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The Waterboys — Old England
Album: This is the Sea
Avg rating:
6.5

Your rating:
Total ratings: 476









Released: 1985
Length: 5:25
Plays (last 30 days): 0
A man looks up on a yellow sky
And the rain turns to rust in his eye
Rumours of his health are lies
Old england is dying

His clothes are dirty shade of blue
And his ancient shoes worn through
He steals from me and he lies to you
Old england is dying

Still he sings an empires song
And still he keeps his beliefs strong
And he sticks his flag where it ill, belongs
Old england is dying

You're asking what makes me sigh now
What it is makes me shudder so
Well
I just FREEZE in the wind
And I'm numb from the pummeling of the snow
That falls from high in yellow skies
Where the well loved flag of england flies
Where the homes are warm and the mothers sigh
Where comedians laugh and babies cry
Where criminals are televised politicians fraternized
Journalists are dignified and everyone is civilised
And children stare with heroin eyes, heroin eyes, heroin eyes
Old England!

Evening has fallen
The swans are singing
The last of Sundays bells is ringing
The wind in the trees is sighing
And old england is dying
Comments (129)add comment
Pretty Good.

Great track by an original and versatile musician/band. Product of a particular era for sure—I suspect it's hard for folks who hit their teens post-Thatcher to get into it though.


Blech
Anything from Mike Scott and The Waterboys is fine with me. "Fisherman's Blues" is my favorite album...
 peter_james_bond wrote:
Gimmie a 'C', a bouncing 'C'!

Wasn't Old England replaced by New England?

 
And New Amsterdam was replaced by New York

This group was the precursor to The Walkmen.{#Yes}
 peter_james_bond wrote:
Gimmie a 'C', a bouncing 'C'!

Wasn't Old England replaced by New England?

 

You're correct - and Istanbul was Constantinople.
Miserable and depressing, IMHO. A 22 minute Jethro Tull track would be better. Well...not really.
 toterola wrote:

The girl who wrote that review is definitely a graduate of the "Lester Bangs" school of kick-'em-in-the-nuts journalism. Good read, nonetheless.

 
She is absolutely full of shit!


 lerxst wrote:
Saw them open for U2 at the Tower Theater near Philly in 1984.  Never saw or heard much from them after that.
 
I missed them at the Cap Center for the same tour; stayed in the parking lot altering my attitude... ah, high school.

more Waterboys is better: bumper stickers should be issued.

Great song by a great band
Saw them open for U2 at the Tower Theater near Philly in 1984.  Never saw or heard much from them after that.
this is a DREADFUL song - please make it stop
One of my favorite '80s new wave songs.  Brings me back to my college days .....

will it never end?

On of the firsts albums i buyed. Mike Scott is a strong musician, with different registers, from rock to folk. This is the "big music".


Briliantly amazing
 More_Cowbell wrote:
annoying
 
I agree, it needs more cowbell!

annoying
Gimmie a 'C', a bouncing 'C'!

Wasn't Old England replaced by New England?

Sucko-Barfo, oh yeah!
I wish I could have played the Love Bazooka (i.e., sax) for the Waterboys. I'd forgotten how good that song was.

And now that I see he got to go through life with the untouchably fine name of Anthony Thistlethwaite, that desire is even greater. Some guys have all the luck.


very, very british
nice


This song is cool...  soooo good for the ears...

 ScottFromWyoming wrote:
I like this album a lot but Ira's a hater:

Edinburgh-born singer/guitarist/pianist Mike Scott formed the Waterboys in London, singing bombastic folky rock derived in equal parts from U2, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. On The Waterboys (and its five-song American condensation, later supplanted by a belated issue of the entire LP), Scott, saxophonist Anthony Thistlethwaite, an organist and various rhythm players squeeze every ounce of drama into his preciously poetic lyrics and pseudo-epic melodies. Enough of a selfconsciously sensitive artiste to confuse extended song length and artistic depth, Scott comes off as a modestly talented blowhard. 
Read it all at Trouser Press
 
The girl who wrote that review is definitely a graduate of the "Lester Bangs" school of kick-'em-in-the-nuts journalism. Good read, nonetheless.

That's pretty clever, maintaining that off-beat kinda rhythm on the piano! (I know there must be a technical name, but I dropped piano , to my everafter regret, when I was 11.)


I like this album a lot but Ira's a hater:

Edinburgh-born singer/guitarist/pianist Mike Scott formed the Waterboys in London, singing bombastic folky rock derived in equal parts from U2, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. On The Waterboys (and its five-song American condensation, later supplanted by a belated issue of the entire LP), Scott, saxophonist Anthony Thistlethwaite, an organist and various rhythm players squeeze every ounce of drama into his preciously poetic lyrics and pseudo-epic melodies. Enough of a selfconsciously sensitive artiste to confuse extended song length and artistic depth, Scott comes off as a modestly talented blowhard. 
Read it all at Trouser Press
 calypsus_1 wrote:

 

It seems there are users in RP Station that behave as agitators and destructive; and poor education and lack of respect; frustation repressed? infantis behaviour? Bizarre situations? are a genuine obstacle and nuisance to who frequents the RP Station with interest the positive aspects and seriously; should in future there by the administrator a default filter good habits and customs that avoids this type of abuse.

These situations "gratuitous-pure-exhibitionism" telling should be given warning, and if they are not binding, must be banned.

The Waterboys - Old England -  ** 7 **


  personally, I think the "me and god hate this song" thing is kinda funny, regardless if I agree with his opinion about the music or not. Free speech right? Do you think he' really just trying to be destructive?  I thought he was trying to be funny.


 calypsus_1 wrote:

 

It seems there are users in RP Station that behave as agitators and destructive; and poor education and lack of respect; frustation repressed? infantis behaviour? Bizarre situations? are a genuine obstacle and nuisance to who frequents the RP Station with interest the positive aspects and seriously; should in future there by the administrator a default filter good habits and customs that avoids this type of abuse.

These situations "gratuitous-pure-exhibitionism" telling should be given warning, and if they are not binding, must be banned.

The Waterboys - Old England -  ** 7 **


 
hear hear!!! we could start with "him & god" and his gramatical ineptitude

I saw the whole of the moon!

 

It seems there are users in RP Station that behave as agitators and destructive; and poor education and lack of respect; frustation repressed? infantis behaviour? Bizarre situations? are a genuine obstacle and nuisance to who frequents the RP Station with interest the positive aspects and seriously; should in future there by the administrator a default filter good habits and customs that avoids this type of abuse.

These situations "gratuitous-pure-exhibitionism" telling should be given warning, and if they are not binding, must be banned.

The Waterboys - Old England -  ** 7 **


Loved this song when it came out... but God, the sax sounds so overdone now... our 80's ears were tuned differently. The horn is at it's most effective on this song when it's brought down QUIET. And therein lay the lesson for musicians ever after!
That sax always lets you know it's 80's music.
Peculiar mix these guys use. It's like they found a knob on the mixing desk marked "tinny" and turned it up to 11.

I wonder what they would sound like with a "normal" tonal balance?
 wenatchee wrote:
Like cheese blowing through a tuba while someone bangs away at the keys
 
Ahhhh...cheesetuba. Quite the image.
As for me, the random horn blasts made me think of Rob Lowe playing sax in St Elmo's Fire. Just as out of place and amusing.

omg - somebody make it stop... please.....
This is a wonderful album, but I do think this is the worst track on the LP.
 
Sorry, this is annoying...
  

Oooh! Oi loves me a Songe of merrie Aulde Englande.  But not this one.


Mike Scott is pretty decent, but this is not a good representation.
Nope, I can't enjoy this one, either. Ugh.
{#Stupid}
Phillistines the lot of you !!!!

bokey wrote:
Horribly unlistenable at this time
Horribly unlistenable at any time.
I love this track. Lyrically beautiful, it is absoultely spot on the truth.
Horribly unlistenable at this time
i adore mike scott but this is painful.
Like cheese blowing through a tuba while someone bangs away at the keys
firerytrigon wrote:
Terrible song, bad message, awful group!!! 1 is too much. :shhh:
Agreed!
There are far better tracks off this record, namely the title track, "The Whole of the Moon" and the opening track that aren't played on RP. Still good to hear this one though.
Saw them last year in Sheffield.....it was the best they'd been. Celtic soul with buddhist undertones, very spiritual guy Mike....goes his own way. Sometimes it's worth following. :-)
Terrible song, bad message, awful group!!! 1 is too much. :shhh:
Excellent excellent. I love the waterboys.
The military march tempo fits the context and content of the song, if you were to listen to the lyrics. That is one of the things that makes the Waterboys such a great band with such enduring songs... they are tapestries woven from the fiber of the topic being addressed, rather than being a pop replay of what is currently fashionable in the music industry. OLD ENGLAND A man looks up on a yellow sky and the rain turns to rust in his eye rumours of his health are lies old england is dying his clothes are dirty shade of blue and his ancient shoes worn through he steals from me and he lies to you old england is dying still he sings an empires song and still he keeps his beliefs strong and he sticks his flag where it all belongs old england is dying you're asking what makes me sigh now what it is makes me shudder so well I just FREEZE in the wind and I'm numb from the pummeling of the snow that falls from high in yellow skies where the well loved flag of england flies Where the homes are warm and the mothers sigh where comedians laugh and babies cry where criminals are televised politicians fraternized journalists are dignified and everyone is civilised and children stare with heroin eyes, heroin eyes, heroin eyes Old England! evening has fallen the swans are singing the last of Sundays bells is ringing the wind in the trees is sighing and old england is dying
horstman wrote:
This wasn't their finest moment by any stretch of the imagination! Too "march to the beat of a soldier" tempo, repitition without innovation. Started out okay and then went south pretty hard and fast. Solid 3.
I'm not giving it a 3, but there are far, far better songs by the Waterboys. For those that don't like this song, please don't judge the band by it.
Love the Waterboys ... its that piano melodic beat behind it thats so catchy to the ear,, they do this with the piano or the mandolin quite well
This wasn't their finest moment by any stretch of the imagination! Too "march to the beat of a soldier" tempo, repitition without innovation. Started out okay and then went south pretty hard and fast. Solid 3.
Nabla wrote:
even like Supertramp? :ask:
Please don't bring Supertramp in on any Waterboys discussions or you may be sentenced to listening to 10 consecutive playings of "Breakfast in America" as your penance...
Very good song and album Clearly underrated in RP, though, IMHO
Changing to a 10. Heard the first few chords and was taken back for a lovely trip down memory lane.
crazy wrote:
sounds like david grey
even like Supertramp? :ask:
sorry didn't read down the comments
sounds like david grey
Selling (old) England by the Pound...? :lol:
TKTuttle wrote:
Everything everyone below said that was bad about this song, and then some. Gah. :razz:
At the risk of being criticised for airing a negative opinion: I agree! This guy's singing style and voice are terrible! Yipes! And the militaristic marching flavour of the beat is really droning. Hup-two-three-four!
coldatlantic wrote:
It occurs to me that his vocal rhythm is a lot like David Gray, especially on this track.
Well said. Ain't a bad thing either. Very cool, indeed.
gntlemanartist wrote:
Almost as bad as Dylan.
That's pretty low!
Very cool - I've never heard it before. It occurs to me that his vocal rhythm is a lot like David Gray, especially on this track.
Harrowing eyes.....heroin eyes........ Munsch's "Scream" Can't help wondering if different instrumentation might have made this into something much different, perhaps better.
H-bomb wrote:
oh no!!! that nasty sax was not the end!!! it just keeps going! make it stop!
Regret to agree. AMG says this group performs "Celtic rock," but this sounds so far from that that I wondered whether it was the wrong cut.
I like this jam but it's only a 7 - for now
este es uno de los mejores discos que jamás se han realizado en la historia del rock and roll
love this band! :cheesygrin:
pret-a-porter wrote:
it's 4/4 time - the trick is that the piano rhythm accents the offbeat - which is helped along by the military sounding snare
I'd thought that, but there's so much going on rhythmically that I thought I was also hearing something a little more exotic. I have to pay better attention next time around. Tnx.
MrCaps wrote:
This album is A1. I have not heard this since the 80's. Boy does time fly.
It's amazing how modern this sounds...especially since it's over 20 years old.
MtnGoat wrote:
I respect this, alot. But I don't really like it. Anyone hazard a guess at a time signature?
it's 4/4 time - the trick is that the piano rhythm accents the offbeat - which is helped along by the military sounding snare
I respect this, alot. But I don't really like it. Anyone hazard a guess at a time signature?
ah - I was over in lrc land and just looked up to see what was hap'nin on the main line - so often I miss great songs this song is genius!!!!
...like liver, this band is not for everyone. But for those who love it, it is rich indeed...
andersja wrote:
Sounds a little like John Lennon music.
So THAT's why it sounds so bad...
mrmojorisin wrote:
This song has not aged well.
Have you? :ask:
I haven't heard much of these guys, but I like 'em. Reminds me of James.
God someone please shoot these guys.
Sounds a little like John Lennon music.
this band was way overestimated
Mis-quote, "Me thinks thou dost protesteth too much!"
:hungry:
This song has not aged well.
They shoulda used this over the end credits of "V For Vendetta..."
oh no!!! that nasty sax was not the end!!! it just keeps going! make it stop!
Sweet choice. Thanks Bill! I had not heard this in a long time, and wondered if it was new. The political themes are errily current. Eh, England never changes (nor does the US). "Old Van Morrison" eh? Maybe you had listen to *both* again! When was the last time you listened to the Van Man, anyway? :eh:
Almost as bad as Dylan.
Great band, great catalog
Everything everyone below said that was bad about this song, and then some. Gah. :razz:
The piano sounds SO amateurish it is annoying - not to mention the overwrought vocals. Blah.
RichardPrins wrote:
:sunny: (just love the piano hammering and sax! Dynamics & lyrics too)
Wow, I find the piano very distracting. Detracts from an already marginal piece IMHO.
Horrible Song
:eh: :eh: :eh:
:boohoo:
Interestingly enough, early in the song, I thought the singer might have been Brian Molko, of Placebo. Stylistically very different, but the voice had a similar nasal whine.
Lazy8 wrote:
Not just scratches, big ugly gouges down the blackboard.
Good description. I was sitting here very annoyed at this, and this is the exact description I was looking for.
Man, that is some bad sax. I mean, really bad.
Not one of their best, but it's nice to hear the H20 boys here!
i've been sitting here while enjoying this tune trying to figure out where i've heard this sound before. oh, yes: Van Morrison. good to hear some new "old Van Morrison," even if its called the Waterboys. i have to give it a seven; that's a 9 because i really like it, minus 2 for suspect originality.
Not just scratches, big ugly gouges down the blackboard.
Always enjoy hearing the Waterboys!
Old England is dead.
Cool choice RP! This is a great tune by a great band!
Wow -- great pleasure to hear the Waterboys here. And it hardly matters the song, there is just something about this band and music that make me woozy, in a good way. Keep 'em comin'!
Been waiting for a Waterboys tune to respond to. Wow. I was first introduced to the band when I watched "Riding Giants," the documentary on the surfing culture and the quest to ride the highest wave. Great movie, and the final song was the Waterboys,' "This is the Sea." What an apropos finish to a excellent movie. Lyrics not for the intellectually challenged, the band zeros in on social themes, such as this, "Old England." Great history lesson.
nuno wrote:
Excelent tune. One of those I can't believe I've forgoten about. This has been a very nice sequence with Kate Bush's Cloudbusting and now this one. Hope it keeps up. Good job!
yes, what nuno said!
So it's a "he," yet all I keep hearing is Chryssie Hynde mixed with Concrete Blonde (and a little Midnight Oil thrown in for good measure).
:sunny: (just love the piano hammering and sax! Dynamics & lyrics too)
His voice evokes an earnestness, hard to find , where others actually shout, he succeeds. An 8.
Wow I'm more impressed every hour with RP! Would love to hear Fisherman's Blues by the Waterboys too.
:heartkiss:
Great song with somehow a lot of tension in it. I like it more and more.
i came in on the middle and thought I heard "like a rolling stone". So-k
Great unique voice!
:meditate.gif: :bounce:
Remastered re-release includes 14 more tracks on bonus disc...