[3] Belle & Sebastian, ‘Nobody’s Empire’


“How can this be so high when there have been so many great songs?” Junior isn’t happy. “It’s not as exciting. He doesn’t sound happy.”

Which says something about her criteria when judging pop songs, and pretty solid criteria they are too. Of course, Stuart Murdoch isn’t very happy, at least not to begin with, because ‘Nobody’s Empire’ tackles the ME that debilitated him in the 1990s and still rears up occasionally. But, with his favourite layering effects that lifted ‘The State I Am In’, ‘The Boy With The Arab Strap’ and ‘I’m A Cuckoo’ to the heavens, Murdoch eventually elevates this to something approaching ecstasy. A note of hope, certainly.

[12] Belle & Sebastian, ‘Dog On Wheels EP’

Tough to choose just one of Belle and Sebastian’s legendary EPs – tough to call them ‘legendary’, but we eschew understatement here – so ‘Dog On Wheels’ gets the nod for ‘The State I Am In’. I reckon the album version is better, so I played them back to back for Junior to judge. She disagreed with her dad, possibly not for the last time.

The rougher EP version had our baby Belle grinning and banging her hairbrush on the coffee table. Quite a raucous response to B&S, but then I’m not sure Junior’s going to be a twee, gingham-frocked, church hall sort of girl. She’s going to be a B-Girl, Acid Tess, Studio 54 rawk chick.

Speaking of the Mercury Prize (as I was in my head), how the hell did Belle and Sebastian’s fantastic The Life Pursuit not get a nod? Makes the whole thing look like a sideshow farce.