Fantastic debut downbeat album I didn't discover until 4 years after the fact (with help from the Garden State soundtrack). The chill-out duo gives us some laid back instrumentals but also enlists the aid of vocalists on ten of the 14 tracks. Vocalists vary, but include Sia Furler, Terry Callier, Mozez, and Sophie Barker. Songwriting is outstanding - to me, it all sounds "updated seventies soft rock-ish" if that makes any sense.
This was released too early in the millennium to be rated on Metacritic (one of my go-to websites), so I'm gonna do my own pseudo meta-analysis:
- Sputnik: This album is more gorgeous than any girl/guy you can ever think of.
- Allmusic: Simple Things is a debut album that stands on its own as a chilled, subtle collection of organic songs...an accomplished slice of soulful genius that rewards frequent spins.
- NME: After the dark clouds of trip-hop, 'Simple Things' restakes a genuine claim for downbeat British dance music and is a classic summer record into the bargain.
- Rolling Stone: Zero 7 vibe on rare grooves ranging from Roy Ayers' cosmic Seventies jazz to Ray Charles' soul; the result is a warm human funk that counteracts the group's spacy soundscapes.
- PPCorn: It’s the perfect background music; an album that may not be masterful, but is still a wonderful pleasure.
- Pitchfork: If you have a CD player that can skip over the vocal tracks, Simple Things is a decent soundtrack to get your freak on.
- PopMatters: Its inoffensive yet broadly anonymous voice, like buried sounds that haunt us in the supermarket aisle, brushes our consciousness but evaporates all too swiftly.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart
Tracks: Track 8, In The Waiting Line, is worth the price of the disc by itself. Other top tracks are Destiny, Give It Away, Red Dust, and End Theme, but don't skip any and don't shuffle.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None, but I tend to listen to this stuff on rainy days, preferably with a slight chill in the air - the exact opposite of today's weather here at blog HQ:
Previously revisited for the blog:
Yeah Ghost (2009)
The Garden (2006)
When It Falls (2004)
I started this blog back in 2010 as simply a way to keep track of my CDs in an effort to listen to every disc in my collection. More than thirteen hundred posts later, this Zero 7 disc is the final CD to be posted that had a spot in my collection when the blog came into existence.
In the early days, I stuck colored dots onto all my CD cases and have removed them after writing about each CD. It was colorful and simply made it easier for me to keep track of what I'd heard. Now, I just place the "new" CDs on a different shelf and file them accordingly after listening/writing/posting. This Simple Things CD was the last CD remaining with a sticker.
In other words, I've completed my original mission: I've listened to every CD in my collection as it existed September 15, 2010 (plus a few hundred more purchased over the past six years). I didn't plan it this way, but the Zero 7 album When It Falls was one of three CDs I wrote about on the first date of the blog.
Of course it's not The End. But from now on, every CD posted will have been purchased/gifted since September 15, 2010. Stay tuned - we ain't goin' nowhere. But let me bask in the satisfaction of having completed something cuz I don't get to do that often enough.