Mr Love & Justice

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Mr Love & Justice
Billy Bragg Mr Love and Justice Album Cover.JPG
Studio album by Billy Bragg
Released 3 March 2008
Recorded Band version: September 2006 - March 2007
Solo version: September 2007
Genre Rock
Label Cooking Vinyl, ANTI-, Shock
Producer Grant Showbiz
Billy Bragg chronology
Volume 2
(2006)Volume 22006
Mr Love & Justice
Pressure Drop
(2010)Pressure Drop2010
Singles from Mr Love & Justice
  1. "I Keep Faith"
    Released: 17 March 2008
  2. "The Beach Is Free" / "I Almost Killed You"
    Released: 21 July 2008

Mr Love & Justice is the twelfth studio album by folk-rock musician Billy Bragg, and the second to be recorded with his backing band The Blokes. The title is taken from the 1960 novel by Colin MacInnes.[1]

Two versions are available on CD. The first is a single-disc album featuring The Blokes, the second is a limited-edition double-disc release. Disc one is the same as the standard issue, but is referred to as Band Version; the second disc, Solo Version, contains the same twelve tracks performed just by Bragg with electric and acoustic guitars.

The album was recorded at Chapel Studios, Lincolnshire in March 2007, with additional recordings taken from a session that was recorded at The Butchers Shop, London NW5 in September 2006. The solo version of the album was recorded by Bragg at Mojo Sound Studios in Devon in September 2007.

The first single to be released from the album was "I Keep Faith" which was released on limited edition 7" on 17 March 2008.[2]

The second single from the album was a double a-side of "The Beach Is Free" and "I Almost Killed You" which was released as a download single on 21 July 2008.[3]

Franz Nicolay, of The Hold Steady, listed Mr Love & Justice as one of his favourite albums of 2008.[4]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (71/100) [5]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [6]
Crawdaddy! (favourable) [7]
Drowned in Sound (4/10) [8]
Los Angeles Times 2.5/4 stars [9]
musicOMH 2/5 stars [10]
Observer Music Monthly 4/5 stars [11]
Pitchfork Media (6.5/10) [12]
PopMatters 5/10 stars [13] 4/5 stars [14]
Uncut 4/5 stars [15]

The album so far has a score of 71 out of 100 from Metacritic based on "generally favorable reviews".[5] Filter gave the album a score of 82 out of 100 and said, "Flourishes of horns add to the traditional band instrumentation, giving Bragg a solid foundation on which to convey his message."[5] Paste gave the album a favorable review and said that "Rather than being a return to form, it’s a leap forward in maturity, depth and nuance."[16] Billboard gave the album a favorable review and said of Bragg, "Whether you prefer him shouting vitriol on the picket line or whispering sweet nothings in the bedroom, you'll find plenty to enjoy here."[17] The Village Voice likewise gave it a favorable review and called it "classic Bragg: frequently fantastic folk-rock that keeps both the faith and your attention."[18] The Boston Globe likewise gave it a favorable review and stated, "Bragg colors his brilliant Cockney-accented discourse with Appalachian folk on the Woody Guthrie-influenced 'O Freedom,' where he protests, 'Freedom, what liberties are taken in thy name?' On 'I Keep Faith,' which features Soft Machine legend Robert Wyatt, he taps classic soul."[19]

The Phoenix gave the album three stars out of four and said it isn’t without its misfires [...] but it is Bragg’s most assured statement since hooking up with Wilco a decade ago to give life to lost Woody Guthrie lyrics."[20] The A.V. Club gave the album a B and said that while Bragg "doesn't scale the heights he achieved on earlier albums, at least the mountains are visible from here."[21] Spin gave it a score of seven out of ten and said that "Bragg gets the balance of message and music just about right."[5]

Other reviews are pretty average or mixed: Q gave the album three stars out of five and said that the Blokes "too often impede [Bragg's] thoughtful lyrics."[5] Hot Press gave the album an average review and stated: "Bragg is taking stock. He’s now doing it for himself, at his own pace. Those in search of revelation from an old punk with a new perspective will be left hanging."[22] BBC Music gave the album a mixed review and said it was "not at all bad, but compared to Bragg's own Talking with the Taxman About Poetry or Workers Playtime it doesn't fare at all well."[23] Now gave the album two stars out of five and said that it "finds [Bragg] in his comfort zone provided by the Blokes and producer Grant Showbiz under yet another title copped from novelist Colin MacInnes."[24]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Billy Bragg.[15]

  1. "I Keep Faith"
  2. "I Almost Killed You"
  3. "M for Me"
  4. "The Beach is Free"
  5. "Sing Their Souls Back Home"
  6. "You Make Me Brave"
  7. "Something Happened"
  8. "Mr Love & Justice"
  9. "If You Ever Leave"
  10. "O Freedom"
  11. "The Johnny Carcinogenic Show"
  12. "Farm Boy"

Japanese bonus tracks

  1. "Ash Wednesday"
  2. "Goodbye, Goodbye"



  1. ^ Interview, BBC Radio 4 Front Row Thursday 6 March 2008 John Wilson: "You've borrowed the album title from … this is a Colin MacInnes book, isn't it?" Billy Bragg: Yeah, it is – a novel by Colin MacInnes. Oddly enough, I also borrowed the title of an article he wrote for the last album England, Half-English.
  2. ^ "Billy Bragg - I Keep Faith". HMV. Retrieved 2008-03-17. 
  3. ^ "Billy Bragg - The Beach Is Free/I Almost Killed You". HMV. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  4. ^ Lindsay, Andrew. "Interview: Franz Nicolay (The Hold Steady)". Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Critic Reviews for Mr. Love & Justice". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  6. ^ Deming, Mark (2008-03-03). "Mr. Love & Justice - Billy Bragg". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  7. ^ Williams, Paul. "Blogs :: Crawdaddy :: Paste". Crawdaddy!. Retrieved 2012-03-02. [dead link]
  8. ^ Gourlay, Dom (2008-05-09). "Billy Bragg - Mr Love & Justice". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  9. ^ Grosz, Christy (2008-04-22). "Bragg settles down a bit". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  10. ^ Harvey, Darren (2008-03-03). "Billy Bragg - Mr Love And Justice". musicOMH. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  11. ^ Molloy Woodcraft (2008-02-16). "CD: Billy Bragg, Mr Love and Justice". The Observer. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  12. ^ Klein, Joshua (2008-04-24). "Billy Bragg: Mr. Love & Justice". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  13. ^ Fiander, Matthew (2008-04-22). "Billy Bragg: Mr. Love & Justice". PopMatters. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  14. ^ Jelone (2008-04-22). "Billy Bragg - Mr. Love and Justice". Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  15. ^ a b McKay, Alastair (2008). "Billy Bragg - Mr Love & Justice". Uncut. Archived from the original on 2011-05-19. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  16. ^ Sheridan, Tim (2008-04-21). "Paste Magazine :: Review :: Mr. Love & Justice :: (Anti-)". Paste. Archived from the original on 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  17. ^ Sutherland, Mark. "Mr. Love & Justice". Billboard. Archived from the original on 2008-06-25. Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  18. ^ Silvestri, Melissa (2008-05-06). "Billy Bragg's Mr. Love and Justice". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  19. ^ Laban, Linda (2008-04-22). "Words of love - and lust". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  20. ^ Tamarkin, Jeff (6 May 2008). "Billy Bragg: Mr. Love and Justice". The Phoenix. Archived from the original on 25 April 2014. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  21. ^ Bahn, Christopher (2008-04-21). "Billy Bragg: Mr. Love & Justice". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  22. ^ Amanda Spencer (2008-03-06). "Mr Love And Justice". Hot Press. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  23. ^ White, Chris (2008-02-29). "Review of Billy Bragg - Mr Love & Justice". BBC Music. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  24. ^ Perlich, Tim (April 17–24, 2008). "BILLY BRAGG (Mr. Love & Justice)". Now. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 

External links[edit]