Stars of CCTV

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Stars of CCTV
Hard-Fi - Stars of CCTV.PNG
Studio album by
Released4 July 2005
StudioThe Cherry Lips Hits Facility (Staines-upon-Thames, England)
Hard-Fi chronology
Stars of CCTV
In Operation
Singles from Stars of CCTV
  1. "Cash Machine"
    Released: 24 January 2005
  2. "Tied Up too Tight/Middle Eastern Holiday"
    Released: 14 March 2005
  3. "Hard to Beat"
    Released: 20 June 2005
  4. "Living for the Weekend"
    Released: 5 September 2005
  5. "Better Do Better"
    Released: 27 February 2006
Alternative covers
"Stars of CCTV" Mini Album
"Stars of CCTV" Mini Album

Stars of CCTV is the debut studio album by English indie rock band Hard-Fi. It was first released on 4 July 2005 through Necessary Records and Atlantic Records. It received positive reviews from critics and was nominated for the 2005 Mercury Music Prize.

The album reached number one on the UK Albums Chart in January 2006, taking it about five months to reach number one mainly due to the preceding single "Cash Machine" catching the sellers' attention; its original peak position was number six. The album has sold 1.2 million copies worldwide,[1] with over 300,000 in the UK alone. It was certified 2× platinum by the BPI for selling 600,000 copies in the UK.[2] The song "Gotta Reason" is included on the soundtrack of the football video game FIFA 06.


The majority of Stars of CCTV was recorded in a variety of unusual acoustic environments – bedrooms, pubs, and played back in Hard-Fi producer Wolsey White's BMW. 1,000 copies of this record were pressed with only 500 going on public sale, and the initial plan was to sell 1,000 each time. However it quickly sold out, receiving critical acclaim and radio play, proving a lot more successful than the band had imagined. Most of the album was recorded in a disused mini cab office, which cost them about £300, and it is known to this day as the "Cherry Lips" Studio (due to the colour of the paint on the walls). The band tried to make their music sound more environmental by putting a microphone in the corridor, which added echo, but background noises caused by people walking past or planes flying overhead could be heard while the band recorded. These background noises can still be heard on the record. The band used the TL Audio Fatman compressor for the album, Archer said "It's alright, it's cheap, you don't have to know what you're doing...".

Stars of CCTV was originally released as a mini album, a very limited release which sold out very quickly. A few months after, the album had been going on sale on websites such as eBay for £25.[3] Talking about the situation, frontman Richard Archer said;

"We had no money but time was a luxury that we did have. So we spent a year planning, then recording it ourselves, and we did all the artwork ourselves too. Even our website was designed by us. We got a book out of the library so we could learn how to do it. Then we had to do it again cos it was a right palaver . So after all that, things took off really quickly and went crazy in the space of two months, which was quite surprising.[3]"


The album's launch party was scheduled for 7 July 2005 at Cheekees night club in Staines (where their top ten single "Hard to Beat" was filmed), but this was cancelled due to the ill health of Richard's mother, and the London bombings also occurring that day. Her death resulted in the band pulling out of the Glastonbury festival. The launch party was rescheduled for 13 July 2005 and the venue changed to Ladbroke Grove, London. Richard says that he is no longer friends with Cheekee because of an incident involving him describing his nightclub to a newspaper like "a bad wedding". Richard defended himself by saying "...but everyone likes a bad wedding so I don't see what the problem is."[4]

After a successful campaign by Atlantic, the Stars of CCTV album re-entered the official UK album chart at No. 4 on 1 January 2006. Two places higher than it originally went in on the week of its release. It reached No. 1 on 22 January 2006. The band's re-release of "Cash Machine" entered the official Top 40 singles chart at No. 14 on 1 January.

The album was listed for 102 weeks in 7 different charts and was certificated platinum by BPI. Its first appearance in the UK Albums Chart was the Top 75 in week 28 in 2005 with its last appearance being week 40 in 2007 in the UK Album Chart Top 75. Its peak position was number 1 on the UK Album Chart.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[6]
Entertainment Weekly8.3/10 (17 Mar 2006, p.114)
The Guardian3/5 stars[7]
Pitchfork Media7.3/10[10]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[11]

Overall Stars of CCTV received positive reviews and on aggregate website Metacritic the album attained a score of 74 out of 100 based on 22 professional reviews.[5]

The NME described the album as "the album of the year" and gave the album 9/10 in a very positive review.[9]

Dave Simpson of The Guardian gave the album three stars out of five, writing that "Hard-Fi's edge over more derivative rivals lies in a formula that delivers old Specials and Clash reggae vibes with the big-tune ratio of a boy band". He however deemed some of the later tracks on the album "filler".[7]

In a 3.5/5 star review for AllMusic, MacKenzie Wilson wrote that "They sound like a garage band while delving into the monotony of everyday suburban life, referring to their small town upbringing. Thus a raw kind of work ethic gradually emerges on Stars of CCTV. Their formula of snappy choruses and tight guitar hooks, particularly on "Middle Eastern Holiday" and "Gotta Reason," captures Hard-Fi's youthful presentation".[6]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Richard Archer.

  1. "Cash Machine" – 3:42
  2. "Middle Eastern Holiday" – 3:44
  3. "Tied up Too Tight" – 4:48
  4. "Gotta Reason" – 2:49
  5. "Hard to Beat" – 4:13
  6. "Unnecessary Trouble" – 3:44
  7. "Move on Now" – 5:08
  8. "Better Do Better" – 4:37
  9. "Feltham Is Singing Out" – 4:36
  10. "Living for the Weekend" – 3:42
  11. "Stars of CCTV" – 3:58

Mini album track listing[edit]

  1. "Cash Machine" – 3:42
  2. "Hard to Beat" – 4:13
  3. "Middle Eastern Holiday" – 4:48
  4. "Stronger" – 3:23
  5. "Hard to Beat (Mix)" – 3:28
  6. "Gotta Reason" – 2:49
  7. "Feltham Is Singing Out" – 4:36
  8. "Move on Now" – 5:08
  9. "Cash Machine" (Wrongtom Mix) – 3:43

Bonus tracks[edit]


Chart (2005–2006) Peak
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[12] 47
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[13] 91
French Albums (SNEP)[14] 68
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[15] 20
Ireland Albums Top 75 5
Italian Albums (FIMI)[16] 79
UK Albums (OCC)[17] 1


5 singles from debut album Stars of CCTV were released.

Like all of the Hard-Fi releases, various formats carried subtle changes to differentiate them on the shelf, making them all collectable, such as "Hard to Beat"'s changing sky to "Living for the Weekend"'s countdown to 18:00.

The Tina mentioned on some of the sleeves formed a subplot throughout all the single releases. She later became a bit of a talking point both in the music press and on the fans forums.

"Cash Machine"
  • Released: 26 January 2005
  • Chart positions:
    • Chart Ineligible
"Tied up too Tight"
"Hard to Beat"
  • Released:

20 June 2005 (UK)
18 April 2006 (United States)

"Living for the Weekend"
"Cash Machine" (re-release)
"Better Do Better"


  1. ^ Hard-Fi, Once Upon a Time in the West
  2. ^ "BPI Certified Awards". British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on 17 January 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  3. ^ a b Clash and burn with Hard-Fi
  4. ^ Hard-Fi on Popworld again video interview with Simon Amstell
  5. ^ a b "Stars of CCTV – Hard-Fi". Metacritic. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  6. ^ a b Wilson, MacKenzie. "Stars of CCTV – Hard-Fi". Allmusic. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  7. ^ a b Simpson, Dave (8 July 2005). "Hard-Fi, Stars of CCTV". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  8. ^ Simpson, Claire. "Hard-Fi – Stars of CCTV". musicOMH. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  9. ^ a b Beaumont, Mark (12 September 2005). "Hard-Fi : Stars of CCTV". NME. Retrieved 11 March 2012. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  10. ^ Raposa, David (1 September 2005). "Hard-Fi: Stars of CCTV". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  11. ^ Sheffield, Rob (21 March 2006). "Hard-Fi, Stars of CCTV". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 18 April 2006. Retrieved 21 October 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  12. ^ " – Hard-Fi – Stars of CCTV" (in German). Hung Medien.
  13. ^ " – Hard-Fi – Stars of CCTV" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  14. ^ " – Hard-Fi – Stars of CCTV". Hung Medien.
  15. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Phononet GmbH.
  16. ^ " – Hard-Fi – Stars of CCTV". Hung Medien.
  17. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.