Friends and Lovers (album)

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Friends and Lovers
Studio album by Bernard Butler
Released 25 October 1999
Recorded RAK studios
Genre Rock
Length 50:13
Label Creation
Producer Bernard Butler
Bernard Butler chronology
People Move On
Friends and Lovers
Singles from Friends and Lovers
  1. "Friends and Lovers"
    Released: 20 August 1999
  2. "You Must Go On"
    Released: 6 October 1999
  3. "I'd Do It Again If I Could"
    Released: 20 February 2000 (U.S. only)
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Dayton Daily NewsB-[2]
The Guardian3/5 stars[3]
The Phoenix3.5/4 stars[5]
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette3/4 stars[6]
Q2/5 stars[8]
Sunday Herald3/5[9]

Friends and Lovers is the second and to date, most recent album from English singer Bernard Butler released in 1999.


The album is a lot different from his debut, displaying a more upbeat and pop-rock sound. Butler trimmed away the folkier elements of his debut, which relied a lot on strings. Instead, Friends and Lovers sees Butler bring the guitar to the forefront of the musical output. Butler has described the record as: "More direct, more concise, no strings."[10] The album was recorded in London and Chipping Norton, and mixed in New York by Andy Wallace.[11]

David Simutis of Phoenix New Times concurred that the record is an upbeat affair. He wrote that "the main emotion captured on Friends & Lovers is happiness. From the up-tempo power chords, organ and handclaps of "I'd Do It Again If I Could," to the bouncing beat and guitar textures of "What Happened to Me," it's a powerful record of hope."[12]

Singles released from the album were "Friends and Lovers" and "You Must Go On". "You Must Go On" charted at no 44.[13] "I'd Do It Again If I Could" was released as a single in the U.S. on Columbia Records in February 2000.[14]



Some critics saw it as a step forward from his debut. Sarah Zupko of PopMatters wrote: "Friends and Lovers is more anthemic and self-assured than People Move On, as though Butler has been steadily gaining confidence in himself as a frontman."[7] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic felt that Butler has greater focus on this record, however felt that the music needed "a larger-than-life personality, a vocalist on the level of Brett Anderson."[1]

Jay Hedblade of the Chicago Tribune had a more mixed sentiment, saying: "Bernard Butler offers more textured, palatable rock cast in a classic mode. Like his debut, People Move On, Butler demonstrates he's adept at building gorgeous mile-high melodies that hit all the right buttons, yet as agreeable as it is, there's still a nagging feeling that something's missing." Although he did say the album had "brilliant moments", he concluded by saying: "elsewhere Butler spends too much time waxing poetic without the verbal dexterity to hold up the grand nature of the tunes."[15]


The album was not a commercial success, this was mainly due to the breakup of Creation Records shortly before Butler was due to embark on a UK tour. As a result, the tour was cancelled and he was unable to fully complete his promotional duties for the album.[16] The album charted at number 43 on the UK Albums Chart.[13]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Bernard Butler.

1."Friends and Lovers"4:13
2."I'd Do It Again If I Could"3:26
5."You Must Go On"3:25
6."No Easy Way Out"4:26
7."Everyone I Know Is Falling Apart"4:18
8."What Happened To Me"3:18
9."Let's Go Away"4:03
11."Has Your Mind Got Away?"8:12
12."You'll Feel It When You're Mine"2:31
13."70 Miles" (bonus track on Japanese editions)4:23


  1. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Friends and Lovers review". AllMusic.
  2. ^ Underwood, Bob (18 February 2000). "RECORDINGS IN BRIEF". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved 24 June 2013.  Select link: 'read full article'
  3. ^ Sweeting, Adam (22 October 1999). "CD Releases". The Guardian. p. B17. 
  4. ^ Segal, Victoria (19 October 1999). "Friends And Lovers - He might have the last laugh, after all..." NME. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  5. ^ Laban, Linda (3 February 2000). "Off The Record - Friends And Lovers". The Phoenix. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Masley, Ed (11 February 2000). "Pop Music". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 118. Retrieved 5 February 2017 – via Google News Archive. 
  7. ^ a b Zupko, Sarah. "Bernard Butler: Friends and Lovers". Popmatters. 
  8. ^ Maconie, Stuart (December 1999). "He's found his niche and he's sticking to it". Q (159). 
  9. ^ Virtue, Graeme (24 October 1999). "Friends And Lovers - Bernard Butler (Creation)". Sunday Herald – via HighBeam. (Subscription required (help)). 
  10. ^ "THE BUTLER DID IT (NEARLY)". NME. 18 January 1999. Retrieved 19 December 2016. 
  11. ^ "The Butler Done It". NME. 6 June 1999. Retrieved 19 December 2016. 
  12. ^ Simutis, David (3 February 2000). "Coming Up". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 12 July 2017. 
  13. ^ a b "Artist Chart History: Bernard Butler". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  14. ^ Taylor, Chuck (19 February 2000). "Reviews & Previews: Rock Tracks" (PDF). Billboard. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  15. ^ Hedblabe, Jay (5 March 2000). "Bernard Butler Friends & Lovers (Columbia)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  16. ^ "Butler to abandon stage for baize?". NME. 22 March 2000. Retrieved 19 December 2016. 

External links[edit]