Pressed on Recycled 180g Vinyl, Brian Eno’s FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE Is an Environmentally Sound and Emotionally Appealing Thinking Person’s LP

Reviewing a new Brian Eno album is never an easy thing. Inevitably, those of us who have been following him from his earliest days in Roxy Music and nascent solo career have our deeply established favorites from different periods of his work. Mine stem from his original landmark rock-oriented releases — Here Come The Warm Jets (1973), Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy (1974), and Another Green World (1975) — as well as his pioneering ambient constructs like Apollo: Atmospheres And Soundtracks (1983) and the gorgeous collaboration with Harold Budd, The Pearl (1984). Eno has quite a legacy behind him. That said, it’s nice to know Brian Eno’s latest album, FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE, fits into this continuum — albeit not without its challenges.

Thing is, I’ve started to consider Brian Eno akin to the way I think about Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, and Bruce Springsteen. I consider the artist as a whole, with every new release a valid part of his œuvre — even if I don’t like it! I don’t judge one album against another because the artist at hand is often chameleonic, always pushing forward, and trying something new. The listener simply has to be ready to make some leaps of faith with each new release. [Testify!—MM]


The stereo mix of FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE is presented on lovely 180g black vinyl, and it retails for $35.99. It was mastered by Christian Wright at Abbey Road Studios. The pressing, which was done at Optimal Media GmbH, is well-centered, thick, and dark and quiet, all of which is essential for a recording like this.

Of course, one of the other reasons some of us enjoy collecting vinyl editions from our favorite artists is for the cover art. And given Eno is a supremely gifted visual artist in addition to pursuing his musical endeavors, this gatefold edition is a joy to behold. Issued in a flat matte printing style on very deluxe-feeling card stock, the package is quite elegant, with raised gloss ink on some of the key, larger-type portions. The cover feels almost like a fine quality greeting card. The title of the album is presented in a lovely manner, alternating letters between a rich harvest gold and a plum-purple hue.

Given the album’s underlying theme of nature and preserving the planet — as well as exploring what time we have left on it — it is worth noting the fine print on FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE reveals this 180g disc was made from recycled vinyl! Before you gasp, I have to say I was surprised as anyone to read that, as my copy of the album is dead-quiet and perfectly centered.


I say “surprised” here because I have heard plenty of new pressings theoretically made from virgin vinyl that are actually pretty noisy. Ultimately, I think it is pretty neat Eno and his production team have figured out a way to embrace the vinyl renaissance while also paying attention to our environment — something that is quite wonderful, when you stop to think about it. (Remember, oil is a key ingredient in manufacturing vinyl.) Even the outer plastic sleeve has iconography on it that indicates the thin transparent plastic wrapper itself is “compostable.”

One of the first things I had to absorb about FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE once I started listening is that it moves at a very slow pace, reminiscent of many of Eno’s ambient recordings. However, this is an album of “songs” with vocals, It is very much a song cycle, a concept that Webster’s defines as “a group of related songs designed to form a musical entity.” So, when you get your copy of FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE, be prepared to sit, listen, and think a bit — and perhaps listen again and ponder awhile more. This isn’t driving music or really an album to play while commuting on the train to work or even one to play in the background. In short, FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE is a thinking person’s recording.

In some ways, FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE may be one of the more direct recordings Eno has given us, with themes no doubt appearing emotionally reflective of the times we now live in. Centered on his voice for most of the songs here — the most since June 2005’s fine Another Day On EarthFOREVERANDEVERNOMORE is very much a mood piece that in some ways captures the foreboding darkness of recent years.

From Eno’s site, we get a bit more insight into the album’s intent: “It’s a sonically beguiling, ultimately optimistic exploration of the narrowing, precarious future of humanity and our planet.” As Eno himself concludes, “Briefly, we need to fall in love again, but this time with Nature, with Civilisation [sic] and with our hopes for the future.”


From the official press release for the album, we learn some of the underlying elements that influenced its creation: “On FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE Brian experimented using tonal over major chord changes: ‘My voice has changed, it’s lowered, it’s become a different personality I can sing from. I don’t want to sing like a teenager; it can be melancholic, a bit regretful. As for writing songs again — it’s more landscapes, but this time with humans in them.’”

I will admit when I played FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE initially, I found it somber and a bit depressing. But as i listened repeatedly, the beauty of the melodies began to envelop me, such as those on “We Let It In” and the final track on Side B, “Making Gardens Out Of Silence.”

Album opener “Who Gives A Thought” feels almost like an homage to Jeff Buckley, who used to introduce his song “Mojo Pin” with a meditative chant-like element akin to this one. Of course, others have done this sort of thing before, such as U2 did with “MLK,” the closing track on their landmark October 1984 LP The Unforgettable Fire (which, coincidentally or no, Eno co-produced with Daniel Lanois). Elvis Costello also went down this path on May 1991’s underappreciated-but-brilliant Mighty Like A Rose, with “Broken” (which was, connecting some additional dots, curiously co-produced by Mitchell Froom and Kevin Killen — and Killen was a supporting engineer on, you guessed it, The Unforgettable Fire). Heck, if we were to dig a bit deeper into music history, I’m sure we probably could trace this sort of meditation back to some Far Eastern music from India and other parts of Asia!


Some of the song structures on FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE feel almost liturgical, as if some of the Cantorial (if you will) melodies I heard while preparing for my Bar Mitzvah as a youngster were slowed down, stretched, and turned inside out.

A song like “These Small Noises” melodically might be sung in a modern house of prayer, but when you explore the lyrics more intently, you realize Eno and his songwriting partner for this piece (Jon Hopkins) have a more bleak vision to share, some of which I’ll quote here so you get the idea: “Land of soil / We owe our fathers / Olive tree line / Now no more / Go to Earth / Our hair on fire / Go to Hell / In Hell to burn.”

But like Costello and Dylan before him, therein lies the wonder, as Eno makes the darkness sound beautiful. The melody flavors here remind me a bit of Eno’s brother Roger and his 1993 album The Familiar (made with Kate St John of The Dream Academy and Bill Nelson of Be-Bop Deluxe, the latter of whom also produced the album).

FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE creates an environment for self-contemplation, musically and lyrically. “Inclusion” feels almost like a more earthbound take on the vibe from Eno’s aforementioned 1983 classic Apollo: Atmospheres And Soundtracks. But instead of “sitting in a tin can / far above the world” (to borrow a lyric from one of Eno’s most notable collaborators, David Bowie), the listener is perhaps floating like “a cork in the ocean” (as Brian Wilson once put it).

Or perhaps Eno was simply swinging on a hammock in his backyard, drifting and dreaming.


While FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE sounds perfectly fine and lovely, from the earlier-cited official press release we also learn Eno crafted these new recordings with three-dimensional sound in mind (and the album has indeed been made available elsewhere in that expanded format). If you have headphones, I suspect this would be a good, enveloping listen. I found FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE works well at louder volumes — where you can feel more of the resonance of subtle instrumentation textures — but it also performs well more quietly.

FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE is no doubt a significant statement from Brian Eno, one we should take seriously. We should probably be thankful for it too.

(Mark Smotroff is an avid vinyl collector who has also worked in marketing communications for decades. He has reviewed music for, among others, and you can see more of his impressive C.V. at LinkedIn.)

Music Direct Buy It Now



180g 1LP (Opal/UMC)

Side A
1. Who Gives A Thought
2. We Let It In
3. Icarus Or Blériot
4. Garden Of Stars

Side B
1. There Were Bells
2. Sherry
3. I’m Hardly Me
4. These Small Noises
5. Making Gardens Out Of Silence


markmck12's picture

Interesting review which left me mulling over one question. On the basis 10 is perfection (working assumption) and this music scores 8 - which of this album's attributes were considered to be imperfect? It is not abundantly clear from the review. Too cerebral, weak songwriting, poor musicianship...simply just boring? Please elaborate.

Mark Smotroff's picture

Your question is well taken and I don't have a "hard" answer for this. Each instance is unique. So, here the IS music good, even great at times and fascinating almost entirely. Does that warrant a 10 (which in my book would be a "classic" absolutely everyone should listen to and try to understand)? Maybe, maybe not. Some might argue it does, of course.

This is a concept album and with that comes pros and cons. I love concept albums, by the way but not everyone does.

You can read from the review I had to work fairly hard to get myself into this and that is purely my experience. Others may hear this and find it immediately engaging. If it had pulled me right from the start, I might have given it a 9 or 10. Heck, in a year I may go back to this and think it is an 11! Our perspectives and perceptions change with time and repeated listens.

Again, there is no hard answer. It is just a number, a reference point to let you know that this is generally a real good recording with some real good music on it that sounds real nice. Had it been a 3 or 4, that might indicate a more inconsistent affair. That is not the case with this album.

Hope that helps to clarify a bit...

Mark Smotroff's picture

(wish we could edit our comments)

PeterPani's picture

I would prefer a very strict rating. An 11 should be given with the thought in mind: if I have to take 10 out of 1000 recordings on a lonely island. Would it be a part of it? And for a rating of 10 I would increase that number to 50 of 1000.
I own around 5000. There are not many 11 in it judging by that rule. The only one that comes into my mind quickly is Horses by Patti Smith.
The rule may be applied for rock/pop. Classical music is much more dificult to rate - I go back to different interpretations in all directions much more often. On the other hand: canditates for true 11's are very very seldom in classical music, imho.

Mike Mettler's picture
Fair points all, PeterPani. Believe me, 11 ratings will be, and are, very hard to come by. It might be worth us coming up with some kind of "strictly 11" list at some point, though that may take some time to put together.

Interesting call re Horses, indeed a great album, though not an 11 on my own list. One of the cool things about listening to great music on vinyl like we all do is we all have our favorites -- and, as Mark pointed out in his earlier Comment, sometimes our preferences can change over years of listening. Some records need time to be appreciated, some you love from the very first needle drop, some make you go, "What was I thinking?" Regardless, I always enjoy listening to old favorites and new surprises alike, and 2023 won't be any different in that regard. Bring on the new (and old) LPs!

Anton D's picture

For me, an 11 would be...

"11? Does that mean it's better? Is it any than a 10?"

"Well, it's one better, isn't it? It's not 10. You see, most blokes, you know, will be rating something at a 10. You're on 10 here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on 10 on your rating meter. Where can you go from there? Where?"

"I don't know."

"Nowhere. Exactly. What I do is, if I need that extra push over the rating cliff, you know what I do?

"Put it up to eleven?"

"Eleven. Exactly. One better."

"Why don't you just make ten the best and make ten be the top number and make that a little harder to get?"


"These ratings go to eleven. Eleven is the best rating there is unless you go to 12. Then, 12 would be higher, unless you go to 13....."

Mike Mettler's picture
Nigel, of course, gets a fully uncontested 11 just for that perfect exchange. :) Relatively speaking, I'm inclined to give the original 1984 Polydor Spinal Tap LP a 10 on its music content alone, but likely a 7 or 8 for the SQ. The 2013 TCG/UMSM LP reissue is of lesser quality because of its so-so pressing, however -- possibly a 4 or 5, if I'm being generous. Paging Marti DiBergi...
rich d's picture

trying to attach a number to a subjective opinion. Best to just read the review and decide whether or not the music is likely to please you. And of course what at first blush seemed a 10 may, upon further reflection and given greater familiarity, turn out to be just a 6 or 7. Happens in a lot of marriages...

rich d's picture

It's such a fine line between stupid and clever.

PeterPani's picture

Acc. to "The Basic Laws of Stupidity" by. C.M. Cipolla "A stupid person is a person who causes loss to another person or a group of persons, while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses".

Tom L's picture

There sure is a lot of stupidity going on around the word in general, this site is something of a refuge for me.

rich d's picture

You appear to have missed the Spinal Tap reference (sorry my computer won't place an umlaut over the letter n). Time to head back to the DVD cabinet for a refresher. No need to thank me.

What's wrong with being sexy?

xtcfan80's picture

NOTHING!! Unless you are Rod Stewart trying to convince us he's sexy or software salespeople calling features and UIs sexy....THERE IS NOTHING SEXY ABOUT SOFTWARE...really

rich d's picture

The responses here strongly suggest a deterioration in knowledge of, and appreciation for, the Modern Western Canon. I realize Tap ain't Macbeth but it's common currency these days, like Blazing Saddles or Sticky Fingers.

And goodness knows we could all use a laugh these days.

Tom L's picture

Remember, the phrase "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" is written from a woman's point of view, she's asking the question to Rod. One of the most misunderstood lyrics ever.