a short site about The Divine Comedy

French version

Casanova

Casanova

HistoryEuropeUnited KingdomU.S.A.Japan
29/04/1996Release
05/05/1996#71
14/07/1996#48
21/07/1996#56
28/07/1996#62
08/1996Release
04/08/1996#74
11/08/1996#58
18/08/1996#55
25/08/1996#57
01/09/1996#60
08/09/1996#82
10/11/1996#95
17/11/1996#88
24/11/1996#91
1996Release
05/01/1997#78
12/01/1997#93
16/02/1997#95
30/03/1997#98
21/10/19972 CD release
06/2005Digital release
08/2010Digital release

NME Writers Top 50 Chart Positions: 19

Melody Maker 'Album of the Year': 40

Hot Press' Best Album

>>> See credits...

 
Casanova is the album that brought The Divine Comedy success. When it was released, in April 1996, it only sold 10000 copies, but 6 months later it had sold 60000 copies.

It's the first post-1992 album with a "band": Joby Talbot (piano), Bryan Mills (bass), Stuart 'Pinkie' Bates (Hammond organ), and Grant Gordon (drums). Rob Farrer is also credited, but he was still part of the Brunel Ensemble, the orchestra which plays on the album. It was introduced to Neil Hannon by Joby Talbot. From that time on, The Divine Comedy's albums will be recorded with an orchestra.

The subject of the album, as its title suggests, is sex. In 1995, Neil Hannon was short of ideas for a new album. He even thought about stopping and finding a new (real) job. It seems though that the opportunity of an interview of Björk by himself organised by French magazine Les Inrockuptibles, made him feel more secure about his work That's why you can see her names in the album's credits. Moreover, he declared once that he got the idea of the theme by sleeping with a girl. It's probably right, but I think that Pulp played a part as well. Neil was fond of their albums. He had Intro and Different Class was released in 1995, anticipated by its first single 'Common People'.

As for most DC albums, the structure of Casanova is well studied and the whole album tells a story and the male character of the song is the same throughout the album.. It opens with "hello" and closes with "goodbye". But that's not the most important. Casanova is the sequel to Promenade. After a platonic beginning, things get more physical between the two heroes. In 'Something For The Weekend', the girl, eventually fed up with her boyfriend, leaves him. The songs actually sets the tune for the whole album: sex, sex and sex.. 'Becoming More Like Alfie' somewhat states the man's new credo, now he's discovered sex. Soon after that, he meets a "young lady" ('Middle-class Heroes') and fucks her ('In And Out Of Paris And London' and 'Charge'). 'Songs Of Love' marks a pause within the story. It's the assumed author speaking instead of the narrator/character. He's looking at what loves means to teenagers and what it means to him concretely and wonders at the relevance of love songs. It's place in the album is also thematic: after war (the extended metaphor in Charge), comes love. The next song, 'The Frog Princess', is actually the first of the B-side of the tape. This is important for from that time on, everything gets worse for the hero. He meets another girl, a French one this time. But this time she's worse than him. 'A Woman Of The World' shows a third example of girl ? the mesmerising girl. Then we reach the end of the story. 'Through A Long And Sleepless Night' brings us back into the author's mind. He admits his fantasies. He also declares that the whole story was just an instance of how we should spend our lives best and he suggests two other ways of living, without developing them as much. 'Theme From Casanova' marks the end of the album. The credits are given. 'The Dogs And The Horses' then is to be seen as cut from the rest of the album. Its subject is quite different as well. It's not about sex, but about life and death and the passing of time (one of Hannon's favourite themes). It says that we should try to enjoy our lives for they're short. So it's a conclusion to the album, which actually explores the way man tries to make most of his short life. It also anticipates on A Short Album About Love, in thematically and musically.

The photos of the booklet were taken in Venice, as Casanova (the real one) was from there. Yet, at first the album was to be called Don Juan and the photos taken in Seville. But they had to change planes in Paris and there was a strike in the airport, so they changed their minds and went to Italy.

Reviews

“Hannon’s lyrics, drizzling with metaphorical bluster and plain-spoken lust, are bathed in melodramatic crescendos and melodic swoons…” – Rolling Stone