Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches

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Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches
Studio album by Happy Mondays
Released 27 November 1990
Genre Madchester
Length 43:46
Label Factory
Producer Paul Oakenfold, Steve Osborne
Happy Mondays chronology
Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches
The Peel Sessions 1989
Singles from Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches
  1. "Step On"
    Released: April 1990
  2. "Kinky Afro"
    Released: October 1990
  3. "Loose Fit"
    Released: March 1991
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Consumer Guide (2-star Honorable Mention)[2]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[3]
Entertainment Weekly C+[4]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/5 stars[5]
NME 9/10[6]
Q 5/5 stars[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[8]
Select 5/5 medals[9]
Uncut 4/5 stars[10]

Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches is the third studio album by English alternative rock band Happy Mondays. It was produced by Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osborne at Eden Studios in London and was released in 1990 by Factory Records.


Cover artwork by Central Station Design. The original album cover consisted of a montage of popular children's sweet wrappers. This was changed following objections from the U.S. manufacturers, resulting in the new, somewhat plainer album cover.[citation needed]

In November 2007, the album was re-released by Rhino Records with extra tracks and a DVD of music videos.[citation needed]

Critical reception[edit]

In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, critic Robert Christgau cited "Grandbag's Funeral" and "Kinky Afro" as highlights and was more impressed by the band's rock music on the album: "their Voidoids is hotter than their 'dance music'".[11] He later gave it a two-star honorable mention, indicating a "likable effort that consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well enjoy."[2] In a less enthusiastic review, Bob Mack of Entertainment Weekly said that apart from "Step On" and "Donovan", the album shows that the band is less interesting than their Madchester contemporaries and do not warrant comparisons to The Rolling Stones.[4] Simon Reynolds, writing in The New York Times, called it a "perplexing mishmash" that can alienate listeners outside of Manchester's rave scene.[12]

In a retrospective review for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine called Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches a hedonistic album that was the peak of Happy Mondays' "career (and quite arguably the whole baggy/Madchester movement) ... a celebratory collage of sex, drugs, and dead-end jobs where there's no despair because only a sucker could think that this party would ever come to an end."[1] Q magazine called it their "artistic peak" and a "top-hole album".[7] In 2000, the magazine placed Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches at number 31 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.[10] In 2005, the album was voted the 51st greatest album of all time by Channel 4 viewers.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Shaun Ryder, Paul Ryder, Mark Day, Paul Davis and Gary Whelan except as noted.

  1. "Kinky Afro" – 3:59
  2. "God's Cop" – 4:58
  3. "Donovan" – 4:04
  4. "Grandbag's Funeral" – 3:20
  5. "Loose Fit" – 5:07
  6. "Dennis and Lois" – 4:24
  7. "Bob's Yer Uncle" (Happy Mondays, Steve Osborne, Paul Oakenfold) – 5:10
  8. "Step On" (John Kongos, Christos Demetriou) – 5:17
  9. "Holiday" – 3:28
  10. "Harmony" – 4:01

2007 collector's edition[edit]

Disc 1

Tracks 1–10 per original release

  1. "Step On (Twisting My Melon mix)"
  2. "Kinky Afro (7" Euro mix)"
  3. "Loose Fit (12" version)"
  4. "Bob's Yer Uncle (12" version)"
  5. "Tokoloshe Man"
Disc 2 – DVD
  1. "Tart Tart"
  2. "24 Hour Party People"
  3. "Lazyitis"
  4. "Wrote for Luck"
  5. "Hallelujah"
  6. "Clap Your Hands"
  7. "Step On"
  8. "Kinky Afro"
  9. "Loose Fit"
  10. "Judge Fudge"

Cover versions[edit]

  • Step On: originally a single by John Kongos, also featured on his 1972 album Kongos; the full title of Kongos' version is "He's Gonna Step On You Again".
  • Tokoloshie Man: also originally a single by John Kongos, Kongos' version is spelled "Tokoloshe Man". Happy Mondays' version was spelled correctly when originally released as a B-side in 1991.

Use in film, theatre and TV[edit]

  • The song "God's Cop" was featured in the Masterpiece Theatre production of White Teeth.[13]
  • The songs "Loose Fit" and "Kinky Afro" were featured in the 2002 film 24 Hour Party People, a dramatisation of the Manchester music scene during the time of the Happy Mondays, New Order & Joy Division.
  • The song "Loose Fit" was featured on Clarkson's Car Years in "The New Romantics" episode in 2000.


Happy Mondays
Additional personnel
  • Rowetta - guest vocals
  • Tony Castro - percussion
  • Simon Machan – original programming
Technical personnel
  • Paul Oakenfold - producer, arranger, mixing engineer
  • Ray Blair - recording engineer
  • Steve Osborne - producer, arranger, mixing engineer
  • Dale Lavi - photographer


  1. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches – Happy Mondays". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (2000). Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. Macmillan. pp. xvi, 128. ISBN 0312245602. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-857-12595-8. 
  4. ^ a b Mack, Bob (14 December 1990). "Pills 'N' Thrills and Bellyaches". Entertainment Weekly (New York) (44). Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  5. ^ Gold, Jonathan (January 6, 1991). "Happy Mondays 'Pills 'N' Thrills And Bellyaches' Elektra". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 31, 2015. 
  6. ^ Maconie, Stuart. "Happy Mondays – Pills 'N' Thrills And Bellyache". NME. London. Archived from the original on 12 October 2000. Retrieved 30 October 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Happy Mondays: Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches". Q (London) (118): 102. July 1996. 
  8. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 362–63. ISBN 0-743-20169-8. 
  9. ^ Harrison, Andrew (December 1990). "Non-Stop Ecstatic Belly Dancing". Select (London) (6): 92–93. 
  10. ^ a b "Happy Mondays – Pills 'N' Thrills And Bellyaches CD Album". CD Universe. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert (30 July 1991). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Reynolds, Simon (2 December 1990). "HOME ENTERTAINMENT/RECORDINGS: RECENT RELEASES". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  13. ^ http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/teeth/ei_soundtrack.html

External links[edit]