Secondhand Daylight

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Secondhand Daylight
Magazine - Secondhand Daylight.jpg
Studio album by
Released30 March 1979
RecordedJanuary 1979
StudioGood Earth Studios, London
ProducerColin Thurston
Magazine chronology
Real Life
Secondhand Daylight
The Correct Use of Soap
Singles from Secondhand Daylight
  1. "Rhythm of Cruelty" b/w "T.V. Baby"
    Released: February 1979

Secondhand Daylight is the second studio album by English post-punk band Magazine. It was released on 30 March 1979 by record label Virgin. One single, "Rhythm of Cruelty", was released from the album.


Unlike the group's former album Real Life, Howard Devoto did not contribute to writing the music for most of the tracks. Instead, the writing credits were split between band members: Devoto, John McGeoch and Dave Formula each wrote songs alone and in collaboration with Barry Adamson and Devoto/McGeoch wrote one song together. Devoto again provided lyrics for all compositions with the exception of the instrumental "The Thin Air", reputedly because the group ran out of studio time.


The new lineup was stable until mid-1980 and consisted of Devoto (vocals), McGeoch (guitar and saxophone), Adamson (bass), Formula (keyboards) and newly recruited drummer John Doyle. The first release with Doyle had been the "Give Me Everything" single from November 1978.

The album was recorded in January 1979 at Good Earth Studios in London and using Virgin Records' mobile studio, which was used at Farmyard Studios. The album was produced and engineered by Colin Thurston. The album was Thurston's first production job; significantly, he had worked as an engineer for David Bowie's "Heroes" and Iggy Pop's The Idiot.


The album was originally released as an LP (with a gatefold sleeve) and as a cassette in March 1979. It peaked at No. 38 on the UK Albums Chart.[1] The album was subsequently released as a budget album on LP, cassette and CD in the late 1980s. A remastered edition of the album was released by Virgin/EMI in 2007, along with the other three of the band's first four studio albums, including four bonus tracks and liner notes by Kieron Tyler. The original artwork featured an illustration by Ian Pollack, photography by Richard Rayner-Canham and typography by Malcolm Garrett.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[2]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[3]
Q4/5 stars[4]
Smash Hits6/10[5]
Stylus MagazineA[6]
Uncut5/5 stars[7]
The Village VoiceC[8]

Upon its release, Secondhand Daylight was hailed in the NME. Reviewer Nick Kent described songs like "Feed the Enemy" as "very Low-period Bowiesque", due to the "stray saxophone bleats and lulling synthesiser chords".[9]

Sounds was less positive; music journalist Gary Bushell declared that Magazine were in "retreat to the '70s progressive lie".[citation needed]

On its US release a year later, Richard C. Walls in Creem was also unimpressed: "musically and lyrically this stuff is old hat. There's no new wave succinctness here, no economy or irony. Just a surfeit of Pink Floydian chord coasting behind bleak and wintry lyrics."[10]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics are written by Howard Devoto; with the exception of "The Thin Air" (instrumental) and "I Love You, You Big Dummy" (Don Van Vliet).

Side one
No.TitleMusic writer(s)Length
1."Feed the Enemy"Dave Formula5:45
2."Rhythm of Cruelty"John McGeoch, Barry Adamson3:03
3."Cut-Out Shapes"Howard Devoto4:43
4."Talk to the Body"John McGeoch3:34
5."I Wanted Your Heart"Dave Formula, Barry Adamson5:13
Side two
No.TitleMusic writer(s)Length
6."The Thin Air"Howard Devoto, John McGeoch4:10
7."Back to Nature"Dave Formula6:40
8."Believe That I Understand"Howard Devoto, Barry Adamson4:00
9."Permafrost"Howard Devoto5:25
2007 remastered edition bonus tracks
No.TitleMusic writer(s)Length
10."Give Me Everything"Howard Devoto4:23
11."I Love You, You Big Dummy"Don Van Vliet (music and lyrics)3:54
12."Rhythm of Cruelty" (original single version)John McGeoch, Barry Adamson3:04
13."TV Baby"Dave Formula3:48


Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1979) Peak
UK Albums Chart 38[1]


  1. ^ a b "Chart Stats - Magazine". Retrieved 2014-06-30.
  2. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Secondhand Daylight – Magazine". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  4. ^ "Magazine: Secondhand Daylight". Q: 126. [A] masterpiece, an absorbing nine-song suite given a glacial sheen...
  5. ^ Starr, Red (3–16 May 1979). "Albums". Smash Hits: 25.
  6. ^ Parrish, Peter (4 May 2007). "Magazine – Real Life / Secondhand Daylight / The Correct Use of Soap / Magic, Murder and the Weather – Review". Stylus Magazine. Archived from the original on 6 May 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  7. ^ Mueller, Andrew (15 March 2007). "Magazine – Reissues". Uncut. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert (29 October 1979). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  9. ^ Kent, Nick (31 March 1979). "Magazine's Mad Minstrels Gains Momentum". NME: 31. Cite has empty unknown parameter: |1= (help)
  10. ^ Walls, Richard C. (March 1980). "Magazine: Secondhand Daylight (Virgin)". Creem.

External links[edit]