Sunday, 1 July 2007

You go disco, and I'll go my way

I'm a late convert to Belle and Sebastian; the first album I bought of theirs was "Dear Catastrophe Waitress" in 2003, after hearing "I'm A Cuckoo" and seeing the CD going cheap. I knew of them, that there weren't just 2 people in the band, and that they had a song called "The Boy With The Arab Strap", but that was it. DCW is a great album- especially "I'm A Cuckoo", "You Don't Send Me", "If She Wants Me" and "Stay Loose"- but after buying the rest of B&S's catalogue, it's not my favourite. That would either be their debut, Tigermilk, or their compilation of E.P.s, "Push Barman To Open Old Wounds". Since I mostly listen to music in shuffle mode in mp3 form, I really have favourite B&S songs. "Electronic Renaissance" (mp3) is from "Tigermilk", but totally unrepresentative of the album. It's the most electronic (unsurprisingly) song the band have ever recorded, and one of their best. It is as beautiful as the rest of the album, but in a different way. I'll admit it took me a while to listen past the 20second mark, but once the drums kick in from 1:15-1:20, the song becomes suddenly brilliant.

A more traditional B&S song is"This Is Just A Modern Rock Song" (mp3) from the 1998 E.P. of the same name. Again, I didn't get into this immediately- you have to listen past the low-key beginning, then suddenly a gorgeous instrumental section kicks in, shunting the song out of "good" into "amazing", making you listen closer to the lyrics and the tone of the vocals, and at least for me, making you realise how beautiful the song is.

Not knowing the backstory to most of B&S's songs when I first listened, my mind created my own scenarios behind each song, so it's possible that the songs which move me aren't meant to be moving at all. However, TIJAMRS takes me somewhere few other songs do. There is at least one other B&S song which affects me similarly, but for different reasons: more about that some other time.

Official B&S website (link)

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