This weekend I found myself trying to explain what it is about Belle & Sebastian that I just don't get. I couldn't. Generally, I just find a lot of their songs hard to connect with. I don't know if it's the songs, the production or just Stuart Murdoch's voice being too much. I can't pin it down to one thing.
Having said that, for a few months now I've really liked 'The State I Am In' and also 'Get Me Away From Here I'm Dying'. Just as I'm not sure what put me off their other songs, I don't know why these two seemed so great, especially since I guess they're supposed to be pretty typical Stuart Murdoch songs, as far as he does typical (even with my limited B&S knowledge I'm aware that they've progressed a bit in recent years).
Anyway, this weekend I found Tigermilk on vinyl in Out Of Time Records, and had to buy it (1999 version, of course). Partly this is just because I'm really shit with money, but it's also because I love 'The State I Am In' and I love the story behind Tigermilk and I really wanted to like the album. Also, have you seen the liner notes? They're way cute.
Anyway, I carried it home with a lot of other things that I'm wasting my life's savings on (I can't actually remember what else I bought... OH YEAH, some shitty werewolf romcom, some chocolates and Animal Farm for a friend's birthday, a Christopher Marlowe book from Oxfam...) and... I'm going to confess here that I didn't listen to it on my record player. I don't just want to own it, I will listen to it on my record player... but for now I just found myself suddenly listening to it in itunes after telling people that I thought that Camera Obscura were the far superior band (to be honest I actually think there's little point in comparing the two, but that's a less fun discussion for a different time).
There's something about Tigermilk. I don't know exactly what - I think it might be rhythm, it might be production, it's something to do with the songs. They stick with me like precious few others by the band do. Essentially, the horrible truth is that most B&S songs are unmemorable for me, I can't hum them or even remember a single lyric of snatch of melody once they're done. I'm not even compelled to listen again. Tigermilk is different.
There's something about the album, in the lyrics that move from "you've got permission, but you've got to make the bastard think he's right" to "the first cup of coffee tastes like washing up" and "I've never done this kind of thing / but if I kill him now, who's going to miss him?", in the melodies and then even in Stuart Murdoch's voice that just really hits me in a way that only a handful of their other songs do.
This isn't me trying to be like "I ONLY LIKE THEIR EARLY STUFF", although I guess it probably seems like that. Part of what attracted to me to Tigermilk in the first place was, as I've said, the story behind it, but if it didn't have the songs to back it up I wouldn't be writing this. I tried listening to Sinister all the way through earlier and nothing really jumped out at me as much. Dear Catastrophe Waitress is the other one that I find myself liking multiple songs from, actually, but even that is largely unmemorable for me in places.
Anyone want to recommend me the catchiest or most memorable non-Tigermilk songs by B&S then? I feel like I'm missing out.
Then again, maybe I just don't like B&S as much as other people do and that won't change. I'm cool with that, I guess. There are some people that don't love Los Campesinos! as much as I do. I may think they're crazy, but...
Anyway, all of this is sort of detracting from the main point of this post. TIGERMILK IS AMAZING.