Pleased to Meet You

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At the beginning of 1997, Sleeper were still considered one of the most popular indie-based guitar bands in England, as their songs were staples on the airwaves and Louise Wener was consistently on the covers of music magazines. At the beginning of 1998, they were nearly persona non grata, and there were whispers of the group's imminent demise. That's how hard their third album, Pleased to Meet You, crashed on the charts, but its lack of the success was due more to the changes in British pop than the merits of the album itself. While it lacks the energy of The It Girl, it's ultimately a better-crafted album than Smart, which suffered from too much derivative filler. There's still filler on Pleased to Meet You, but the album demonstrates that Wener's songwriting has strengthened, as her melodies have more weight and her lyrics have more depth. She still has the tendency to go for predictable hooks and easy put-downs, but there's enough muscle and tuneful songs to make this a worthy successor to The It Girl. Nevertheless, it was ignored by the British public, perhaps because it subsitituted the freshness of the first two albums for craftsmanship, which is something that true fans may appreciate more than those who simply follow the pop charts.

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