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Urban Hymns

4.4 out of 5 stars 222 customer reviews

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58th Annual GRAMMY Awards
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Sept. 30 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • ASIN: B000000WF0
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 222 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,528 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Bitter Sweet Symphony
2. Sonnet
3. The Rolling People
4. The Drugs Don't Work
5. Catching The Butterfly
6. Neon Wilderness
7. Space And Time
8. Weeping Willow
9. Lucky Man
10. One Day
11. This Time
12. Velvet Morning
13. Come On

Product Description


Calling it a day in early 1999 was probably the best thing the Verve ever did, as it meant that they quit when they were at the pinnacle of their success, sparing their faithful followers an unsightly degeneration. Urban Hymns is a fitting final testament to Wigan's favourite sons, as Richard Ashcroft and Nick McCabe temporarily buried the hatchet and reformed one of Britain's greatest songwriting partnerships since Lennon and McCartney. From the unmistakable introductory chords of "Bittersweet Symphony" to the sheer pop perfection of "Lucky Man" via stoner rock-outs like "Weeping Willow" and the call to arms that is "Come On", every track justifies its presence by being part of a cohesive whole. Their previous album A Northern Soul was already marked down in the annals of rock history as a classic; Urban Hymns surpasses it and then some. --Helen Marquis

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I got this CD two weeks ago, and it hasn't come out of CD player since. After I first heard Bitter Sweet Symphony, I knew I had to get it... that song is great on so many levels.
1. Bitter Sweet Symphony (10/10)- The violin music in the beginning sets the tone for the entire piece, and I love it. This has no competition- it's my favorite song.
2. Sonnet (9/10) I think I might be a little prejudiced with this song, because you can see what comes before it... it's a sweet song, but it doesn't really compare...
3. The Rolling People (10/10) I love this song, as well. It shows a different side of The Verve, and it's great, too. This one isn't slow... good contrast.
4. The Drugs Don't Work (9/10)- Very soulful.
5. Catching the Butterfly (10/10) 'I'm gonna keep catching that butterfly in that dream of mine...' great melody, and I love the lyrics...
6. Neon Wilderness (7/10) This song sounds like it wasn't finished... my least favorite. I usually skip through this one.
7. Space and Time (10/10) I love the 'I just can't make it alone' part of this song... makes my want to sing... or perhaps jump up and dance. Either one.
8. Weeping Willow (10/10) You never hear the lyrics 'weeping willow' in this song until the very end, but when you do, they really mean something. Not quite sure WHAT, but something...
9. Lucky Man (10/10)- I love this one, as well.
10. One Day (10/10) The lyrics and the song are both so sweet in this song...
11. This Time (8/10)- I like this one, but not quite as much as the others.
12. Velvet Morning (10/10) I love when the music changes from soft and slow to loud and a bit wilder... It's like, 'dumdumdumdumdum- ANOTHER VELVET MORNING FOR ME.' Kinda takes you by surprise. :)
13. Come On (10/10)- Perfect ending...
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Format: Audio CD
This is one of those timeless albums that you can listen to now (six years after its initial release) and still enjoy it. Each of the songs still sound as fresh as today as they did back in 1997. With this album, the Verve hit a homerun.
I remember I was browsing through a CD store when I first heard "Bittersweet Symphony." It immediately caught my attention, and I stood rooted on the spot just listening. Very few times has an album jolted me like that, but this was one of those times. I asked the clerk who this was and he said that it was from the new album by The Verve. After "Bittersweet" was over, he told me to hold on and listen to "Lucky Man." It was after that I was sold -- I had to buy the album.
On this album, you get 13 little masterpieces -- there's not a filler track in the bunch. Besides the excellent songwriting, the production is outstanding. I haven't heard such a good mix of strings since Tony Visconti's work with T. Rex -- just listen to "Lucky Man," "Bittersweet Symphony," or "Sonnet" for proof.
The only downside is that the group broke up after this -- their finest moment! Of all the dumb luck. While Richard Ashcroft has gone on to do a couple of solo albums, they don't seem to capitalize on what The Verve had done on this album. Yes, he's the voice, the did much of the writing, but as the old saying goes: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Best album of the 1990's? This one, no question about it. After the Britney's, the Justin's, and all the other drivel from that era fades, this will be one of the albums people look back upon fondly. Rating: A+
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Format: Audio CD
After a brief leave of absence, The Verve reintroduced themselves in 1997 more self-assured, grounded, and focused. 'Urban Hymns' is quite a departure from their earlier swirly spacerock meets psychedelia sound...flying through clouds has now turned into a much more grounded and personal affair. The mood is set with the orchestral opener 'Bittersweet Symphony'. A calling card convincing listeners that the atmospheric veil has been lifted, revealing intimate, carefully crafted, wonderfully produced songs. Along with the introduction of symphonic strings/instruments, Richard Ashcroft's lyrics are deeply personal, as guitarist Nick McCabe straddles between his trademark echoing guitar whines, bluesy plucking and meandering funk riffs. McCabe's guitarwork continues to have this surreal quality, yet less dense and more delicate, a perfect compliment to the undercurrent of emotion and colorful orchestral splashes. One might argue that 'Urban Hymns' paved the way for emotional/brooding-type bands like Travis and Coldplay, a tribute to this stellar swansong, tapping into universal emotions of what it means to be human. The Verve's break-up may have been bittersweet, but their musical legacy may be sweeter than it is bitter, as it is better to leave ontop than as it is to fade away.
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Format: Audio CD
Let me start by saying that this is my favorite album, ever. It has spent more time getting played than any other album I have, even my own mix albums.
But, it took me a good long while for it to get there. For the first year I had it, the only song I could stomach was "Bittersweet Symphony", and it's still my favorite. From there, I got used to each song until I like just about every one on here.
Most of the songs have a sad, hopeless overtone. Yet at the same time it feels like there is a haunting feeling of infinity, like things never end.
Aside from that, the songs are interestingly crafted, usually with a beat that's quite a bit faster than Ashcroft's soulful singing.
A few stand out to me: "Rolling People" (which has since become one of my fav driving songs) and "Come on" are as hardcore as the bend gets (not very) and that suits me just fine. I have Linkin Park and Godsmack for that. "One day" was the song that described exactly how I felt after a difficult relationship, and when asked to describe how I felt, I simply played that song. "Catching the Butterfly" is an interesting mix of sounds that almost create a surreal vision for me. And, "Weeping Willow" was my anthem for "the Hobbit" and "the Lord of the Rings" when I read them many, many years back.
If you can take the time to get used to the unusual sound, there's a lot of emotion and wonderful juxtaposing here. HIGHLY recommended.
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