“Hello, I’m a teenager.” 5 records to help you survive adolescence. #3

“Hello, I’m a teenager. Despite the fact that I’m comparatively very lucky for a person my age, I still get a crushing sense of loneliness and that even I don’t understand me at the best of times.”
Belle and Sebastian – If You’re Feeling Sinister
My main gripe with Glee is that everyone in it is far too good looking and obsessive over pop culture. I was never good looking at school; hell, I still look like a pink carrier bag full of mashed potato and vinegar. When someone called me “man-tits”, “pigeon” (I had a weird head-nodding walk, I’ll have you know) or even the old classic “twat-features”, I didn’t look just above the cameras and break into ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, I waited till I was out of the grounds before taking out my old mp3 player – which I wasn’t allowed to have in school – and played Belle and Sebastian. ‘If You’re Feeling Sinister’ does a nice concise job at, not only encapsulating the drudging experience of being a teenager combined with all the hopes and fears that the future brings, but also makes dwelling on them feel liberating, even uplifting. This is witty, wry, literate chamber pop that uses guitars only as a part of a varied ensemble alongside trumpets, pianos and the occasional cello. It’s one of the few albums where I can’t name favourite tracks. The quality is consistent throughout. Stuart Murdoch writes great songs and the band do a brilliant job at letting them breathe. The lyrics are just as good as the music firing off subjects like the anticipation of failed relationships (‘Seeing Other People’ with the quote-ready line “You’re gonna have to go with girls, at least you know where to put it”), inter-generational barriers (‘Me and the Major’) and the popular kids at school for whom you’re torn between admiration and loathing (‘Stars of Track and Field’) and that’s just the first three tracks. It’s a surefire indie classic – still charming and loveable, not to mention relevant, as it was 15 years ago. As Murdoch sings in ‘Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying’: “Nobody writes ’em like they used to, so it may as well be me.” That line might be a bit cocky if it wasn’t right.
Listen to: Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying

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