Words and Music by Saint Etienne

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Found this link http://brightonmusicblog.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/words-music-by-saint-etienne-conversation-by-pete-wiggs/ seemingly there's a 3 disc 'super deluxe' edition! Haven't saw any mention of this before.

fun loving and xtremely tolrant (Billy Dods), Monday, 30 April 2012 14:16 (five years ago) Permalink

...Popular is genuinely funny. It flips the old pop narrative of knowing an amazing secret club where the cool cats hang out: here, the club is an internet messageboard populated by people who want to discuss Pussycat's 1976 No 1 Mississippi in depth. It's less The In Crowd than that episode of The IT Crowd where Moss joins a society of exceptional Countdown contestants.


mike t-diva, Friday, 11 May 2012 14:24 (five years ago) Permalink

"Tonight" is one of the year's best, a wonderful driving-down-the-interstate track.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 11 May 2012 14:25 (five years ago) Permalink

Petridish xpost: no it isn't.

But the song does mention "Baby Jump."

Here he is with the classic "Poème Électronique." Good track (Marcello Carlin), Friday, 11 May 2012 14:59 (five years ago) Permalink

Saint Etienne were probably the last band I actually "collected" (ie. bought the various cd singles as well as the albums). Reading the first two thirds of the Petridish review made me feel vaguely hopeful for the album, the last third didn't. Not that I've ever taken notice of one of his reviews before.

djh, Friday, 11 May 2012 22:13 (five years ago) Permalink

I'm probably not the only one who is more interested in hearing the bonus disc(s) rather than the album proper.

everything, Friday, 11 May 2012 22:42 (five years ago) Permalink

Ooh, tempted. But £36 is too much for me. Would be keen to have the map though.

fun loving and xtremely tolrant (Billy Dods), Tuesday, 15 May 2012 21:10 (five years ago) Permalink

Not yet played disc two but so far I think my favourite thing about the release is Pete Wiggs' beard on the inner sleeve.

djh, Monday, 21 May 2012 18:00 (five years ago) Permalink

Emails went out for digital versions for those who bought the box set, so the third disc should show up online before too long. Going to listen when I get home!

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Monday, 21 May 2012 18:35 (five years ago) Permalink

This album is pretty great. "DJ" and "Over The Border" are the standout tracks for me. Coincidentally, they remind me of "Action" and "Finisterre" (the song) respectively, only much better.

daavid, Tuesday, 22 May 2012 07:09 (five years ago) Permalink

Yeah this is really great return. Over The Border is just a perfect opener but I think it's the last four songs that really make the album. Need a bit more time to let the rest of the album sink in.

I'm surprised that I'm finding the latest single to be the weakest song.

Kitchen Person, Tuesday, 22 May 2012 16:35 (five years ago) Permalink

Liking it but not loving it atm. "Over the Border" is all a bit too much jumpers for goalposts, no?

DavidM, Tuesday, 22 May 2012 17:59 (five years ago) Permalink

Over The Border is similar in feel to Teenage Winter but the lyrics aren't quite as clever. It's still a great song and as someone who loves New Order, Dexys and anything on Postcard I can't help but be moved by it.

Kitchen Person, Tuesday, 22 May 2012 18:10 (five years ago) Permalink

A lot of it seems leaden and heavy-handed, to me.

djh, Tuesday, 22 May 2012 22:53 (five years ago) Permalink

yeah, sigh. picks up near the end, dj is nearly great. over the border as a better finnisterre is offtm tho

johnny crunch, Wednesday, 23 May 2012 01:28 (five years ago) Permalink

Map for sale separately here:

Jeff W, Wednesday, 23 May 2012 17:34 (five years ago) Permalink

Actually that might be a different one - same idea though

Jeff W, Wednesday, 23 May 2012 17:39 (five years ago) Permalink

There is something profoundly weird about hearing a band with actual profile singing a song about your friends that goes to the extent of actually naming them.

Homosexual Satan Wasp (Matt DC), Wednesday, 23 May 2012 18:51 (five years ago) Permalink

The remix of DJ on the bonus disc is much better than the regular version. It sounds like real club music for starters. Or it somehow recreates the effect of a loud club in a way that is quite fun. The regular version is weirdly flat and quite boring to me. It's trying to be pop but it's like they haven't listened to what's in the charts these days. In the remix Sarah's voice is relegated to being more of a sound effect or just part of the mix, rather than leading the track. It's a good, druggy number.

I've only listened once straight through but overall I dislike the vibe of this album. It's partly because lots of it seems like an eternal re-write of Mario's Cafe or Mr Donut except the playfulness of those tracks has been stripped (or sounds forced) and everything is happening in the wistful past tense. Over The Border is embarrasing. Then there is so little of the diversity that made their earlier albums so interesting. Whither the likes of Railway Jam, Cool Kids of Death, Urban Clearway, etc? It's just song, song, song, song. Too much Cracknell.

Round about Good Humor they started segregating their more interesting material onto eps, remixes or special release albums, using the "real" albums for their most formal and carefully curated songwriting. Combined with the fact that they are apparently running out of things to say, their "real" albums have now become quite boring as a result.

everything, Wednesday, 23 May 2012 19:16 (five years ago) Permalink

The second disc is really quite enjoyable though. Pretty much no duds.

everything, Wednesday, 23 May 2012 19:17 (five years ago) Permalink

There is something profoundly weird about hearing a band with actual profile singing a song about your friends that goes to the extent of actually naming them.

i can't work out whether that's my favourite song on the album because of that or because it's the best song

kanye kardashian (lex pretend), Wednesday, 23 May 2012 20:27 (five years ago) Permalink

everything OTM - this is leaving me super cold and I quit listening after four or five tracks. A bummer.

mikebee (BATTAGS), Wednesday, 23 May 2012 21:55 (five years ago) Permalink

This album reminds me of Madonna

a parker full of poseys (Stevie D(eux)), Thursday, 24 May 2012 01:30 (five years ago) Permalink

But not of MDNA I hope (haven't listened yet)

Look at how funky he is! (jer.fairall), Thursday, 24 May 2012 01:45 (five years ago) Permalink

everything sorta OTM but still wrong. "DJ" is pop. It just doesn't sound like current chart-friendly pop. And why should it?

Re "Over The Border," I agree that the whole wistful nostalgia is by now a St Etienne cliche and starting to get a bit tedious. But in a song so good and beautifully crafted, I think they can be forgiven for it.

To me WAM is Saint Etienne leaving behind their "quirky" side a bit. I miss that side too, but I've always felt that sometimes it gets on the way. Sometimes. They are so, so great at straightforward pop that I don't see any problem with them doing an that an album of just that.

daavid, Thursday, 24 May 2012 02:30 (five years ago) Permalink

Finisterre aside, I haven't immediately taken to a Saint Etienne album on the first few listens since So Tough, so I'm not going to write this off yet. In fact, walking to work yesterday I had Last Days of Disco going round in my head quite a bit, so it is starting to grow on me I think.

DavidM, Thursday, 24 May 2012 07:02 (five years ago) Permalink

I haven't really given the main album a fair shake yet but I can't see me warming to it too much because of Sarah being smeared over everything so much. And the overall sepia-tinge in the album to be claustrophobic. Even a song called "Tonight" seems to be somehow set in the distant past. And they are trying to do a concept album but they forgot one of the rules of concept albums, which is that when you have a pompous spoken word bit like in Over The Border, the LAST thing you do is get the lead singer to read it. Obviously you get in a well-known actor or comedian such as Ewen MacGregor or David Mitchell to read it. The chorus bit is fine as it is though the wistfulness is terrific.

The second disc is really kicking my ass though. Especially the first three tracks which make me think how cool it would've been if they had the balls to make this the album proper.

everything, Thursday, 24 May 2012 07:24 (five years ago) Permalink

"real dance music"?

Here he is with the classic "Poème Électronique." Good track (Marcello Carlin), Thursday, 24 May 2012 10:22 (five years ago) Permalink

Some minor quibbles with “Over The Border”:

“Peter Gabriel. Peter Gabriel from Genesis.” To avoid confusion with all those other Peter Gabriels.

About listening to the charts: “Tuesday afternoon, 12:45, Saturday evening, 5:00.” Um, SATURDAY? Unless they’re alluding to the football results.

Here he is with the classic "Poème Électronique." Good track (Marcello Carlin), Thursday, 24 May 2012 11:16 (five years ago) Permalink

Actually, they probably are, there.

Mark G, Thursday, 24 May 2012 11:21 (five years ago) Permalink

Love that Beat Connection dropped the 'would you go to sleep with a fella' sample at the end of their remix on disc 2. Overall I really enjoyed the album but definitely prefer disc 2. Absolutely agree with the 'too much Sarah' criticism. I thought it was the way her voice was mixed but maybe it's just too much of her singing everywhere.

I think St. Etienne lost it with Good Humor. Tiger Bay is the last album of theirs I really loved yet I buy them all and then re-buy them in deluxe editions and box sets. Part of what I love about them is their references. They name some music I love and they name some music i've never heard of but can't wait to hear. This started way back with the booklet to Foxbase Alpha and continues to this day. I'd love to go record shopping with Bob and Pete.

brotherlovesdub, Thursday, 24 May 2012 14:28 (five years ago) Permalink

But there is a world of difference between using your influences to inform your music, whilst somehow exposing them to any listeners who are clued-in enough to notice, compared with just cropping up in the middle of a quite boring techno-lounge track and saying "I always really liked Marc Bolan". We already know that they like Marc Bolan. They covered one of his songs about 15 years ago, around the same time as recording an icy T-Rex pastiche called "Star". And Bob as blogged about Marc Bolan, which is another thing: the song lacks verisimiltude as it's presented as Sarah's story, yet anyone who knows anything about them will have no doubt that this is Bob and/or Pete's experiences. And I think the "Saturday evening" thing is a mistake - there's nothing in this song except wistful musical memories.

everything, Thursday, 24 May 2012 17:23 (five years ago) Permalink

"Peter Gabriel from Genesis" is to distinguish from Peter Gabriel the guy that did Sledgehammer. ie. it's 1974, not 1984.

everything, Thursday, 24 May 2012 17:43 (five years ago) Permalink

So they are not allowed to have Mark Bolan as an influence and at the same time explicitly state it in a song?

daavid, Thursday, 24 May 2012 18:01 (five years ago) Permalink

if they lost it w/ good humor, id implore every other band to lose it in a similar fashion

johnny crunch, Thursday, 24 May 2012 18:11 (five years ago) Permalink

They already acknowledged Bolan as an influence by recording "Is It True?" and "Star". They didn't have to explicitly state it. Just like they didn't write a song that goes "Oooooo I really like the Beach Boys la la la la la/and you should check out the TV Personalities". That info is hardwired into their oeuvre but they are not what the songs are about.

everything, Thursday, 24 May 2012 18:15 (five years ago) Permalink

'good humor' is the shit imo

omar little, Thursday, 24 May 2012 18:23 (five years ago) Permalink

that was my entry point to st et. maybe if i'd followed them from the debut i'd be disappointed by it but idts

omar little, Thursday, 24 May 2012 18:25 (five years ago) Permalink

Good Humour is my least favourite St. Etienne album. The songs are fine but I can't stand the production. Loved those Trousers Enthusiast mixes of "Sylvie" and "Loose That Girl" tho. Also "Lover Plays the Bass"

daavid, Thursday, 24 May 2012 18:59 (five years ago) Permalink

To me, their masterpiece is still "So Tough".

daavid, Thursday, 24 May 2012 19:00 (five years ago) Permalink

So Tough is the masterpiece.

brotherlovesdub, Thursday, 24 May 2012 20:33 (five years ago) Permalink

I've really tried to love other SE albums as much as So Tough but none comes remotely close. As a singles band they are top notch though – certainly better than their Brit peers of the nineties.

go down on you in a thyatrr (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 24 May 2012 20:34 (five years ago) Permalink

The more I listen to this album the more it just sounds like generic American pop music or Kylie Minogue or something. It sounds totally unremarkable (though tbf I've heard v little Kylie and she might not be unremarkable and sorry if I called her that)

a parker full of poseys (Stevie D(eux)), Tuesday, 29 May 2012 23:03 (five years ago) Permalink

I'm a little afraid to listen to it. It's been in the house two days and, of course, I will listen to it. Some of the reviews though...

Never heard Finnisterre, I realised a few days ago - so I got that also. Gonna spin them both out tomorrow and through the Bank Holiday Weekend together a fair bit I think. See how they work together. (I adore everything else - almost esp. the post "hits" stuff: Good Humor / Sounds / Tales records. So we'll see.

kraudive, Tuesday, 29 May 2012 23:13 (five years ago) Permalink

Stevie I'm actually shocked you're not a huge Kylie fan!

I DIED, Tuesday, 29 May 2012 23:21 (five years ago) Permalink

I really love "Come Into My World" but I"ve never really taken the initiative to listen to her other stuff, though a few weeks ago I was going through my record collection and found this:


a parker full of poseys (Stevie D(eux)), Wednesday, 30 May 2012 16:40 (five years ago) Permalink

kylie has many amazing singles but whenever people try to make the case for *her* being interesting i get confused - the minute the songcraft dips below gold standard she sinks and can't salvage it through force of personality

kanye kardashian (lex pretend), Wednesday, 30 May 2012 16:46 (five years ago) Permalink

^^ ^^
^^ ^^
Lucky boy! That means "Turn It into Love" is within your reach. Don't miss out!

breastcrawl, Wednesday, 30 May 2012 16:49 (five years ago) Permalink

Some of the reviews though...

I did notice that it only got 1 out of 5 on FACT

You can do it Sun Myung Moon (NickB), Wednesday, 30 May 2012 16:50 (five years ago) Permalink

I like it a lot too. Its similar to their old stuff both in sound and "spirit" i think, and sort of stands out bc the vibe is very 90s. Great band.

Treeship, Tuesday, 28 May 2013 01:25 (four years ago) Permalink

X months later and this album makes me so happy. Much better than I initially thought.

brotherlovesdub, Tuesday, 28 May 2013 01:33 (four years ago) Permalink

This album could practically be an ilxor (of a certain age and place). And "Answer Song" is gigantic.

bentelec, Tuesday, 28 May 2013 02:00 (four years ago) Permalink


Mark G, Tuesday, 28 May 2013 08:56 (four years ago) Permalink

Damn i wish i put this on my iphone now. I want to hear it again.

Treeship, Tuesday, 28 May 2013 12:41 (four years ago) Permalink

After sitting with this for a while, it's not as good as I first thought. There's a few very strong songs (Tonight, When I Was 17) and several similar tracks that don't hit the same peaks. Also I don't usually complain about Autotune but it bothered me on this album - one thing I always loved about Sarah's voice was that bit of vulnerability when she wouldn't hit pitches perfectly, and I feel like it got Autotuned out? Not sure I would care if I wasn't so familiar with her voice from the pre-Autotune era.

Vinnie, Tuesday, 28 May 2013 13:39 (four years ago) Permalink

Never got into this. Usually love Saint Etienne.

djh, Tuesday, 28 May 2013 18:11 (four years ago) Permalink

Ditto. The bonus disc is everything I want from a Saint Etienne album and I think as a stand-alone album it would be up there with any of their best if you made a couple of minor changes here and there. But I can't even listen to the main disc all the way through - it leaves me feeling queazy. Hate all that record store/vinyl fetish/I heart the 70s subject matter and Crackers' delivery and the way her voice is recorded is a major turn off. There are some nice musical bits but also lots of annoying sections. I think it's pretty poor overall.

everything, Tuesday, 28 May 2013 19:19 (four years ago) Permalink

Been out of the loop for a while but I really liked this and dig the new Suede album as well./jackie_harvey

Oulipo Traces (on a Cigarette) (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 30 May 2013 05:12 (four years ago) Permalink

Yeah I still love this. I don't rate it quite as highly as Turnpike House but it's up there. (Suede album is also great)

Kitchen Person, Thursday, 30 May 2013 05:15 (four years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

this album is so beautiful

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 5 March 2016 20:50 (one year ago) Permalink


johnny crunch, Saturday, 5 March 2016 21:14 (one year ago) Permalink

one year passes...

this album rules and i find most of the discussion of it itt extremely confusing

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Monday, 17 April 2017 17:55 (nine months ago) Permalink

I relistened to this this weekend bcz of you and v much enjoyed it, so thank you

Fluffy Saint-Bernard (Stevie D(eux)), Monday, 17 April 2017 18:09 (nine months ago) Permalink

the more I think about it ,the more I feel W&M might actually be my favorite Saint Etienne album.

KevRus, Wednesday, 19 April 2017 00:43 (nine months ago) Permalink

i was otm in this thread

nomar, Wednesday, 19 April 2017 01:42 (nine months ago) Permalink

often "DJ" is my favorite track ever recorded by anybody

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 19 April 2017 01:53 (nine months ago) Permalink

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