The Beautiful South

I'll Sail This Ship Alone

Song Review by Ned Raggett

With a quiet, stately piano leading into a soul arrangement that sounds a bit -- just a little -- like "Lady Marmalade" at its own start but with its own downbeat edge, "I'll Sail This Ship Alone" is one of the Beautiful South's best demonstrations of its ability at quiet melancholy and regret. Much less overtly barbed than most of the Beautiful South's songs, here Paul Heaton tackles pulling oneself together after a romantic collapse with just the right touch of romantic bravura. There's a zinger here or there, thus the concluding line "Well they said if I burnt myself alive, that you'd coming running back." But for the most part, it's a hail-and-farewell to the past that isn't strikingly different from other songs like it, per se, but benefits from a good Heaton vocal lead and a slowly building arrangement from the rest of the band. It never totally explodes into melodramatic overdrive -- that would never be part of the Beautiful South plan in the first place -- but there's just enough kick from the strings and horns to add to things.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Welcome to the Beautiful South 1989 Elektra / Go! Discs 4:47
Blackbird on the Wire 1997 Go! Discs 3:51