Quintessential Albums :: The Man Who (1999) :: Travis
A Little History:
The Man Who is the second studio album from the Scottish band Travis. The album was released on May 24, 1999, becoming the album that gave the band international recognition.
The album was produced by Nigel Godrich and recorded at producer Mike Hedges’ chateau in France. The band continued recording at, among other studios, RAK Studios and Abbey Road Studios in London. The Man Who initially looked as though it would mirror the release of Good Feeling. Although it entered the charts at # 5, with little radio play of its singles, it quickly slipped down. Worse, many critics who had raved about the rocky Good Feeling rubbished the album for the band’s move into more melodic, melancholic material.
However, when the album slipped as far as # 19, it stopped. Word of mouth and increasing radio play of the single Why Does It Always Rain on Me? increased awareness of the band and the album began to rise back up the charts. Then, when Travis took the stage to perform this song at the 1999 Glastonbury Festival, after being dry for several hours, it began to rain as soon as the first line was sung. The following day the story was all over the papers and television, and with word of mouth and increased radio play of this and the album’s other singles, The Man Who rose to # 1 on the British charts.
The album also eventually took Best Album at the 2000 BRIT Awards, with Travis being named Best Band. Music industry magazine Music Week awarded them the same honors, while at the Ivor Novello Awards, Travis took the Best Songwriter(s) and Best Contemporary Song Awards.
Travis followed the release of The Man Who with an extensive 237-gig world tour, including headlining the 2000 Glastonbury, T in the Park and V Festivals, and a US tour leg with Oasis. In Los Angeles, an appearance of the band at an in-store signing forced police to close Sunset Strip.
The title “The Man Who” comes from the book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by neurologist Oliver Sacks.
The majority of songs for this album were written before Good Feeling was even released. Writing to Reach You, The Fear and Luv being penned around 1995/96, with As You Are, Turn and She’s So Strange dating back as far as 1993 and the early Glass Onion EP.
What Makes This “Quintessential” to me?
“Home is where the heart is,
but your heart had to roam,
drifting over bridges,
never to return,
watching bridges burn.”
“Every day I wake up and it’s Sunday,
whatever’s in my head won’t go away,
the radio is playing all the usual,
and what’s a wonderwall anyway?”
3. Why Does it Always Rain on Me?
“Sunny days, where have you gone?
I get the strangest feeling you belong.”
“So where’s the stars?
Up in the sky.
And what’s the moon?
A big balloon.
We’ll never know unless we grow.”
“What’s so wrong?
Why the face so long?
Is it over?”