26 May 2012

Saint Etienne : Words and Music by Saint Etienne

Words and Music by Saint Etienne is Saint Etienne’s first new studio album for seven years.

The band describes the album's sound:
"The album refers to the 'strange magic' of pop. About the special alchemy that transforms even the most mundane of experiences – walking home with the headphones on at night, sitting in a bedroom with your friends in the day, getting ready to go out on the weekend – into a lingering moment of seamless enchantment, one that resonates for the rest of your life.

"It is about how music affects your life. How it defines the way you see the world as a child, how it can get you through bad times in unexpected ways, and how songs you’ve known all your life can suddenly develop a new attachment, and hurt every time you hear them. More than how it affects and reflects your life though, the album is about believing in music, living your life by its rules."

1. Over the Border
2. I’ve Got Your Music
3. Heading For the Fair
4. Last Days of Disco
5. Tonight
6. Answer Song
7. Record Doctor
8. Popular
9. 25 Years
10. DJ
11. When I Was Seventeen
12. I Threw it All Away
13. Haunted Jukebox

Here are my favourite tracks on the album...

Over the Border is such a beautiful spoken word, atmospheric piece, evocative of the power music can have in your life. Much of the album is very upbeat, with almost a '90s clubbing flavour. It's an album to listen to if you want to lighten your mood, put a smile on your face and some joie de vivre in your heart.

Heading for the Fair is another favourite of mine. The lyrics paint such a picture; this band really has a knack for making everyday situations seem magical.

I see them far away
There's so many lights
The colours and the voices drift my way
I see you once again
It's been a long long year
But I believe we haven't changed since then
I need to hold your hand
Then you spin me round again
The way you have so often in my dreams...

When I Was Seventeen "my heart and head were full of brilliant dreams"...ethereal, gliding tune to lift you up and float you away to a more innocent time...

The song I Threw It All Away is a haunting, melancholic, delicate piece about regret and lost love lingering.

Is there a part of you
Where did the whole thing go wrong
And is there a part of you
What if my reason to smile is gone right now?
I don't know what to say but I'm thinking ahead
Everything has to change
But it still feels like I threw it all away
And now I'm going to pay
Forever, whatever I do or say...

Are you missing me?
Does it come back to you late at night

Sarah Cracknell's voice has had a special effect on me since I first heard Saint Etienne's Sound of Water, their 2000 album, which I listened to each night when I went to sleep for around a year.  I had always appreciated their music, but that album was totally in sync with my emotions at the time and ingrained into my psyche.

This album has some precious moments; hidden amidst the light-hearted, danceable tunes is a treasure chest of emotion and heartbreaking beauty. This is another album of Saint Etienne's which will hold a special place in my music collection.

You can listen to the album in full here on the NPR Music website.
Find out more on Saint Etienne's website and follow them on Twitter.

Read Wiki for an historical overview of the band and for a list of their discography.

No comments: