". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Wire". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  6. ^ Martin C. Strong (1998). The Great Rock Discography (1st ed.). Canongate Books. ISBN 978-0-86241-827-4.
  7. ^ Gary Graff, ed. (1996). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide (1st ed.). London: Visible Ink Press. ISBN 978-0-7876-1037-1.
  8. ^ Tangari, Joe (5 May 2006). "Wire: Pink Flag / Chairs Missing / 154". Pitchfork. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  9. ^ Harris, John (July 2018). "Dawning of a New Era". Q. No. 386. pp. 120–21.
  10. ^ Gross, Joe (2004). "Wire". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 883–84. ISBN 0-743-20169-8.
  11. ^ Weisbard, Eric (1995). "Wire". In Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig (eds.). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. pp. 435–37. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  12. ^ "Wire: Chairs Missing". Uncut. No. 106. March 2006. p. 106.
  13. ^ Ian Rushby (13 June 2018). "Chairs Missing (Special Edition Reissue)". Under the Radar. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  14. ^ Smith, Sid (20 November 2002). "Wire Pink Flag/Chairs Missing/154 Review". BBC Music. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
  15. ^ Pitchfork staff (23 June 2004). "The 100 Best Albums of the 1970s". Pitchfork. p. 7. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  16. ^ a b Accolades archived at Acclaimed Music. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  17. ^ Barker, Emily (23 October 2013). "The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time: 400–301". NME. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  18. ^ a b "Chairs Missing (2018 Special Edition)". Discogs.com. Retrieved on 5 May 2019.
  19. ^ Neate, Wilson (2013). Read & Burn: A Book About Wire. London: Jawbone Press. p. 81. ISBN 978-1-90827-933-0.
  20. ^ Villeneuve, Phil (11 April 2006). "Wire Reissuing First Three LPs and Early Live Recordings". Chart Attack. Archived from the original on 10 August 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  21. ^ "Chairs Missing (1994 reissue)". Discogs.com. Retrieved on 5 May 2019.
  22. ^ "Chairs Missing (2006 reissue)". Discogs.com. Retrieved on 5 May 2019.

Informational notes[edit]

  1. ^ The songwriting credits for Chairs Missing have been modified on all reissues since 2006.[19] "Men 2nd" was originally credited to Graham Lewis alone.
  2. ^ "Used To" was originally credited to Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis alone.
  3. ^ "Too Late" was originally credited to Bruce Gilbert alone.
  4. ^ "Options R" was originally credited to Graham Lewis alone.

External links[edit]