I Left My Lady At the Laund-er-ette!

The Life Pursuit by Belle and Sebastian

I've never been a Belle and Sebastian fan. Maybe I've been listening to the wrong albums, maybe I just haven't tried hard enough. For whatever reason, I vehemently hated Belle and Sebastian and kept off of all their music. So I was surprised to listen to it last night at 4 in the morning and find myself not only enjoying it but not really getting enough of it in the first four listens. 

Lacking the weight of six previous albums (and all the joys and disappointments that come along with long term relationships with bands), The Life Pursuit is the first real brush with Belle and Sebastian I've ever had.

The album is a lyric-lover's dream. The album opens with "Act of the Apostles Part I", sung from the perspective of a girl whose mother is ill, struggling to "make sense of it all" (while nine tracks later "Act of the Apostle Part II" continues the story, where the girl finds God in a transistor radio). Most songs on the album seem to narrate a story; "White Collar Boy" describes a white collar boy who stole and was caught. Forced to do community service, the boy meets a beautiful blue collar girl who tries to convince him to escape with her. In "Dress Up In You", again the song is sung from a girl's point of view, in which she addresses a past rival-turned star. "Sukie in the Graveyard" is a song of a rebellious girl who escapes to art school and poses nude. "Funny Little Frog"  features a man who is happily in love with a girl on a magazine, with clever lines like "I had a conversation with you at night/It was a little one-sided but that's alright".

Generally speaking, the album explores struggles with living and struggles with faith, though it never sinks into lugubrious or labored narratives. It's never quite certain if Sukie is thriving in the art school as a nude model, or if the girl in Act of the Apostles becoming the village joke in "For the Price of a Cup of Tea" is a good thing. Belle and Sebastian say it best with "The Blues Are Still Blues": though the way we interpret things can change, the things that make us sad, or make us struggle, always stays the same. The black will be white and the white will be black, but the blues are still blue.

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