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Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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In some ways UK represented both the last hurrah of progressive music's golden age, and the standard by which all other supergroups that followed would be judged. The impeccable technical precision, complex yet modern arrangements, and dynamic live performances made them an overnight legend whose reputation has far outlasted their brief existence. No other supergroup, progressive or otherwise, has had such an immediate and lasting impact.

The band was formed in 1978 by bassist John Wetton and drummer Bill Bruford, both fresh from the USA tour (and accompanying live album) of KING CRIMSON. Keyboardist & violinist Eddie Jobson had also played on the KC tour and album, but was better known for his brilliant work on a string of ROXY MUSIC albums, as well as their seventies live album, "Viva!". Wetton briefly secured guitar wiz-kid Eric Johnson for the band as well, but Johnson's own project (the "Seven Wonders" solo album) and the legal wranglings that were accompanying it would cause Johnson to quickly withdraw and be replaced by another guitar virtuoso, Allan Holdsworth, who had worked with SOFT MACHINE and GONG, in addition to his solo work before joining UK. This was the first in what would become a series of lineup changes before the band would disband for good less than two years later.

The star-studded lineup had no trouble securing a record deal, and Polydor released their self-titled debut on the E.G. label that same year, which is often credited as the first successful rock supergroup studio release ever. The music is characterized by layered synthesizers, jazz-inspired guitars and bass, and in general by exceptionally high-quality musicianship. The band followed the release with a lengthy promotional tour.

Bruford would release a couple of albums under the BRUFORD BAND name following this tour, and would eventually return to the KING CRIMSON lineup for their "Discipline" release in 1981. Holdsworth also appeared on the BRUFORD BAND releases, and would later issue a series of solo albums in addition to a wide range of session appearances. Terry Bozzio (FRANK ZAPPA, GROUP 87) would replace Bruford, and the trio would release the band's second and final studio album a year later ("Danger Money"). Without a replacement for Holdsworth, this album suffered due to overcompensation on violin and keyboards, and the band disbanded following after the Japanese leg of the promotional tour. A live album of that tour would be released shor...
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UK shows & tickets


  • U.K. 2015 Final World Tour - Japan on 30 Apr 2015

UK discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

UK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.08 | 451 ratings
UK
1978
3.75 | 258 ratings
Danger Money
1979

UK Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 10 ratings
Shadows From The Sun
1978
3.41 | 109 ratings
Night After Night
1979
3.80 | 32 ratings
Concert Classics Vol. 4
1999
3.99 | 14 ratings
Live In Boston
2007
2.97 | 14 ratings
Live in America
2007
3.89 | 8 ratings
Reunion - Live In Tokyo
2013

UK Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

5.00 | 3 ratings
Reunion - Live In Tokyo
2013

UK Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

UK Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
In The Dead Of Night
1978
2.00 | 1 ratings
Nothing To Lose
1979
2.00 | 1 ratings
Rendezvous 6:02
1979
2.21 | 5 ratings
Night After Night
1979

UK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Reunion - Live In Tokyo by UK album cover DVD/Video, 2013
5.00 | 3 ratings

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Reunion - Live In Tokyo
UK Eclectic Prog

Review by Gerinski
Prog Reviewer

5 stars In 2009 John Wetton and Eddie Jobson joined to tour under the name U-Z Project (Ultimate Zero), with guests musicians including the likes of Tony Levin, Trey Gunn, Marco Minnemann or Greg Howe, playing music from U.K., King Crimson and other compositions by their members. The experience encouraged Wetton and Jobson to go for what could be called a proper U.K. Reunion and tour as from 2011.

U.K. are one of the few of the 'classic dinosaurs' which I could never see live, their video material is rather scarce, and unfortunately I also missed seeing them live in their recent reunion, so seeing them in this DVD was like an old pending item in my wishing list finally being ticked.

We don't have Bruford or Bozzio at the drum kit but the great Marco Minnemann does an outstanding job, and few guitarists could be a better choice for filling in for Allan Holdsworth than the Austrian Alex Machacek.

The filming and sound quality are clearly sub-par for such a recent release, but for me, the quality of the music and performance more than compensate for that. This is superb Prog played masterfully.

The set list could not be much better, the tandem "In The Dead Of Night ? By The Light Of Day ? Presto Vivace ? Reprise" opens the show leaving no doubt that these guys are in for serious business. Wetton's voice is in great shape and Machaceck replicates Holdsworth faithfully even if a bit too clinical, not daring to go further than what is supposed for a guest musician. "Danger Money" follows with a great performance by Jobson and Minnemann. "Thirty Years" is such a beautiful composition with those original progressions and harmonies. Eddie Jobson displays his Emersonian influences in "Alaska" followed by "Time To Kill" where he squeezes his electric violin full of effects. Then we have the beautiful King Crimson's "Starless" with a great crescendo where Jobson does another amazing display with his violin.

"Carrying No Cross", the epic in their Danger Money album, is another display for Jobson, making it clear that he should be more considered among the top Prog keyboardists and not just as a violin player. Alex Machacek stays absent for this one. Then we have a very good drum solo by Minnemann and a violin solo by Jobson, very effects-driven. "Nevermore" is another highly beautiful piece with great soloing by Jobson and Machacek, followed by King Crimson's "One More Red Nightmare" were Jobson delivers new violin solos.

"Caesar's Palace Blues" and "The Only Thing She Needs" continue the fantastic track choice.

As an encore, Wetton and Jobson stay in the stage and perform an intimate version of "Rendezvous 6:02" just on e-piano and voice.

Wetton does not look too enthusiastic but he sings very well, Jobson confirms how good a keyboardist he is besides his violin playing, Minnemann is a delight to watch and Machacek successfully does the difficult job of covering for Holdsworth. Overall a wonderful release for fans of this supergroup.

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 Reunion - Live In Tokyo by UK album cover Live, 2013
3.89 | 8 ratings

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Reunion - Live In Tokyo
UK Eclectic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Well, only half a reunion really. But a very good one!

I was surprised when I stumbled upon this live album some months ago (on Spotify I think it was that I first saw it) as I didn't even know that UK had reformed and were touring again (since 2009 apparently, I had no idea!). My initial thought was that it must be fake, because if it was real then surely I would have heard about it on Prog Archives, the most comprehensive progressive Rock resource on the web. But no, apparently Reunion - Live In Tokyo is one that slipped through the cracks, and I wasn't the only who missed it since it wasn't even added to UK's discography here (I just added it now).

Released last year, this live album features a line-up consisting of two of the original members of UK in John Wetton (bass and vocals) and Eddie Jobson (keyboards and violin) plus two new guys in Alex Machacek (guitars) and Marco Minnemann (drums). (At least this is the line-up according to my information.) They are performing a set of songs that originally appeared on UK's two studio albums from 1978 and 1979 respectively as well as a couple of King Crimson songs in Starless and One More Red Nightmare.

The show opens with the complete In The Dead Of Night/By The Light Of Day/Presto Vivace And Reprise suite that also opened UK's self-titled debut. I think it sounds as great here as it does on the studio disc, but I'm sure that many fans will complain about the absence of Bill Bruford and Allan Holdsworth. Machacek and Minnemann are doing a good job recreating the original sound of the band. Other songs from the debut album that are also present here are Thirty Years, Alaska, Time To Kill, and Nevermore, which means that only one song from that album is not here (Mental Medication). From Danger Money comes the title track, Rendez-Vous 6:02, The Only Thing She Needs, Caesar's Palace Blues, and Carrying No Cross, which again means that only one song is left out (Nothing To Lose).

All these songs are very good and everything is very well performed. The King Crimson songs, both from Red, fit in very well. If you are a fan of UK you shouldn't miss this strong live disc.

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 Night After Night  by UK album cover Live, 1979
3.41 | 109 ratings

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Night After Night
UK Eclectic Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This posthumous live album from the fallen supergroup was recorded in Japan, which in retrospect makes perfect sense, as the music showed John Wetton well on his way toward the chart-topping entropy of ASIA.

On stage, in front of an adoring crowd, the trio was admirably tight and professional, but I hear no passion whatsoever for the music being played. A moot point, since there isn't any, even in the two new songs: the lively but mechanical title track (by default one of the better selections here), and the entirely too banal "As Long As You Want Me Here", a transparent bid for a slice of the singles market. The latter actually fades out over the final chorus (in a live concert?), anticipating a radio edit that never materialized.

Fans might be curious to hear how the trio sounded playing material from the original quartet...not very different, as it turns out. And Eddie Jobson's lightning synth runs are no substitute for Allan Holdsworth's guitar. Also: what's up with all the obviously pre-recorded background harmonies? Was John Wetton cloned in a secret Honshu lab before the tour? And are there other unfair overdubs hidden in the mix?

In the end the album succeeds in showing how much Wetton had forgotten from his years in KING CRIMSON, a band that rarely failed to honor the integrity of a live performance (except, ironically, when Jobson himself was drafted to 'fix' some violin parts on the "USA" tapes). If this was where the bass player saw his career heading at the end of the 1970s, Fripp was wise to kill the Crimson King when he did.

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 Danger Money  by UK album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.75 | 258 ratings

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Danger Money
UK Eclectic Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars UK's self-titled debut album hasn't aged very well, but the harder-rocking follow-up recorded by the newly stripped-down trio a year afterward actually sounds better in retrospect. New drummer Terry Bozzio (not a familiar name at the time) was more in tune than Bill Bruford with the grandiose commercial ambitions of John Wetton and Eddie Jobson. And because he no longer had to share the stage with an ace guitarist, Jobson responded with some of his most assertive playing on record.

Musically the album traces the muscular template of "In the Dead of Night", the obvious high point of the previous album. The reconfigured band may have been more song- than music-oriented, perhaps revealing the direction Wetton had hoped to steer KING CRIMSON (and why Robert Fripp quit in response). But the new songs left generous space for instrumental exploration. And Jobson in particular rose to the challenge, stealing the spotlight with his trademark Perspex violin, in "The Only Thing She Needs" and the punchy "Caesar's Palace Blues", and showing all the brio of a less-classical Keith Emerson (the sophomore UK album appeared only four months after ELP crashed onto "Love Beach", leaving a vacancy in the keyboard virtuoso pantheon).

The only stumble on an otherwise strong effort is "Nothing to Lose", an obvious bid for radio airplay foreshadowing the trite Arena Pop of ASIA. But that misstep is quickly overshadowed by the mini-epic album closer "Carrying No Cross", a poor second-cousin of sorts to the celebrated King Crimson finale "Starless", with a similar structure of escalating tension and release over twelve invigorating minutes.

Splitting up a band can sometimes benefit everyone involved. Bruford and Allan Holdsworth both moved on to impeccable Fusion careers, while the remaining UK players rediscovered the focus that had eluded them on the first LP. It didn't last very long (see the obligatory, by-the-numbers live album "Night After Night"), but even a brief flash-in-the-pan was better than the empty kettle of Wetton's next supergroup.

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 UK by UK album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.08 | 451 ratings

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UK
UK Eclectic Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars In retrospect the first album by the short-lived Progressive supergroup resembled an attempt by John Wetton and Bill Bruford to resuscitate the recently deceased KING CRIMSON, with another violinist in lieu of David Cross and a more sympathetic guitarist replacing the often intractable Robert Fripp. On paper it looked good, and the debut album sounded thrilling when first heard in 1978. But the passage of time has been less than kind to it, revealing not only the fatal stresses within the quartet but the larger cracks in the ideology of Progressive Rock at the end of the 1970s.

Blame the lopsided pool of all-star talent: an attempt to balance a pair of dedicated Jazz-Rockers (Bruford and guitarist Allan Holdsworth) against two aspiring pop stars (Wetton and Eddie Jobson), without any blueprint for a workable fusion. It all came together brilliantly in the opening "In the Dead of Night" suite: one of the more exciting highlights of late-Golden Age Prog. If only the rest of the album had as many memorable hooks (incredibly catchy, despite the odd time signatures), or the same lush symphonic climax, in years to come providing a sonic blueprint for embryonic Neo- Proggers.

But I don't know many fans who ventured far beyond it, into the often empty virtuosity of Side Two. The balance of the album leaned more toward the polite Bruford/Holdsworth style of English Jazz Rock, implausibly grafted onto Jobson's clinical synth patches and Wetton's typically beefy bass guitar lines. And the singer's smoky baritone sounds distinctly uneasy when forced into the jazzier cadences of "Time to Kill", "Nevermore", and "Mental Medication".

At the start of the 1970s bands were encouraged to cross-pollinate opposing forms of music, just to hear what might happen. But as the decade advanced and the adolescent music business matured into an industry, the final goal became more commercial than creative, spelling an end to Prog Rock's original idealism. Seven years earlier the same friction that split UK in two might have produced something really special. You can still hear the occasional spark, but the expected detonation never happens.

Give the effort three stars at best, in recognition of the talent, not the results.

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 Night After Night by UK album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1979
2.21 | 5 ratings

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Night After Night
UK Eclectic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This now rare single was released in 1979 to promote their live album titled 'Night After Night'. The Side One of this single has an edited version of the same live version of the song titled 'Night After Night' (composed by Eddie Jobson and John Wetton) which was released in that live album and that was recorded in Japan in June 1979. Among the differences with the album version are that this single version lacks one reprise of the chorus, the organ solo, and some bars in the instrumental sections were cut, and it also lacks the 'U.K. ! U.K.! U.K.!' shouts from the audience before the song begins, so the song starts immediately without the shouts from the audience. This single edit maybe sounded well for radio promotion, but after years of listening to the album version I really prefer it with the organ solo and with all the parts of the song intact.

The Side Two of this single, a track recorded in a studio, is a song titled 'When Will You Realize', and was composed by John Wetton alone. It is considered by Eddie Jobson in the Forum of his official website as 'the track that split up the band' without explaining the whole reasons. But in some interviews he said that the band split because he and Wetton had by then different musical ideas for the band: while Jobson still wanted to compose long Progressive Rock songs, Wetton wanted to compose shorter Rock Pop songs. So, this song is an example of a shorter Rock Pop song more related to the musical style that Wetton was going to use more with the band Asia than to the Prog Rock style that U.K. still was using in the 'Danger Money' album, which it really was a mixture of both styles (also including in this mixed style the 'Night After Night' song which still has some Prog Rock arrangements more related to the musical style of most of the songs of that that album but still sounding increasingly more oriented for the Rock Pop Market). The arrangements of 'When Will You Realize' are simpler, with the band using an organ, a brief appearance of an electric violin in a chorus, bass guitar, drums, and lead and backing vocals. It really sounds like it was recorded very quickly, only to be released as the Side Two of this single, with not very much care. This song was recorded again by Wetton for his first solo album called 'Caught in the Crossfire' in 1980, but I still have not yet listened to that version of this song.

These two tracks were not released in the remastered CD version of the "Night After Night" live album, and both still are not yet released on CD, so both are now considered as "rarities".

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 Shadows From The Sun by UK album cover Live, 1978
4.00 | 10 ratings

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Shadows From The Sun
UK Eclectic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This live album was recorded at the Agora Ballroom, in Cleveland, in 1-September-1978, by the first line-up of the band (Bill Bruford, Allan Holdsworth, Eddie Jobson and John Wetton) during their 1978 tour. The recording and mixing are good (being from 1978), and this live recording shows the band sounding very well, performing some songs from their first studio album (and the only album recorded by this line-up), plus two songs which were going to be recorded with Terry Bozzio for their second album titled "Danger Money" in late 1978 ("The Only Thing She Needs" and "Carrying No Cross"; during that tour they also played "Caesar`s Palace Blues", a song which was also to be recorded with Bozzio for their "Danger Money" album, but it was not included in this live album), plus "Forever Till Sunday", composed by Bruford, a song which Bruford and Holdsworth (with Jobson on uncredited violin) were going to record for Bruford`s album titled "One of a Kind" in 1979 (U.K. also played during that tour a song called "The Shara of Snow", which was not inclued in this live album, composed by Bruford and Jobson and also recorded for the "One of a Kind" album, but without Jobson`s contribution). The songs from their "Danger Money" album are played somewhat different with different arrangements more influenced by Bruford and Holdsworth`s Jazz-Rock Fusion style and with more improvisation. The rest of the songs are played very well, but again, Bruford and Holdsworth`s tendency for improvisation made them sound somewhat different to the studio versions from their first album. So, with this live album one can see why this line-up didn`t stay together for more time, because Jobson and Wetton maybe had a more "fixed" Prog Rock musical style which clashed a bit with Bruford and Holdsworth`s tendency for Jazz-Rock Fusion improvisation. Anyway, the combination of both styles sounds very well. Bruford in particular tended to play the songs somewhat differently in concerts, something which he liked to do a lot during the seventies, but if in his playing with Genesis during their 1976 tour sometimes this tendency didn`t sound very well , with U.K., King Crimson and with his own bands Bruford found the best bands to do this kind of playing, which is very good to listen to as it gives some variety to the sound of the songs. The same can be said about Holdsworth`s playing. In conclusion, this is a very good live album by a very good band which unfortunately did not last for a very long time.

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 UK by UK album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.08 | 451 ratings

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UK
UK Eclectic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Self titled album by this excellent band from late '70s issued in 1978 is a fairly solid jazz fusion album with plenty of memorable parts and stunning musicianship, but I do prefere their second one Danger money little more being more colorfull and more unique then UK. The line up of this let's say supergroup was consisted by 4 of the best musicians jazz fusion/progressive rock ever had and still has, on guitar the master behind six strings Allan Holdsworth coming from Soft Machine and Gong later on on Bruford and aswell a has prolific solo career, Bill Bruford on drums from already giants Yes and King Crimson, John Wetton on bass and vocals from Family, King Crimson, Uriah Heep, etc and last but not least the crafty Eddie Jobson on keyboards and electric violin from Curved Air, Roxy Music and after the broke of UK in 1979 he will join Jethro Tull on A album. So, top of the iceberg here, each musician were masters on their instruments creating some spectacular moments. But, what about the music, well, is great, with blistering keyboards and awesome guitar parts, not to mention some very fine drum chops and bass lines. The opening track In The Dead Of Night is killer, I love it , is punchy and has solid musicianship and inventiv progressive/jazz fusion passages, Presto Vivace And Reprise is another highlight that must be heared by anyone involved in this kind of music and Alaska, the rest are also pretty good. So, a great debute but somehow fail to atract me so much as their next one Danger money, still worthy for sure and 4 stars.

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 Live In Boston by UK album cover Live, 2007
3.99 | 14 ratings

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Live In Boston
UK Eclectic Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This record was previously released under Concert Classics vol. 4 without the band's consent. It seems this release is a legally correct one.

It's a joy listening to this record as it features the original line-up of UK with Allan Holdsworth (guitar), Eddie Jobson (keyboards, e-violin & electronics), John Wetton (bass & vocals), Bill Bruford (kit drums & percussion) performing tracks from their two albums: UK and Danger Money. As you know, Bill Bruford and Allan Holdsworth were absent for the Danger Money album. So, basically their second album was guitar-less and that what has made this live set is interesting because Allan fills his guitar playing for songs from Danger Money. As I am a big fan of live record even though I have to trade it off, sometime, with poor sonic quality of the CD, I consider this record as a masterpiece of progressive rock live concert. You may discount my rating here but the spirit is that I want express my honest statement that prog rock bands should have this kind of live record. It does not really matter at all if you totally disagree with me and I fully respect your opinion. If you like live record you might be with me. The audio quality is not really bad, it's acceptable. The album cover is terrible. But, the music that counts really. And it's not just the music, it has the soul of true prog rock concert.

The record starts off with and ambient and soaring keyboard work of Eddie Jobson that projects an overture of great rock concert through "Alaska" (1:33), continued wonderfully with "Time To Kill" (7:16) in relatively fast tempo. With this live record the band's music is much improvisational in nature, especially with the stunning guitar work by Allan Holdsworth combined with Jobson's keyboard and violin. As usual Bruford plays his drum with his unique time signature and unique snare sound. He seems to enjoy playing the concert as most of the improvisation tend to be jazzy. Put it right, this live set is more Canterbury than the original studio version. The show goes on with a song from Danger Money album: "The Only Thing She Needs" (7:21) which clearly shows the powerful voice of John Wetton.

The musical improvisation goes crazy when the band performs "Carrying No Cross" (9:58) from Danger Money album and "Thirty Years" (10:03) from debut album. The appearance of Allan Holdsworth has brought the music into jazz Canterbury style. I personally enjoy the improvisation of guitar, keyboard and violin. The band performs songs from their debut album creatively by putting reversely "Presto Vivace" before "In The Dead Of Night" (7:49). It's a nice shot, really! The live set concludes with a song from Danger Money album: "Caesar's Palace Blues" (4:29) .

Overall, enjoying this live set is really rewarding and makes my adrenalin running rapidly. If you love a live record, this is definitely one of the best prog rock concert. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Danger Money  by UK album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.75 | 258 ratings

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Danger Money
UK Eclectic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars UK lost Bruford and Holdsworth (who went off to make One of a Kind, the second Bruford album), so they picked up Terry Bozzio and let Eddie Jobson's keyboards and violin take the lead guitar parts for this album. Otherwise, this album is much like a less fusion-tinted version of the first - the quiet parts all seem to be indistinguishable takes on the quiet section of In the Dead of Night/By The Light of Day from the first album, the loud bits - like the title track - blare forth much like the loud bits on the debut, and in general the album offers little more than a competent replay of what's gone before, with the chops very mildly reduced.

A good buy if you absolutely must have more UK, but most listeners will find more to enjoy in the debut album - and if you already have the debut, it's hard not to want to listen to that again rather than sitting through this tepid repeat.

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