The Fall sought the lay of the land and found a balance of fear and wonder in the conventional experiments and populist oppression of this debased dream. The addition of Mark E. Smith's wife Brix to the mix for their album 'Perverted By Language' had brought a new pop sensibility to their edgy post punk sound. Brix would consider: "Everyone was watching me very critically to start with. After I proved myself, there was a spark that stimulated the band, a new way of looking at things. Even with the old songs, I think I add some shadow and light to them. At first, I was going to be a solo artist with Mark producing me. Then we decided that I could be a good contrast in the band. I give it a lot of drive, as well as adding some 'glamour' to it all...Most Americans have a particular view of The Fall. I didn't see it as punk rock or r'n'r, but unique in itself. 'Slates'was the first thing I heard from the band, when I was living in America. The words really infuriated me because I didn't understand them at all. In fact, the first thing I ever said to Mark was, 'That gig was the best I've ever seen, but those words ... they infuriate me so much!!...I'm almost frightened by this one, it's that good. Although I know that we can still get better, we're so close now. The first side is the frightening side and the second the wonderful side of The Fall. We've come close to what it should really be like. It shows our diversity and our different moods. You can listen to it over and over and still not grasp it. There's always new things you can see in it and new revelations you can come to about it. As you change, the music changes too. It's chock full of things. Mark's lyrics have this extraordinary freshness; it's called life. If you see his words on paper, they take on a whole new life of their own. Like sometimes, I think the words should be written down - 'cos people need to be punched in the face with words like that."
'The Wonderful and Frightening World Of The Fall' was recorded with producer John Leckie and features Mark E. Smith on vocals and tapes; Brix Smith on lead and rhythm guitar and vocals; Craig Scanlon on rhythm and lead guitar; Steve Hanley on bass guitar and acoustic guitar; Paul Hanley on drums, keyboards; and grand piano; and Karl Burns on drums, percussion, and lead bass guitar; with "friendly visitor" Gavin Friday providing vocals on "Copped It", "Clear Off!" and "Stephen Song". The band had left Rought Trade Records and signed with Beggar's Banquet.
'The Wonderful and Frightening World Of The Fall' peaked at number sixty-two on the British album chart. As with 'Perverted By Language', the album cover was done by Danish artist Claus Castenskiold.
Mark: "I'm so proud of that song. I didn't see it as pure pop because it hasn't been accepted like that. It's got good words in it and that throws people off - their brains are so degenerate now, that if they hear something they don't understand ... they just drop it. I always thought it would appeal to children and it does. A lot of very young kids (seven or eight) seem to like it. I never thought, though, that the creep was the guy who smelt bad at school; it was always the most popular guy in the class, 'cos you knew damn well he wouldn't do well in life, the sort who'd cry when the exam results came out."
Brix: "Everyone always thinks that Fall songs are about themselves and that was especially so with 'Creep'. Some people thought it was about Morrisey which it wasn't. Marc Riley, our old guitarist, thought it was about him, which it wasn't. It's about every creep in the world."
'Disney's Dream Debased'
Brix: "Mark got off this ride with tears in his eyes he was so frightened. This ride is a mountain, 100 ft in the air, a replica of The Matterhorn; you ride at sixty miles an hour. Ten minutes after we get off, a woman fails out of her sleigh, gets trapped and decapitated by the oncoming one. They couldn't get her out, there was fire-engines everywhere coming out of the bushes, and all these Micky Mouse characters rushing out to distract people. It took them seven hours to get the body off. Everyone was pretending nothing had happened, they were all going 'Disneyland is wonderful land'. Mark was saying, 'Whaaat??? There's a woman up there with no head on', but Micky Mouse was just laughing away. Mark thought it was like a bad trip."
'The Wonderful and Frightening World Of The Fall'
"Lay of the Land" 0:00 (Mark E. Smith, Brix Smith)
"2 × 4" 5:45 (M. Smith, B. Smith)
"Copped It" 9:23 (M. Smith, Karl Burns)
"Elves" 13:39 (M. Smith, B. Smith)
"Oh! Brother" 18:27 (M. Smith, Burns, Steve Hanley, Craig Scanlon)
"Draygo's Guilt" 22:28 (M. Smith, Scanlon)
"God Box" 26:58 (M. Smith, B. Smith)
"Clear Off!" 30:16 (M. Smith, Scanlon)
"C.R.E.E.P." 34:56 (M. Smith, Paul Hanley, S. Hanley, Scanlon. B. Smith)
"Pat-Trip Dispenser" 38:04 (M. Smith, B. Smith)
"Slang King" 42:04 (M. Smith, P. Hanley, B. Smith)
"Bug Day" 47:25 (M. Smith, Burns, P. Hanley, S. Hanley, Scanlon, B. Smith)
"Stephen Song" 52:23 (M. Smith, P. Hanley, S. Hanley)
"Craigness" 55:29 (M. Smith, Scanlon)
"Disney's Dream Debased" 58:32 (M. Smith, S. Hanley, B. Smith)