Inspired by a post by Amber on rose quartz, I decided to make a bit of a list. Belle and Sebastian really are my favourite band (and yes, I am aware that I once said this about the Backstreet Boys, Mariah Carey and the Spice Girls, but I don’t think I will have as much of a backflip on my B&S love… I was young then…), and I can’t believe I only discovered them when in England last year. My adolescence could have been so much better! When I got in the car in a foul mood the last few evenings, B&S made the drive home far less angry.
They are twee, yes, but one dimensional, no. Chamber pop, acoustic pop, indie rock, indie pop… each of the albums is different from the last, but still full of charm and whimsy… as well as maudlin lyrics disguised with sweet pop melodies. Like washing down a nasty tablet with a sweet drink.
Enough with the rambling, I’ll just make my list now shall I? The list won’t be numbered, because I can’t decide on an order. It’s all good.
-The start of Like Dylan in the Movies. Such a catchy riff. "Lisa’s kissing men like a long walk home
when the music stops". And then the music stops. It’s great. And I love the rest of the song. "You’re worth the trouble and you’re worth the pain…"
-I love how the lyrics in B&S songs are like a puzzle or a poem. You have to analyse them to try and understand what they are about. The similies and metaphors are complex and very random indeed. It’s thinking music, but at the same time you can just kick back and enjoy the tunes and whimsy.
-"oh get me away from here I’m dying, play me a song to set me free, nobody writes them like they used to so it may as well be me… I’ll settle down with some old story about a boy who’s just like me, thought there was love in everything and everyone, you’re so naive…"
-Lazy Line Painter Jane is one of my fav B&S songs. The powerful female lyrics give a sense of the desperation of this story of a girl looking for love and success in all the wrong places… "You’re running miles in some boy’s jumper."
-She’s Losing It… how one can manage to write a cheerful song about "a girl whos been abused" still confounds me. But this is it. It’s so upbeat and catchy, but it’s about all these horrible things, and feelings of desperation "But in the first moment of waking up, she knows she’s losing it, she knows she’s losing it, when the first cup of coffee tastes like washing up, she knows she’s losing it…". But the strange paradox kind of resembles the way people carry around their struggles while just getting on with everyday life.
-The awesome (but amateurishly played) flute solo in the song Belle + Sebastian reminds me why I did decide to play the flute rather than a cooler instrument. But then all the guitar songs remind me why I should have picked the guitar instead.
-The simple spoken word storytelling in A Century of Elvis. Plus the Scottish accents. Swoon. "First of all we got to know each other, and then a while after that we met. And when we’d known each other for about seven years we decided to have an anniversary, and that went quite well, so after the anniversary we had a honeymoon, and that went well too. So after that we decided that we would get married. That’s why we’re living there now. I used to think my dad was Elvis, but I haven’t told him that yet. I haven’t told my dad either."
-I love the style used in many of the songs that tells the story of a person, with the singer (usually Stuart Murdoch) acting as a kind of third person narrator. The characters captured by B&S are believable, real people. Which really was what the twee pop rebellion was about. Ordinary people, not glam rockers or pop starlets.
Shit, that’s 8. Two more things to say, but I could list heaps more.
-The intro to Step in to my Office Baby. With big brass, deep bass and a pulsing beat. "We need to talk, step in to my office baby, wanna give you the job, the chance of all the time, say my place at 9". A song about a dirty boss scamming on his employee. Hot.
-Judy and the Dream of Horses. A sweet song indeed. "Judy wrote the saddest song, she showed it to a boy in school today. Judy, where did you go wrong? You used to make me smile when I was down…" "The best looking boys are taken, the best looking boys are staying inside."
So much more that I love. And my fav B&S songs change all the time. But I had been on a Camera Obscura trip for a few weeks, and stuck If You’re Feeling Sinister back in my CD player on Monday and have been remembering all the love I have for B&S.
End of self indulgent band rave.