A Long Album About Death on The Moon


The Divine Comedy recently released another fine record called Foreverland. It is Mr Hannon's most low-key record, with some tracks reminiscent of default mode Sufjan Stevens. It is as unashamedly and achingly middle class as ever, and treads a fine line between the divine and comedy.  As usual for Divine Comedy singles, Catherine the Great is not the strongest track or representative of the album as a whole, but it manages to stay just on the right side of silly, unlike the irredeemable second single How Can You Leave Me on My Own.

However, when searching for the album I was initially confused to find a 31 track deluxe version, with 20 extra tracks named after days of the year. A bit of a google revealed that this was:

"In May, Neil Hannon and Frank Alva Buecheler’s acclaimed chamber opera, which explores the relationship between a dying son and his absent father through a series of letters."

These letter tracks have turned out to be rather interesting and quite a few are great tracks in their own right. The sound is my favourite kind of Divine Comedy, just piano with a string quintet and mostly serious and (unsurprisingly) melancholic, but also uplifting. Taken as a whole the sound is a bit too consistent, so I have mixed up the album and letter tracks, minus the aforementioned How Can You Leave Me On My Own. It is not hard to imagine the album tracks as songs written by the lead character, as music gets a number of mentions in the letters. Many of the other album tracks, such as the title track, Desperate Man and Happy Place fit in very appropriately, and others could be the character reminiscing about the lover he pushes away. 

And so it all adds up to a wonderful playlist, that is melancholic and serious, but also uplifting and amusing at times. Those who have had a loved one's life cut short by a disease may find it especially poignant. 


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