Pleased to Meet You (James album)

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Pleased to Meet You
A black-and-white close-up of a man wearing a white shirt and black tie against a grey background
Studio album by
Released2 July 2001
RecordedLate 2000 – January 2001
StudioRidge Farm, Whitfield St., House in the Woods
GenreStadium rock
Length48:05
LabelMercury
Producer
James chronology
Millionaires
(1999)
Pleased to Meet You
(2001)
Hey Ma
(2008)
Singles from Pleased to Meet You
  1. "Getting Away with It (All Messed Up)"
    Released: 25 June 2001

Pleased to Meet You is the ninth studio album by English rock band James. Less than a year after the release of Millionaires (1999), the band were playing new material live. Recording was split between Ridge Farm, Whitfield St., House in the Woods studios; producer credit was split between Brian Eno, guitarist/violinist Saul Davies, KK and the band. "Getting Away with It (All Messed Up)" was released as a single in late June, followed a week later by Pleased to Meet You on 2 July through Mercury Records.

The front cover features a composite image of all the band members' faces. Pleased to Meet You reached number 11 on the UK album chart, and was certified silver by the BPI. Lead single "Getting Away with It (All Messed Up)" reached number 22 on the UK singles chart. The record received a mainly favourable response from music critics. It was promoted with an appearance on Top of the Pops and various festivals across three months in the UK, Spain and Portugal. Vocalist Tim Booth left the group after their December UK tour; the final show of which was released as the Getting Away with It...Live live/video album in early 2002.

Background and production[edit]

James released their eighth album Millionaires in October 1999.[1] In March 2000, the group revealed they had been writing new material and planned to record later in the year, with the aim of releasing an album in January 2001.[2] During their performance at the V Festival in August, the band played three new songs.[3] The following month, the band revealed they were in the process of recording with Brian Eno,[4] doing pre-production.[3] In October and November, the group embarked on a UK club tour.[4] They used the stint to test how the new songs would sound live before they planned to record them.[5] They had written over 30 tracks for inclusion on their next record; on the opening night, the group played seven of these new songs.[6] Though the band had planned to use a different producer for the main sessions,[3] Eno and guitarist/violinist Saul Davies were enlisted to produce most of the recordings.[7]

Inspired by playing the new songs live, the group decided to gather in a circle and record live-in-the-studio[8] at Ridge Farm Studios with engineer Gary Langan.[7]Eno likened the process to when artists make their debut record: "they're full of enthusiasm and excitement and they know what they're doing and it's a pleasure."[9] Additional production was done by Kevin Kerrigan and drummer David Baynton-Power. All of the songs recorded here were mixed by Dave Bascombe at Whitfield St. Studios.[7] The remainder of the tracks were credited to different producers: "Falling Down" by Eno and KK; "The Shining", "Give It Away" and "Getting Away with It (All Messed Up)" by James and Eno; "Gaudi" by James and Baynton-Power; "What Is It Good For" by James; "Fine" by James, Eno and KK; and "Alaskan Pipeline" by James. Bascombe did additional recording and engineering at Whitfield.[7]

"The Shining", "Getting Away with It (All Messed Up)" and "Alaskan Pipeline" were engineered by James Loughrey.[7] "The Shining", "Senorita", "Gaudi", "What Is It Good For" and "Getting Away with It (All Messed Up)" were recorded at House in the Woods. "Gaudi" was engineered by Tim Pettit and Baynton-Power. "What Is It Good For" was engineered by Pettit and mixed by him, James and Bascombe at House in the Woods and Whitfield. KK did additional recording for it and "Getting Away with It (All Messed Up)". "Fine" was engineered by Loughrey and KK, with additional engineering by Simon Changer.[7] The sessions concluded in January 2001;[10] the recording days consisted of 18-hour periods. Most of the finished album was made up from live takes and demos that were made before recording with Eno.[11] Mixing began in late January 2001[10] and finished in March.[12]

Composition[edit]

Musically, Pleased to Meet You has been described as stadium rock.[13] It was originally titled We Want Our Money Back,[5] before being re-titled Space,[14] and eventually Pleased to Meet You. Booth said it had an underlying theme of distaste for "habits, addictions, [and] impulses that we can't control. Different characters expressing their particular loops."[11] Booth felt the album was the first one since Laid (1993) that they had strayed from the Verse-chorus-verse structure.[11] "Space" begins as a Radiohead-esque track for shifting into chorus sections in the vein of Simple Minds.[13] Discussing "Falling Down", Booth said after recording a jam with Eno, it was given to KK. He edited the track; after giving Booth a copy, he re-did the vocal take, resulting in the final version. The lyrics refer to a mad, eccentric woman coming into power.[15] The bass part was compared to the one heard in "Material Girl" by Madonna.[16]

"English Beefcake" stars a man who ends relationships, while being hesitant in causing pain as a result of them.[11] "Junkie" talks about compulsive behaviour, and sees Booth singing through an answerphone.[13] "Senorita" is about a guy that falls in love with a dangerous woman.[11] "Guadi" is a disco song.[16] "Give It Away" was compared to the Go-Betweens. "Fine" is a percussion-led song.[13] "Getting Away with It (All Messed Up)" is a slow-building indie rock track with a psychedelic bridge section.[17] Davies said every instrument on the track was unintentionally out of tune. It talks about a guy called Daniel who saves a woman called Grace from drowning, and unbeknownst to him, saving her helps him save himself.[8] Its original title was "Saving Grace"; their label had it changed as they reasoned the public wouldn't buy it with that title. "Alaskan Pipeline" is a minimalist ballad[18] is about a son's relationship with his Mother.[19]

Release[edit]

"Getting Away with It (All Messed Up)" premiered on BBC Radio 1 on 18 May 2001; the group appeared on Later... with Jools Holland later that day,[20] and performed "Falling Down" and "Getting Away with It (All Messed Up)".[12] On 31 May, Pleased to Meet You was announced for release in July, and the track listing was revealed. Alongside this announcement, a remix of "Fine", done by Baynton-Power, was available from the group's website.[21] "Getting Away with It (All Messed Up)" was released as a single on 25 June,[20] after being delayed a week from its original release date.[12] Two versions were released on CD: one with "Make It Alright" and "So Swell", and the other with "Stand" and a live version of "The Shining".[22] On 19 June, Dotmusic revealed the album's artwork, which is a computer-generated image that merged all of the members' faces.[9] Pleased to Meet You was released on 2 July 2001[23] through Mercury Records. The UK special edition included the bonus songs "Gaudi" and "What Is It Good For" as 9th and 10th tracks.[7] On 6 July, the group performed on Top of the Pops.[24]

Throughout July and September, the group performed at the T in the Park, Guildford Live, City in the Park,[21] Witnness,[25] Benicàssim, and Annual Youth Music festivals, across the UK, Spain and Portugal.[26] On 6 September, the band announced their departure from Mercury[26] after completing their six-album contract, though they planned to release a compilation and reissue their back catalogue in the future through the label.[27] Following this, they played the Electron Festival in Greece at the end of the month.[26] On 29 October, Booth announced he would be leaving the band after their current tour engagements, with the band aiming to continue recording.[28] At the end of November, the group played a few shows in Spain and Portugal,[26] leading up to a UK tour in December.[23] Ben Folds was initially scheduled to support the band for their UK stint, but was replaced by Turin Brakes.[26] Coinciding with this, the B-side compilation B-Sides Ultra was released on 3 December.[29] On 24 December, a remix of "Fine", done by Hunter, was available from the group's website.[30] The final show of their December tour was filmed,[31] and later released as the live/video album Getting Away with It...Live in June 2002.[30]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic65/100[32]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[18]
ChartAttackFavourable[33]
DotmusicFavourable[13]
The Guardian3/5[34]
NME6/10[16]
Q2/5 stars[35]
Playlouder3.5/5 stars[36]
Martin C. Strong6/10[37]
Uncut3/5 stars[38]

Pleased to Meet You reached number 11 on the UK album chart.[39] It was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).[40] "Getting Away with It (All Messed Up)" charted at number 22 on the UK singles chart.[39]

Pleased to Meet You received generally positive reviews from music critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[32] AllMusic reviewer Andy Kellman said it wasn't "just another good James record -- it's their best."[18] He expanded: "It's their tightest, freshest, most contemporary batch of songs, weatherproofed to stand the test of time."[18] ChartAttack wrote that fans of the group's earlier hits, such as "Sit Down" and "Laid", would be "disappointed with this disc," however, "longtime James fans should find much to enjoy."[33] Though noting it wasn't as "adventurous" of a release as Wah Wah is, the group made a record "whose songs are often times spacious and funky at the same time."[33] Dotmusic writer Dave Jennings wasn't fond of the group leaving pop; "it's just unfortunate that their chosen alternative often seems to be stadium rock."[13] He said the group's attempts at taking risks produced the record's "best moments."[13]

Playlouder's Sarah Bee considered it a "more low-key" affair that was "less brash" than Millionaires.[36] The high moments are "safer and its lows more thoughtful and safe."[36] Though, this "doesn't mean it's not rather good. Cos it is."[36] Andrew Paine of NME considered it the "best James record in a long while and there are some near-inspirational moments."[16] It was a "smartly dressed record" that could make the group "feel at least slightly relevant again. Ultimately, though, there's a more brutal solution to that problem."[16] In a review for The Guardian, Caroline Sullivan wrote that the group "continue their run of mini-symphonies by and for men who don't cringe at terms such as 'birthing partner'."[34]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Tim Booth, Jim Glennie, Saul Davies, Mark Hunter, David Baynton-Power.[7]

No.TitleProducerLength
1."Space"4:49
2."Falling Down"
  • Eno
  • KK
3:36
3."English Beefcake"
  • Eno
  • Davies
5:46
4."Junkie"
  • Eno
  • Davies
4:56
5."Pleased to Meet You"
  • Eno
  • Davies
5:37
6."The Shining"
  • James
  • Eno
4:26
7."Senorita"
  • Eno
  • Davies
3:10
8."Give It Away"
  • James
  • Eno
3:05
9."Fine"
  • James
  • Eno
  • KK
3:41
10."Getting Away with It (All Messed Up)"
  • James
  • Eno
4:29
11."Alaskan Pipeline"
  • James
4:28
Total length:48:05
UK special edition bonus tracks
No.TitleProducerLength
8."Gaudi"3:17
9."What Is It Good For"James4:12
Total length:55:32

Personnel[edit]

Personnel per booklet.[7]

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Millionaires - James | Release Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  2. ^ "James News". James. Archived from the original on 21 June 2000. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "James News". James. Archived from the original on 6 October 2000. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  4. ^ a b "James Go Clubbing". NME. 1 September 2000. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  5. ^ a b "James Bonding!". NME. 6 September 2000. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  6. ^ "New 'Sound' for James". NME. 24 October 2000. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Pleased to Meet You (booklet). James. Mercury Records. 2001. 5861462.CS1 maint: others (link)
  8. ^ a b Heath, Chris (29 June 2001). "James Interview". Dotmusic. Archived from the original on 2 December 2001. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  9. ^ a b "James Become 'James'". Dotmusic. 19 June 2001. Archived from the original on 3 August 2001. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  10. ^ a b "James News". James. Archived from the original on 8 February 2001. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Interview with Tim Booth". James. 19 June 2001. Archived from the original on 20 August 2001. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  12. ^ a b c "James News". James. Archived from the original on 6 June 2001. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Jennings, Dave (2 July 2001). "James - Please to Meet You (Mercury)". Dotmusic. Archived from the original on 24 November 2001. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  14. ^ "'Space' – The Final Frontier". NME. 16 March 2001. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  15. ^ Holland, Jools (18 May 2001). "James". Later... with Jools Holland (Interview). London, UK: BBC.
  16. ^ a b c d e Paine, Andre (3 July 2001). "James : Pleased To Meet You". NME. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  17. ^ Jaymes, Cyd (27 June 2001). "James - 'Getting Away with It' (All Messed Up)". Dotmusic. Archived from the original on 8 November 2001. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  18. ^ a b c d Kellman, Andy. "Pleased to Meet You - James | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  19. ^ Carl (June 2001). "Q&A with Tim Booth" (Interview). CompuServe.
  20. ^ a b "Brand New Single & Album". James. Archived from the original on 18 June 2001. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  21. ^ a b "Ohmigod James Is Back With A New Album: But Not Here". Spin. 31 May 2001. Archived from the original on 8 August 2001. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  22. ^ "Singles". James. Archived from the original on 24 August 2003. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  23. ^ a b "Home, James!". NME. 30 June 2001. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  24. ^ "James News". James. Archived from the original on 3 August 2001. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  25. ^ "Witnness Will Go Ahead". Dotmusic. 10 May 2001. Archived from the original on 20 December 2001. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  26. ^ a b c d e "James News". James. Archived from the original on 20 October 2001. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  27. ^ "No Home James!". NME. 10 September 2001. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  28. ^ "'We're Going to Miss You', Tim!". NME. 29 October 2001. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  29. ^ "B's Here Now!". NME. 19 November 2001. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  30. ^ a b "James News". James. Archived from the original on 3 April 2002. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  31. ^ "How Was It for You?". NME. 14 December 2001. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  32. ^ a b "Pleased To Meet You - James". Metacritic. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  33. ^ a b c "James — Pleased To Meet You". ChartAttack. 10 July 2001. Archived from the original on 31 March 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  34. ^ a b Sullivan, Caroline (28 June 2001). "Shady escapades". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 10 May 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  35. ^ "Reviews". Q (August 2001): 130.
  36. ^ a b c d Bee, Sarah (9 July 2001). "Pleased To Meet You by James". Playlouder. Archived from the original on 26 July 2001. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  37. ^ "Reviews". The Essential Rock Discography - Volume 1: 550. 2006.
  38. ^ "Reviews". Uncut (September 2001): 92.
  39. ^ a b c "James | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  40. ^ a b "British album certifications – James – Pleased to Meet You". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 9 June 2020. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Pleased to Meet You in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External links[edit]