I thought it might be hard to describe the new Prefab Sprout album, ‘Let’s Change The World With Music’. After all, it was recorded in 1992, and what we’re hearing now in 2009 are cleaned up versions of the original solo demo recordings.
The original recordings were shelved in 1992, following a misunderstanding between songwriter Paddy McAloon and their record company, Sony. The reasons why don’t really matter anymore; like so many McAloon projects, they are lost in time and space.
We should just be grateful that it’s finally here at long last.
Granted in places it sounds rather dated. So what though; much like the youthful sound of Paddy’s voice, listening to these wonderful songs transported me back in time to when, as a seventeen year old, I was enthralled by the sound of ‘Jordan…..The Comeback’ – Prefab Sprout’s epic 1990 album.
I guess this record is a concept album of sorts – the power of music being connected with God, and used as a force for good in the world. Not being a huge fan of concept albums, it surprises me to say that it actually works. There can be little doubting the legendary status of Paddy McAloon as one of the greatest songwriters this country has ever produced, and once again, he doesn’t disappoint here, producing some truly touching and heartbreaking moments along the way.
McAloon is totally immersed in music. On standout track, ‘Music is a Princess’, he sings “Music is a Princess; I’m just a boy in rags”. Thereby worshiping at the feet of the unobtainable – it’s a powerful theme, and one that’s repeated throughout the remaining songs; touching on love, God, the Earth and Mozart along the way.
Over the past seventeen years, McAloon has suffered from major health problems involving both his sight and his hearing, as well as what he himself describes as a major ‘crisis’ several years ago. As a result he feels unable to perform in public, let alone record new studio material from the boxes of demo tapes piled up in his home studio.
As heartbreaking as this is, what will be will be. Paddy is now fifty-two, and has a young family to raise. We can only keep hoping though that he finds it within himself to keep working, and perhaps release more material in the future for a very grateful public.