Shhh (Chumbawamba album)

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Shhh
Shhh (Chumbawamba album - cover art).jpg
Studio album by Chumbawamba
Released 1992
Recorded 1990–1992
Genre Alternative Rock, Anarcho-punk
Length 45:34
Label

Agit-Prop Records/Southern Records (UK)

Reprise Records (France)
Chumbawamba chronology
Slap!
(1990)Slap!1990
Shhh
(1992)
Anarchy
(1994)Anarchy1994
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Spin positive[2]

Shhh is the fifth studio album by the band Chumbawamba. It was originally written and recorded as Jesus H. Christ, an album that relied heavily on samples.[3] The band was unable to procure rights to a number of the songs they sampled, however, and the album was largely re-worked to defend artistic intent and criticize censorship.[4] The album sleeve artwork itself incorporated various rejection letters received by the band denying the rights to the Christ samples.[3] "Shhh" is considered by many to be a "genre landmark."[5]

The album was re-released with Slap! in the compilation Shhhlap!, released by MUTT Records on July 15, 2003.[1][6]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and produced by Chumbawamba, except where noted.

# Song Name Length Notes
1 "Shhh" 4:59 Samples "Shopping" by the Pet Shop Boys[7][8]
2 "Big Mouth Strikes Again" 5:36 Features rap by MC Fusion; Not a cover of The Smiths' song, but about controversial comedian Lenny Bruce.
3 "Nothing That's New" 3:06
4 "Behave!" 3:03 Different version of "Behave" released as single.
5 "Snip Snip Snip" 2:55 Contains brief sample of piano from ABBA's song "Money Money Money" during the first break
6 "Look! No Strings!" 5:34
7 "Happiness Is Just a Chant Away" 6:37 The final chant is parody of Hare Krishna mantras, instead chanting name of cop killer Harry Roberts. "Harry Roberts is our friend" is a popular non-sectarian anti police chant at British football matches and is also occasionally heard at political demonstrations; Contains references to several Beatles' songs, including backwards a guitar solo like in "Rain", lyrics from "I've Got a Feeling" and a trumpet part mimicking the horn solo from "For No One"
8 "Pop Star Kidnap" 1:26
9 "Sometimes Plunder" 5:04 Features rap by MC Fusion; The title is a reference to the line "sometimes wonder" from Slap! song "Ulrike," changing it to be an attack on the music industry's attack on sampling, pointing out that bands like the Beatles and Rolling Stones stole from African American music, yet they made "a living sometimes plundering"
10 "You Can't Trust Anyone Nowadays" 4:58
11 "Stitch That" 2:10 Uncredited cover of the Mike Waterson/Martin Carthy song "A Stitch in Time"; Contains samples from the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," with a drum beat similar to that song's reprise, and the final piano chord from "A Day in the Life". Alternate live arrangement appears on Showbusiness!. Folk version appears Get On With It! Live album.

Original Jesus H. Christ track listing & notes[edit]

1. "Intro"

  • A 10-second sample of the intro to the Beatles' 1968 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Not used on Shhh. Allegedly, original vinyl copies of this LP open with a few seconds of high-pitched tone before the intro, most likely referencing the 15 kHz tone inserted at the end of English Sgt. Pepper's LPs to "irritate listeners' dogs."

2. "Alright Now"

3. "Don't Fence Me In"

  • A cover version. Did not reappear on Shhh.

4. "Money Money Money"

5. "Solid Gold Easy Action"

6. "Silly Love Songs"

7. "Get Off My Cloud"

8. "Stairway to Heaven"

  • A version of "Happiness Is Just a Chant Away" with a drastically different instrumental backing; uses the chorus of "Everybody's Happy Nowadays" by Buzzcocks. Incidentally, unlike the other tracks on the album, the title does not match with a prominent sample – though Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" is only heard as a vague string rendition of the "if there's a bustle in your hedgerow" melody, appearing under the main composition directly after the verses.

9. "Big Mouth Strikes Again"

  • Very different mix compared to the Shhh version; does not include Fusion's rap verse. Incidentally, if one listens closely to the Shhh version, the harmonica that is heard on this version makes a very brief and quiet appearance, probably by accident.

10. "Street Music"

  • Sound collage that became the end of "Snip Snip Snip" on Shhh. Sometimes referred to as "Street Sounds".

11. "I Should Be So Lucky"

12. "Stitch That"

  • Similar to the Shhh version, except the music consists entirely of looped samples from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise). The voice after the "A Day In The Life" piano chord says "What about the album?" and not "Shhh!".

Other Shhh-era tracks[edit]

  • "I Never Gave Up" – A-side. A remake of the track from Slap!, available in two versions – the Rondo Mix and the Cass Mix. The Cass Mix includes a clip of Spinal Tap's Viv Savage saying his motto, "Have a good time, all the time." This would later reappear in the lyrics of "Look! No Strings!".
  • "Laughing" – B-side to above. Essentially a variation on "I Never Gave Up", this was re-recorded with a new chorus to become the title track of Shhh.
  • "Behave" – A-side. Similar to the album version, albeit with a full set of new lyrics. The single included three mixes – an original version, the Brittle Mix, and a hidden version containing only voice and percussion.
  • "Misbehave" – B-side to above, no relation to its similarly titled counterpart. Both an original version and the Brittle Mix were included on the single.
  • "Harry's Ambient Mantra" – Not quite a Shhh-era track; actually recorded in the transition period between Shhh and Anarchy. This would have been the B-side to "Harry Mantra," an unreleased single track whose ending section appeared as "Blackpool Rock" on Anarchy. However, this track bore no relation to the A-side, being a lengthy ambient remix of "Happiness Is Just A Chant Away." While never officially released in full, a small portion appeared as a hidden track on the Uneasy Listening compilation.

Personnel[edit]

with

  • Simon "Commonknowledge" Lanzon – keyboards, accordion, voice
  • MC Fusion – vocals
  • Neil Ferguson – guitar, keyboards, engineering
  • Geoff Slaphead – fiddle
  • Howard Storey – vocals

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Nickson, Chris. "Shhhlap! review". Allmusic. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  2. ^ "SPIN Oct 1992 "Stolar Tracks"". Google Books. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Shhh" album booklet
  4. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Chumbawamba Biography". MTV. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  5. ^ Misanthropee. "Chumbawamba Tubthumper (1997) review". PunkNews. 
  6. ^ "Chumbawamba Shhh Tracklist". MTV. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  7. ^ Tennant, Neil; Lowe, Chris. "Shopping lyrics". PetShopBoys. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  8. ^ "Shhh Lyrics". MetroMusic. Retrieved 20 November 2016.