Monday, December 3, 2007

The State That I Am In :: Belle and Sebastian

If you know me, you will know that I am a FREAK for Belle and Sebastian. Seriously. The way I feel about B and S is the way that a lot of people feel for the Beatles or the Rolling Stones or the Grateful Dead. When they go on tour (which is not super often, though I have had the privilege of seeing them live twice), I continually fantasize about leaving my job and following them all over North America.

In my fantasy, they would notice me in the audience and pull me out of the crowd. They would take me back to Scotland and I would live with Stuart Murdoch in an old abandoned church.

Speaking of Stuart, he gets me all kinds of hot and bothered:

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I can't really pick out a favorite song of Belle and Sebastian, though I've always been fond of "The State That I Am In." It's off of "Tigermilk," which was really early on in their recordings. What really makes their songs great is the lyrics. This song sums up a lot of themes that run through Belle and Sebastian songs: ambiguous sexuality, unrequited love, losing oneself, redemption through personal growth or higher power, and a general sense of being ok even in the midst of confusion.

My favorite lines:

The priest in the booth had a photographic memory
For all he had heard
He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called
The state I am in
So I gave myself to god
There was a pregnant pause before he said ok


Imagine me singing along (the harmony part).

The audio starts a little soft, but then gets better:



I was surprised, I was happy for a day in 1975
I was puzzled by a dream, stayed with me all day in 1995
My brother had confessed that he was gay
It took the heat off me for a while
He stood up with a sailor friend
Made it known upon my sisters wedding day

I got married in a rush to save a kid from being deported
Now shes in love
I was so touched, I was moved to kick the crutches
From my crippled friend
She was not impressed that I cured her on the sabbath
So I went to confess
When she saw the funny side, we introduced my child bride
To whisky and gin

The priest in the booth had a photographic memory
For all he had heard
He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called
The state I am in
So I gave myself to god
There was a pregnant pause before he said ok
Now I spend my day turning tables round in marks & spencers
They dont seem to mind

I gave myself to sin
I gave myself to providence
And Ive been there and back again
The state that I am in

Oh love of mine, would you condescend to help me
Cause Im stupid and blind
Desperation is the devils work, it is the folly of a boys empty mind
Now Im feeling dangerous, riding on city buses for a hobby is sad
Lead me to a living end
I promised that Id entertain my crippled friend
My crippled friend

2 comments:

Chester Copperpot said...

Listened to that one this morning! My girlfriend introduced this band to me (probably not an uncommon occurrance) and I love them dearly. Witty and poignant, they also often do one of my favorite musical tricks: sad or introspective songs with happy or jaunty music.

Quaking Aspen said...

Yes! Good point. That's another reason I love them- the music may be super-peppy but when you listen to the lyrics it's all about heartbreak, missed connections and despair.