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Badly Drawn Boy - Have You Fed The Fish?
Label: BMG
Release: 2000

Coming Into Land
Have You Fed The Fish
Born Again
40 Days 40 Fights
All Possibilities
I Was Wrong
You Were Right
Imaginary Lines
Using Our Feet
Tickets To What You Need
What Is It Now?
Bedside Story

Have You Fed The Fish? - Badly Drawn Boy
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Back in the 60’s your typical singer-songwriters were those of Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Both artists started simply enough with an acoustic guitar and it became a key element in their career, but as they evolved they gathered a back up band yet still performing under the their name and not officially calling it a band (while Neil Young did have bands such as Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young he was not always the primary artist, and going into cohorts with Crazy Horse, while important to his career, is not always what he is known for).

     Today we have Beck, Elliott Smith, and the most unlikely contender for fame, Badly Drawn Boy. Straying as far as he can from conventional methods he takes charge of playing piano, guitar, percussion, synthesisers, tambourine, clavier, flute, and even chamberlain strings at certain points of the album, relying on a back up band at moments to fill in for drums and bass amongst other things. Badly Drawn Boy’s music can be quirky and humorous, yet it is always respectable. Also, it is always original, and while he might draw upon certain influences, there isn’t anyone that quite sounds like Badly Drawn Boy at the moment.

     The album opens with an interlude titled "Coming Into Land." A rather funny skit takes place before embracing into some childish yet very entertaining and moving music. It gives you a feeling of what else to expect from this great album. We are then greeted by the title track, backed by a slow piano melody, it quickly transforms into a very bouncy and enjoyable song. The best way to describe a lot of the music found here is "fun."

     However there are points were the music will seem fun but the lyrics hint to something else. This is the case in the songs "I Was Wrong," "You Were Right," and "Tickets To What You Need." All three are essentially different views or perspectives on one fight between lovers. The first two are brilliant. "I Was Wrong," is a slow moving acoustic piece that brings us right into the next track "You Were Right," which is very upbeat musically. The lyrics on these two songs are very creative, offering more than today’s love-turned-bad songs. The end of this trilogy is "Tickets To What You Need," which, while offering quite a bit in the lyrics department, falls flat due to an overload of instrumentals and drags on for a bit too long.

     Whilst listening to the album one cannot help but be reminded of legendary British rock quartet Queen. Badly Drawn Boy often employs a system of having slow moving verses which break into quicker paced choruses that are lush with layers upon layers of musical grace. Also, comparing them to Built To Spill wouldn’t be too far off as well, but where Built To Spill songs often become big jumbled messes and the singing can be off, Badly Drawn Boy’s songs are usually always ushered to the highest quality.

     "Did You Feed The Fish?" is a great album that could’ve been better with the remixing of a few songs. However, there are enough gems on this recording that simply make the downfalls seem marginal in comparison. Quite simply, if you are looking for an album that can make you crack a smile and dance and then can almost bring a tear to your eye within the same song, this is an essential album for you.

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