A convenient enough stopgap release that turned up in between Peggy Suicide and Jehovahkill, the pun-titled Floored Genius provides a fine one-stop spot for those new to Cope's work, starting with Teardrop Explodes hits and going all the way up to Peggy Suicide's "Safesurfer." Total die-hards won't need it, as no unreleased tracks surface, but those unable to find Skellington or Droolian will appreciate the appearance of, respectively, the nicely crazed "Out of My Mind on Dope & Speed" and the sweetly silly "Jellypop Perky Jean." Otherwise it's key singles and notable album cuts over Cope's higher profile career, showing how the precocious genius who came up with such instantly catchy pop hits like "Reward" and "Passionate Friend" became an even more distinct, individual artist as he went. One of the most striking things about Cope is how he at once incorporates any range of '60s and '70s influences, high profile or obscure, and is able to turn them all into his own sound, high on life (and other things, no doubt) and bursting with creative energy. Even his supposedly lost years documented on World Shut Your Mouth and Fried find him hitting new heights, as "Reynard the Fox" and "An Elegant Chaos" show. Extensive liner notes from his longtime friend and confidant Mick Houghton give a nicely off-kilter history of the man and his work, while a selection of photos, press clips and other ephemera help trace the path further. Those intrigued by the antiquarian side of Cope's life will appreciate the artistic map of his hometown, Tamworth, with reference to the various album covers and promo shots taken there over time. Peggy Suicide remains Cope's best standalone album, but Floored Genius is crucial at showing the heights of his work.
Floored Genius: The Best of Julian Cope and the Teardrop Explodes 1979-91 Review
by Ned Raggett