I Am the Greatest (A House album)
|I Am the Greatest|
UK and Irish cover art
|Studio album by|
|Label||Radioactive, MCA, Setanta|
|A House chronology|
|Singles from I Am the Greatest|
At the time of its release, I Am the Greatest was very well reviewed, but sometimes the album was also marvelled at for its very existence. After their second album, I Want Too Much, had been a commercial failure (despite critical plaudits) A House had been dropped by their record label and many doubted that they could continue. However, they refused to give up and, helped out by Setanta Records, produced an album almost universally assessed as a triumph: musically, lyrically, and perhaps especially in terms of the band's attitude, as A House refused to compromise their own idiosyncratic standards in the face of such limited commercial success, thereby somehow managing to reawaken music, at least according to some: "[t]he single Endless Art, is quite unlike anything else you'll hear this year, and the title track fairly quivers with indignation. 'Whatever happened to good music? Remember the days you could feel it, it was almost sexual...'" That title track was "unforgettable ... a systematic, blow-by- blow destruction of the music business and the state of the nation coupled with a dramatic determination not to give in".
City Limits was "mightily impressed with this headlong maelstrom of angst, bluster and corking ideas". Melody Maker said I Am the Greatest was "a gigantic musical achievement and an astonishing comeback, ... the ultimate KO". Irish music magazine Hot Press observed the underwhelming apathy that had greeted A House's previous efforts, and how often they had been paddle-less up commercial creeks, only to marvel that they had returned "with a record more cohesive and infinitely more glorious than anyone could have hoped ... one of the most cherishable pieces of black vinyl you could ever hope to own", an album which raised the possibility that "A House are the finest band Ireland has produced", deserving of a statue in O'Connell Street.
By 2004, Hot Press's enthusiasm had waned somewhat, although the magazine still ranked I Am the Greatest 29th out of 100 on their list of "Greatest Irish Albums". In the same year, a reader poll on the music website CLUAS put the record at 16th on an all-time list of Irish records.
In 2008, a poll of the staff rock critics of the Irish Times rated I Am the Greatest as the third best Irish album of all time (jointly with Ghostown by The Radiators). This put it behind only Loveless by My Bloody Valentine and Achtung Baby by U2. Tony Clayton-Lea wrote that "some would say A House were the best Irish band of the past 30 years, surpassing the usual suspects list by virtue of their uncompromising nature, provocative lyrical stance and perversely discordant approach" so that, on I Am the Greatest, "even after almost 20 years, the impact of songs as emotionally strong and raw as You're Too Young, When I First Saw You, I Am Afraid, I Lied and the spoken-word title track leave the listener wondering how much more they can take".
- "I Don't Care"
- "You're Too Young"
- "Endless Art"
- "Blind Faith"
- 'Cotton Pickers'
- "How Strong Is Love"
- "When I First Saw You"
- "I Am Afraid"
- "Take It Easy on Me"
- "Creatures of Craze"
- "Slipping Away"
- "I Wanted Too Much"
- "I Lied"
- 'Live Life Dead Die'
- "I Am the Greatest"
- All songs by A House
- Produced by Edwyn Collins
- Allmusic review
- Davies, Paul (1991), "Review of I Am the Greatest", Q
- Finlay, Lea (December 1991), "Review of I Am the Greatest", Vox
- Gates, David (1991-10-17), "Review of I Am the Greatest", City Limits
- Simpson, Dave (1991-10-19), "Review of I Am the Greatest", Melody Maker
- Feeney, Lorraine (1991-11-14), "Review of I Am the Greatest", Hot Press
- The 100 Greatest Irish Albums. "I Am The Greatest(29/100 Greatest Irish Albums)". Hotpress.com. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
- "The Top Fifty Irish Records of All Time: The best Irish albums ever, as voted by readers of CLUAS.com", CLUAS | Polls | Top 50 Irish albums of all time, retrieved 2010-04-25
- Boyd, Brian; Carroll, Jim; Clayton-Lea, Tony; Courtney, Kevin (2008-02-29), "The Ticket's Top 40 Irish Albums of All Time", Irish Times