808s / The UK's Greatest Hits

The UK’s Greatest Hits: 43. The Man Who – Travis


The Man Who  – Travis – 1999

First listen?: No

I really don’t remember The Man Who being this dull. Maybe it’s because like so many albums on this list I’m used to hearing it blasting out from the dining room/kitchen downstairs as my mum is sat in the garden. Travis are one of those bands that seemed to have multiple radio hits and massive sales despite being oddly nondescript; they aren’t exactly full of personality are they? This isn’t always a bad thing, the lilting Driftwood is an obvious standout here where lead singer Fran Healy’s sweet vocal soars. The same is true of Turn, despite its overtly repetitive chorus of chanting ‘Turn turn turn’ over and over again. The whole album is kind of nothingness though, it really doesn’t matter what Fran is singing about, I’m convinced that biggest hit Why Does It Always Rain On Me? is actually about surprising summer downpours given how often it’s used in news packages. Songs like The Fear come and go with mildly interesting middle 8’s, but none leave much of an impression. The Man Who marked the start of the ‘Pop Indie Bands’ of the 00s, with the liked of Keane, Snow Patrol and of course Coldplay, but on reflection the album itself just feels like an idea of what guitar led groups could become in the decade to follow. Having a nice voice is great, having some radio hits is great too, but there’s something missing from The Man Who that leaves me cold. A nice album, in a list where nearly every album is a bit nicer.

Rating: 5/10

Will I listen again?: No

Best Track: Driftwood is probably the best track here, though any of the 4 big hits could appear here instead. Most of them sound the same anyway.

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