Afraid of Sunlight

Last updated on 30 July 2017

Afraid of Sunlight is the eighth studio album by the British neo-progressive rock band Marillion, released in 1995. Recorded at The Racket Club in Buckinghamshire between January and March 1995, it was produced by the band themselves and co-produced by Dave Meegan, as was the previous album, Brave (1994).

Despite being one of Marillion's most critically acclaimed albums,[3][1][2] Afraid of Sunlight was their first to fail to reach the Top 10 in the UK Albums Chart, peaking at number 16 and falling out of the Top 40 after just two weeks.[4] Disappointing sales led to EMI Records not extending the contract with the band. The label, however, would continue to release back-catalogue material on compilations and reissues, as well as distribute some later recordings.

Made Again
(1996)Made Again1996
Afraid of Sunlight
(1995)
Brave
(1994)Brave1994
Afraid of Sunlight
Afraid-of-sunlight.jpeg
Studio album by Marillion
Released 24 June 1995
Recorded January — March 1995
Studio The Racket Club
(Buckinghamshire, England)
Genre Progressive rock
Length 51:25[nb 1]
Label EMI
Producer
Marillion chronology
Singles from Afraid of Sunlight
  1. "Beautiful"
    Released: 29 May 1995
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[1]
Q 4/5 stars[2]

Concept

While not a concept album as such, Afraid of Sunlight repeatedly examines the destructive side of celebrity. In particular, "Gazpacho" lampoons the Hollywood lifestyle and seems to refer to Mike Tyson, "Cannibal Surf Babe" is a Beach Boys pastiche inspired by late-night horror movies. "Out of This World" is dedicated to world land and water speed record holder Donald Campbell, killed in 1967, and inspired diver Bill Smith to look after the wreck. The main wreckage of Campbell's Bluebird K7 hydroplane was recovered from Coniston Water on 8 March 2001. Both Steve Hogarth and Steve Rothery were present at the raising.[5] The title track refers to self-destructive thrill-seekers such as James Dean, while "King" is about Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain and Michael Jackson. "Beyond You" is reminiscent of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound productions and was mixed in mono.[6]

Steve Hogarth named the 1980 Martin Scorsese film Raging Bull, about a boxer's inability to deal with fame, as a strong influence on the album. He also cited O. J. Simpson, on trial for murder at the time Afraid of Sunlight was recorded, as another influence on its concept; the wind-down of "Gazpacho" ends with a sample from a news report on Simpson's infamous flight from the police.

Release

Afraid of Sunlight was released in Europe on 24 June 1995 by EMI Records on CD[nb 1], LP[nb 2] and cassette, and in the U.S. on 4 July 1995 by El Dorado, a subsidiary label of I.R.S. Records.[7] It climbed to number 16 in the UK and spent only three weeks in the charts, the shortest chart residency of any Marillion studio album by then.[4] The only single from the album, "Beautiful", peaked at number 29 in the UK Singles Chart. Afraid of Sunlight reached number 8 in the Netherlands, the country where the band has one of their largest fanbases.

As part of a series of Marillion's first eight studio albums, EMI Records re-released Afraid of Sunlight on 22 March 1999 with 24-bit digital remastered sound and a second disc containing bonus tracks[nb 3].[7] A new 180g heavy weight vinyl pressing[nb 4] identical to the original 1995 edition was released in 2013.[8]

Critical reception

AllMusic critic Alex S. Garcia has retrospectively given Afraid of Sunlight a four-out-of-five star rating. He noted that the album has "some very beautiful melodic moments and perhaps a better mix between calm and agressive [sic] melodies than on previous albums made with Steve Hogarth".[1] Jeri Montesano called it "the peak of Marillion's growing, impressive body of work" while reviewing Seasons End (1989).[3] His colleague Dale Jensen has named the album "the most consistent Marillion release to date".[9] In a review from Q magazine, Afraid of Sunlight has been described as "a 40-minute journey that touches on the legacy of Brian Wilson, Todd Rundgren and The Beatles, while hinting at the experimental trivialities of Jellyfish or Split Enz".[2]

Track listing

All tracks written by Steve Hogarth, Steve Rothery, Mark Kelly, Pete Trewavas, Ian Mosley and John Helmer, except where noted.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Gazpacho"   7:28
2. "Cannibal Surf Babe"   5:45
3. "Beautiful" Hogarth, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley 5:12
4. "Afraid of Sunrise"   5:02
5. "Out of This World"   7:54
6. "Afraid of Sunlight"   6:50
7. "Beyond You" Hogarth, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley 6:11
8. "King"   7:03
Total length: 51:25
1999 remastered edition bonus disc
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Icon" Hogarth, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley 6:05
2. "Live Forever"   4:34
3. "Second Chance" (aka "Beautiful", mixed by Dave Meegan)   5:14
4. "Beyond You" (demo)   5:18
5. "Cannibal Surf Babe" (studio outtake)   6:00
6. "Out of This World" (studio outtake)   7:28
7. "Bass Frenzy" Hogarth, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley 1:17
8. "Mirages" (demo) Hogarth, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley 6:02
9. "Afraid of Sunlight" (acoustic demo, edited by Lucy Jordache with Peter Mew)   6:50
Total length: 48:48
  • Tracks 3-9 of the 1999 remastered edition bonus disc had previously been unreleased.

Personnel

Marillion
Additional musicians
  • Barbara Lezmy – additional backing vocals (on "Cannibal Surf Babe")
  • Wendy Paige – additional backing vocals (on "Cannibal Surf Babe")
  • Hannah Stobart – additional backing vocals (on "Beautiful")
Technical personnel

Charts

Album
Chart (1995) Peak
position
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[10] 8
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[11] 75
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[12] 34
UK Albums (OCC)[13] 16
"Beautiful"
Chart (1995) Peak
position
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[14] 46
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[15] 29

References

Notes
  1. ^ a b EMI 7243 8 33874 2 7, CDEMD 1079
  2. ^ EMI 7243 8 33874 1 0, EMD 1079
  3. ^ EMI 7243 4 98614 2 8
  4. ^ EMI 825646413485, VEMD 1079
Citations
  1. ^ a b c Garcia, Alex S. Marillion: "Afraid of Sunlight" > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Q. August 1995. Missing or empty |title= (help);
  3. ^ a b Montesano, Jeri. Marillion: "Seasons End" > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Marillion – Afraid of Sunlight". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  5. ^ Hogarth, Steve (8 March 2001). "A Day in the Lakes". The Official Marillion Website. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  6. ^ Kelly, Mark (1999). Afraid of Sunlight (booklet). Marillion. London: EMI Records (7243 4 98614 2 8). p. 21.
  7. ^ a b "Album: Afraid of Sunlight". Bert ter Steege. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  8. ^ "Afraid of Sunlight". The Official Marillion Website. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  9. ^ Jensen, Dale. "Marillion Biography by Dale Jensen". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  10. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Marillion – Afraid of Sunlight" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  11. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Marillion – Afraid of Sunlight" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  12. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Marillion – Afraid of Sunlight". Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  13. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  14. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Marillion – Beautiful" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  15. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 September 2016.

External links

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