The Verve - A Northern Soul
Released in the UK on 3 July 1995, 'A Northern Soul', which spawned three Top 40 hit singles - 'This Is Music', 'On Your Own' and 'History' - was well-received by critics and fans alike, reaching No. 13 on the UK album chart. Over the past two decades it has continued to gather acclaim - readers of Q Magazine voted it the 53rd greatest album ever in 1998 while the NME ranked it the 28th best album of all time in 2003 and the 13th best British album in 2006. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most powerful British 'indie-rock' statements ever. A darker, starker, and more personal affair than their debut, 'A Northern Soul' saw Ashcroft eschewing the strung-out positivism of their debut for sober ruminations on the human condition. The result? Timeless ballads like 'On Your Own' that contrasted with ambitious workouts even more explosive than before - notably 'A New Decade' and the titanic 'This Is Music'. A general mood of doubt, and even ennui, however, is there as an undercurrent, best exeplified by the prophetic torch song History, a Top 30 hit. When news of the band's break up came shortly before its release it sounded like it might even become the band's epitaph.