January 18th, 2013 12:59pm

All The Trouble Kept Her Inside

Belle & Sebastian “The Blues Are Still Blue”

On a purely melodic level, this is one of the most pleasurable songs I’ve ever encountered. There are runs of notes and phrasing in this, like the “you can put some money on it, you can place a little bet” turn, that just light up my brain with immediate joy. It goes beyond just “oh I like this,” it’s some kind of spontaneous brain chemistry thing. In a catalog full of brilliant melodies and remarkable formal skill, this stands out as one of Stuart Murdoch’s finest compositions – elegantly crafted, but intuitive in its hooks to the point that it may feel a little “dumb.” The lyrics are pretty silly too, which I imagine was either intentional, or Murdoch just surrendering to the tone of the music. There’s just no point in forcing melancholy into something so bright and relaxed.

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Belle & Sebastian “The Rollercoaster Ride”

I have known this song for nearly 15 years now and only just recently occurred to me that there is a huge irony in using “the rollercoaster ride” as the refrain and title of this song. The mood is still and gentle, it sounds like a slow rainy day and that’s before you notice the lyrics about the rain. It’s a song about misfit introverts who’d rather stay in; the image of the rollercoaster represents all that makes them uncomfortable in the outside world. Murdoch’s empathy runs so strong in this song, the verses sketch out personalities and predicaments, and the music feels like a big kind hug for each of the subjects.

Buy it from Amazon.

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