Home Read Classic Album Review: Richard Ashcroft | Human Conditions

Classic Album Review: Richard Ashcroft | Human Conditions

The Verve singer's subdued solo set crosses self-help therapy with self-hypnosis.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Less than two minutes into his new album, Richard Ashcroft confesses he’s “got (his) mind meditating on love.” He could have saved his breath.

The Verve vocalist’s contemplatively romantic frame of mind is obvious from the first silky-smooth moment of his intelligent and quietly seductive sophomore solo album. Outiftted with lush, sweeping grooves that glide along with the grace of clouds at sunset, his downbeat (and slightly troubadourish) Britpop ballads like Check The Meaning, Buy It In Bottles, Paradise and God In The Numbers provide a languid cushion for Ashcroft’s dusty, vaguely Tom Cochrane-like tones. Only the Indian-spiced drone-rocker Bright Lights and the low-impact funk of bonus track The Miracle break the spell; otherwise, much of the introspective and subdued Human Conditions comes off as a cross between self-help therapy and self-hypnosis. “Can you hear what I’m saying?” asks Ashcroft. Loud and clear, mate. Or at least clear.