Television Personalities

Don't Cry Baby...It's Only a Movie

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Don't Cry Baby... It's Only a Movie sounds even more disturbing in retrospect than it did when it was recorded: by the time of its November 1998 release, Television Personalities leader Daniel Treacy had been imprisoned for shoplifting (to fuel his drug habit). A diagnosed schizophrenic who had gone off his medication, Treacy ended up fulfilling the increasingly bleak sentiments of Television Personalities' albums, going all the way back to 1989's depressive Privilege, in the most tragic way possible, and as a result, this album is almost painful to listen to. A collection of outtakes from the sessions that made up 1995's I Was a Mod Before You Were a Mod, filled in with a pair of live radio sessions from 1992, most of the album consists of simple live recordings featuring Treacy's wavering, cracked voice, acoustic guitar, and a simple drum machine. Treacy sounds haunted and at times almost terrified, like a man who realizes there's something going terribly wrong but is powerless to stop it. Disorienting tape effects color some of the songs, like the opening cover of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Love Changes Everything"; the only full-band tracks are the radio sessions, which feature bassist Jowe Head and drummer Jeffrey Bloom performing Closer to God's prescient "My Very First Nervous Breakdown" and the junkie tale "Jennifer, Julie and Josephine." Those and the title track are the only Treacy originals, the other seven tracks being covers ranging from the Razorcuts' "Sorry to Embarrass You" to George Harrison's "Isn't It a Pity," the latter closing the album on a frustratingly sad note. There's a perverse, voyeuristic fascination to these songs, but Don't Cry Baby... It's Only a Movie cannot be recommended as an album to listen to for pleasure. Also, the sleeve does Daniel Treacy an insulting disservice, misspelling his surname as "Tracey" throughout.

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