Linus
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you singer/songwriter extraordinaire, Neil Hannon, also known to the public buying masses as the frontman and leading figure of posh british combo, The Divine Comedy.

Whenever I think of him I also think of Noel Coward, thus the reason behind this post right after the one about the author behind the anthemic Mad Dogs and Englishmen (by the way, they should really consider adopting that song as their national anthem. Seriously). Anyway, this post is about the album that got me started with my Divine Comedy obsession of a few years back. As I said, CASANOVA was my introduction to the many talents of Neil Hannon and I got hooked very fast. In it, Hannon paints a picture of the adventures and misadventures of a bon-vivant, in love with life, women and, most of all, himself. But he does this in such an hilarious and light-hearted way that it never feels mysoginous or offensive. Plus, all the songs are killers and his voice soars to such intensity and heights that you could not help but feel enraptured by his particular magic all the way.

So, if you haven't yet succumbed to the very melodic and funny world The Divine Comedy inhabit, what are you waiting for? Here's a taster: A Woman of the World. Go ahead, push that button. You know you want to.

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Linus
Make way for the brightest star of them all, Mr. Noel Coward. I like to view him as a sort of Oscar Wilde of the music world, going about his way regardless of everyone and marking his passage with sometimes hilariously ingenious sayings, sometimes scathingly ironic words but always with a panaché that only the best english breed possess.

Mixing vaudeville with british whimsy at its best, his knack for a catchy melody is always on display on every song he composed. But songs were not the only thing he did. Add to his CV the jobs of playwright, director, actor and singer and you have before you a sort of Renaissance Man of sorts for the 20th Century. His influence is still far reaching and numerous compilations and tribute albums have been produced so this one I'm recommending is just one of many, so just take a pick.

I leave you with his most iconic song ever - Mad Dogs and Englishmen - an hilarious and extremely assertive song about what it means to be british among other things. Praise be due to the original master of the ironic song.

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Linus
Of course, a crash course on american popular music from the 30's would not be complete without a mention to the girl that still steals all our hearts when she goes 'Boop-Boop-A-Doop'. I speak of the gal that inspired the most famous Fleischer creation of all time, Betty Boop: Miss Helen Kane.

Her quirky voice and child-like pitch are still able to hold us into a sort of trance, as if caught unaware by something otherworldly or at least, very far away from the sounds of everyday life. As I write this, I hear myself asking: "aren't you going a little too far?", but the answer in my heart and mind is a firm "no", because if you play the track below (her classic I Wanna Be Loved By You), you might find yourself slipping away to a faraway world of your own private imagination in a matter of seconds. And there aren't a lot of voices, let alone things, that can do that nowadays, are there?

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