Spotlight On: Super Extra Bonus Album

Feb, 2022

Neil Talks Us Through The Bonus Tracks

Super Extra Bonus Album is part of the limited edition 3CD set - make sure you get your copy now while stocks last! This extra volume is also included on the download card for the vinyl editions and digitally to download and stream. Buy here!

We've been delighted by the response to the Super Extra Bonus Album! There have been a lot of questions about the songs on it, so here is Neil with more detail:

Like many of my more recent songs I’ll Take What I Can Get has been through a vast amount of different versions and iterations. The lyric is born of frustration with oneself. I know there are all these brilliant and worthwhile things I should be doing, but frankly who can be arsed. The basic premise has remained intact throughout, though the number of discarded lines in my notebooks are countless. And while the basic chords and structure of the song has never altered, the style of arrangement has never stayed the same. As a result I was never satisfied enough to put it on Foreverland or Office Politics. I really like what we’ve ended up with here, though I had to release it now before I changed my mind!

Don’t Make Me Go Outside sounds like a pandemic number - and we did put out a Latin version on YouTube during the first lockdown - but this recording was actually made at AIR studios in the sessions for Office Politics. Lyrically I was trying to encapsulate the lonely summers of my youth. During which, because of a mixture of shyness, vicious hay fever and the peculiarities of my family background, the society of my contemporaries seemed virtually impossible. I’m still not great at getting out there.

I know, Who Do You Think You Are is wholly and completely nuts! I remember coming up with the basics in a crappy hotel in Manchester while doing Duckworth Lewis promo; using the preset rhythms on my little Yamaha keyboard. I had this weird idea where a Dian Fossey character is interviewing our very earliest humanoid ancestors, and warning them not to bother evolving because human civilisation’s gone to shit. Cheery! I was looking for a sort of Tina Weymouth, Wordyrappinghood-style rap, and Margaret Shanley, an old friend of Pete Pamf (he of Philip and Steve!) does it superbly.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any madder… The Adventurous Type. I wrote most of this song in Dublin’s BIMM college while giving a “masterclass” on song-writing. I’ve often wondered what it must feel like to be one of those adventurous people who have no sense of self-preservation, only the intense need not to be bored. I think the song’s character gets himself into such terrible scrapes in order to remind me just how much I don’t want to be that kind of person. I’m completely fine with being bored. It gives me the chance to come up with idiotic ideas like this one. Please note also the fantastic noise created by the London Accordion Orchestra; it’s leader being our very own Ian Watson.

When When When is actually is a lockdown number. I came up with most of it on a long dog walk across the local bog during that long weird spring of 2020. (Within the 5 kilometre allowance!). No distant traffic noise, no vapour trails in the sky, an eerie pregnant pause in human history. While people all over the world were cooped up inside, unable to see their loved ones - unable to say goodbye. This song is what I imagined Vera Lynn might sing in the situation. I was also channeling how much I missed playing to all of you folks out there. It will be lovely when we finally get to perform this one for you.

Home For The Holidays! It’s a Christmas song! I guess it’s the first proper one I’ve ever written. I don’t think Christmas With The Hannons really counts - it’s only about a minute long and a bit of a joke. Don’t know what else to tell you. This has that late 70s vibe I dig, and a lot of stuff about carols and Perry Como. What’s not to like!

In 2020 I was asked to write a song for a kind of pretend Eurovision Song Contest, as the real one couldn’t happen. Te Amo España is just one more in a long line of Eurovision flirtations for me. The only thing I’m able to resist about the competition is entering it for real. I was Spain, and I had a lot of fun making the song - and even more making the video myself at home. I hope the idiotic lyrics and references are taken in the spirit of fun in which they were written. It’s meant to satirise how the people of our isles see Spain (one of my very favourite places!) more than Spain itself.

You’ll maybe remember the original version of Perfect Lovesong from our 2002 album, Regeneration. Our esteemed producer at the time, Nigel Godrich, wasn’t one for musical nostalgia, and said a flat no to this song being arranged in the classic Beach Boys style I had envisaged when writing it. I always wondered what it would have sounded like. This is what it would have sounded like (only with less young and spritely vocals…).

Like most of Super Extra Bonus Album, Simple Pleasures has been waiting for its time to shine for a good while. Unsurprisingly it concerns enjoying the little everyday cool stuff that we sometimes take for granted. As usual I’m trying to remind myself to appreciate them, as much extolling their virtues to others. I like two things about it; the lovely chunky beat, and that I’ve categorically disproved the assertion that there’s no rhyme for the word ‘orange’!

Those Pesky Kids
is dedicated to those of my daughter’s generation. The Greta Thunbergs of this world. They alone seem to really understand the enormity of the crisis befalling humanity.

By Neil Hannon, February 2022.

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