The Hour of Bewilderbeast

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The Hour of Bewilderbeast
Badly Drawn Boy - The Hour of the Bewilderbeast.jpg
Studio album by Badly Drawn Boy
Released 26 June 2000
Genre Indie rock, indie folk, chamber pop
Length 63:25
Label XL Recordings/Twisted Nerve Records
Producer Badly Drawn Boy, Gary Wilkinson, Joe Robinson, Ken Nelson
Badly Drawn Boy chronology
The Hour of Bewilderbeast
About A Boy

The Hour of Bewilderbeast is the first full-length album by Badly Drawn Boy, released in 2000. The album features members of Alfie and Doves as backing musicians.[1] It won the 2000 Mercury Prize,[2] and has sold 455,000 copies in the United Kingdom as of September 2011.[3]

Copyright issues[edit]

The cover art, designed by Andy Votel, is loosely based on Leonardo da Vinci's drawing Vitruvian Man. The original art also featured Woody Allen, however his picture had to be removed due to copyright issues.[4]

Other modifications to the album include the removal of a selection of lyrics from the track "Magic in the Air." The lyrics were replaced by an instrumental after hip hop artist Taja Sevelle claimed they were too similar to those in her single "Love Is Contagious."[4][5]

Reception and legacy[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 78/100[6]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[7]
Entertainment Weekly A–[8]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[9]
NME 7/10[10]
Pitchfork Media 8.6/10[11]
Q 4/5 stars[12]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[13]
Select 5/5 medals[14]
Spin 5/10[15]
The Village Voice A–[16]

The Hour of Bewilderbeast has received mostly positive reviews. On the review aggregate site Metacritic, the album has a score of 78 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[6] Several reviewers compared the album to Beck and Elliott Smith.[7][11]

AllMusic's John Bush praised the album, writing "Despite all attempts to sabotage his songwriting and production with innumerable experimental tidbits, songs within a song, and (seemingly) tossed-off arrangements, Damon Gough has to face the fact that he wrote and produced over a dozen excellent songs of baroque folk-pop for his album debut, and the many gems can't help but shine through all the self-indulgence." Bush also praised Gough's use of humour in the lyrics.[7] musicOMH's Michael Hubbard also gave the album a positive review, writing "This album deserves to do well for many more reasons than the act's name, excellent though it is. It is light, breezy and atmospheric, a surprise is set loose with every track and even the title is marvellous."[17] Brent DiCrescenzo of Pitchfork Media described the album as "loose" and "scatterbrain," but nevertheless praised the album, writing "Piano, strings, harps, and Wurlitzer attach insect wings to the lovely songs. They'll swarm and pester your head for days. With this concise tour through the gentler side of British songwriting history... Badly Drawn Boy proves what shallow saps American liberal arts majors can be behind a guitar."[11]

Spin's Barney Hoskyns, on the other hand, gave the album a more mixed review, writing "Gough's dewy little tunes are mere scribblings in the margins of alt-folk's dog-eared hook-book, while his too-cool-to-care singing is drip-dry dreary." Hoskyns continued: "Stand The Hour of Bewilderbeast next to Elliott Smith's Figure 8 for a few bars and Gough starts to look like an imposter."[15]

The Hour of Bewilderbeast has appeared on several year-end lists. Pitchfork Media ranked the album No. 18 on its list of the top 20 albums of 2000.[18] NME ranked the album No. 4 on its list of the 50 best albums of 2000.[19] In addition, the album received the 2000 Mercury Prize, a prize Gough was favoured to win. When Gough received the prize, he tossed the prize money on the ground and said: "I always assumed I was never going to win because good things don't happen to good people normally."[20]

The album was also listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Badly Drawn Boy (Damon Gough).

No. Title Length
1. "The Shining"   5:18
2. "Everybody's Stalking"   3:39
3. "Bewilder"   0:48
4. "Fall in a River"   2:17
5. "Camping Next to Water"   3:50
6. "Stone on the Water"   3:58
7. "Another Pearl"   4:27
8. "Body Rap"   0:45
9. "Once Around the Block"   3:44
10. "This Song"   1:32
11. "Bewilderbeast"   3:30
12. "Magic in the Air"   3:43
13. "Cause a Rockslide"   5:55
14. "Pissing in the Wind"   4:19
15. "Blistered Heart"   1:50
16. "Disillusion"   5:19
17. "Say It Again"   4:41
18. "Epitaph"   3:50


The following people contributed to The Hour of Bewilderbeast:[1]

  • Badly Drawn Boy (Damon Gough) – vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, lead guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, drum machine, tambourine, handclaps, whistling, slide guitar, harmonica, Wurlitzer electric piano, lead keyboards, organ solo, drum machine organs, percussion, crash cymbal, vibraphone, xylophone, harp, string arrangement, sound effects
  • Matt McGeever – cello, handclaps
  • Sam Morris – bass, keyboards, French horn, handclaps
  • Ian Smith – drums, electric guitar, percussion, vibraphone, handclaps
  • Joe Robinson – drum programming, loops, theremin, effects, sound effects
  • Andy Votel – drum programming, effects, piano, keyboards, strings samples, samples
  • Adrian Dacre – drums
  • Sean Kelly – drums, handclaps
  • Ian Rainford – handclaps
  • Jez Williams – electric guitar, slide guitar
  • Jimi Goodwin – bass
  • Andy Williams – drums
  • Martin Rebelski – Wurlitzer electric piano, clavinet, keyboards
  • Gary Wilkinson – keyboards, drum programming, sirens, noises
  • Paul Taylor – string arrangements
  • Sophie Williams – handclaps
  • Derrick Santini – handclaps
  • Spencer Birtwhistle – drums
  • Northern New Orleans Brass Band – horns
  • Clare Hewitt – backing vocals
  • Robin File – electric / acoustic guitar
  • Matt Wardle – piano, organ, synthesizer, keyboards, vocals
  • Sean Mcann – bass guitar
  • Dave Verner – drums / percussion



Chart (2000) Peak
UK Albums Chart 13[21]
US Billboard Heatseekers 36[22]
US Billboard Independent Albums 23[22]


Year Song Peak positions
2000 "Another Pearl" 41
2000 "Disillusion" 26
2000 "Once Around the Block" 27
2000 "Pissing in the Wind" 22


  1. ^ a b Badly Drawn Boy – The Hour Of Bewilderbeast. Discogs. Retrieved 23 June 2011
  2. ^ 2000 Shortlist. Mercury Prize. Retrieved 23 June 2011
  3. ^ "Mercury Prize Winners – The Guardian Google spreadsheet". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Talbot, Michael (May 2002). The Business of Music. Liverpool University Press. p. 197. ISBN 978-0-85323-538-5. On 7 October New Musical Express noted: 'Badly Drawn Boy aka Damon Gough has been forced to release a new pressing of his debut album, The Hour of the Bewilderbeast, after major publishing company BMG objected to the use of a lyrics from Taja Sevelle's 1987 hit "Love is Contagious"... The Mercury Prize winner has also changed the artwork on... Bewilderbeast for its American release. The cover – a collage by Gough himself, including a picture of Woody Allen – used images without the copyright owners' prior consent' 
  5. ^ "The Boy Gets Disillusioned". NME. 10 August 2000. Retrieved 23 June 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Reviews for The Hour of Bewilderbeast by Badly Drawn Boy". Metacritic. Retrieved 23 June 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c Bush, John. "The Hour of Bewilderbeast – Badly Drawn Boy". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 July 2011. 
  8. ^ Browne, David (23 October 2000). "The Hour of Bewilderbeast". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  9. ^ Hochman, Steve (29 September 2000). "Badly Drawn Boy Charms With Understated Folk". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 October 2015. 
  10. ^ "NME Album Reviews – The Hour of Bewilderbeast". NME. 23 June 2000. Retrieved 22 July 2011. 
  11. ^ a b c DiCrescenzo, Brent (30 September 2000). "Badly Drawn Boy: The Hour of Bewilderbeast". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 22 July 2011. 
  12. ^ "Badly Drawn Boy: The Hour of Bewilderbeast". Q (166). July 2000. 
  13. ^ Blashill, Pat. "Badly Drawn Boy: The Hour Of Bewilderbeast". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 20 April 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  14. ^ Perry, Andrew (July 2000). "Badly Drawn Boy: The Hour of Bewilderbeast". Select (121): 112. 
  15. ^ a b Hoskyns, Barney (December 2000). "Badly Drawn Boy: The Hour of Bewilderbeast". Spin 16 (12): 28. ISSN 0886-3032. Retrieved 22 July 2011. 
  16. ^ Christgau, Robert (13 February 2001). "Pazz & Jop Preview". The Village Voice. Retrieved 22 July 2011. 
  17. ^ Hubbard, Michael (26 June 2000). "Badly Drawn Boy – The Hour Of Bewilderbeast". musicOMH. Retrieved 22 July 2011. 
  18. ^ "Top 20 Albums of 2000". Pitchfork Media. 1 January 2001. Retrieved 22 July 2011. 
  19. ^ A decade in music – 50 best albums of 2000. NME. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  20. ^ "Mercury joy for Badly Drawn Boy". BBC. 13 September 2000. Retrieved 22 July 2011. 
  21. ^ a b "BADLY DRAWN BOY – The Official Charts Company". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 23 June 2011. 
  22. ^ a b "The Hour of the Bewilderbeast – Charts". Allmusic. Retrieved 10 June 2011. 

External links[edit]