1 The Wedding Present - Going, Going…
I’d fallen a bit out of love with The Wedding Present over the last decade. 2008’s El Rey and 2012’s Valentina had their moments but were disappointing. The subsequent “Cinerama” reworking of Valentina into an atrocious lounge jazz / easy listening / big band thing was so awful it was the first album I’ve thrown away and deleted from my library for years.
My expectations for Going Going… were therefore pretty low. The idea of 20 tracks at 1 hour and 20 minutes starting with 4 (FOUR!) lyric free moody instrumentals was going to be horrendous. A conceptual piece, based on a US road trip with videos for each song just made it sound worse.
Yet. Here we are.
Despite including the most diabolical song The Wedding Present have ever recorded (Secretary) it’s my album of the year.
It’s gorgeous. The production sounds like the Wedding Present again.
There are so many moments in an album that showcases Gedge’s talent for storytelling, melody and emotion but I’ll just comment on the last two songs, which are my favourites.
Gedge’s love of the pop song and knack for classic songwriting was honed in the (proper) Cinerama years, and reached a peak for me in the gorgeous Perfect Blue from 2004’s return of the Wedding Present. I didn’t think he could match those moments again. He has. Rachel is melodic, sentimental, and just utterly joyous.
You might not top Rachel as an the album’s indie pop banger but you can follow it with the perfect album closer.
Santa Monica is magnificent. It is the most affecting song David Gedge has ever recorded.
The sense of finality is unavoidable:
It’s the last track of an album titled “Going, Going…”. It feels so much like he’s revisiting the last song (Octopussy) from his best album (1991’s Seamonsters). In the lyrics he also references a song from George Best, the first album.
Then there’s the last line. Oh boy, that last line.
I hope this doesn’t mark the end of The Wedding Present but if it is what a way to go out.