Song of the Day #1,373: ‘Like Dylan in the Movies’ – Belle & Sebastian

Best Albums of the 90s – #5
If You’re Feeling Sinister – Belle & Sebastian (1996)

Another sophomore album, Belle & Sebastian’s If You’re Feeling Sinister was also my first introduction to a band that would become one of my very favorites.

This record served as many people’s first impression of the group, as their debut album, Tigermilk, was not widely available for years after its release. Only when it was re-released on CD following the (relative) success of Sinister did casual fans get to hear it for the first time.

Belle & Sebastian, especially on their early albums, embody a particular sound and sensibility that I suspect listeners either fall in love with or dislike instantly. Over time they have introduced more textures and tempos to their sound — with mostly excellent results — but on this album they tapped into a melancholy acoustic vibe that I absolutely adore.

Lead singer/songwriter Stuart Murdoch’s sweetly modest vocals pair up perfectly with his gorgeous melodies. For the longest time, the band eschewed any promotional photos or media appearances and it was easy to believe that they didn’t exist outside of my head… as if Murdoch were a little man who sang with his little voice while perched inside my brain, plucking on my emotional strings right at the source.

They’ve become a more traditional act since then, both in sound and behavior, but I’ll never shake the early connection I forged with them while listening to this album and feeling like I’d discovered the most wonderful secret in the world.

Lisa’s kissing men like a long walk home
When the music stops
Take a tip from me, don’t go through the park
When you’re on your own, it’s a long walk home

If they follow you
Don’t look back
Like Dylan in the movies
On your own
If they follow you
It’s not your money that they’re after boy it’s you

Pure easy listening, settle down
On the pillow soft when they’ve all gone home
You can concentrate on the ones you love
You can concentrate, hey, now they’ve gone

If they follow you
Don’t look back
Like Dylan in the movies
On your own
If they follow you
It’s not your money that they’re after boy it’s you

Yeah you’re worth the trouble and you’re worth the pain\
And you’re worth the worry, I would do the same
If we all went back to another time
I will love you over
I will love you

If they follow you
Don’t look back
Like Dylan in the movies
On your own
If they follow you
Tenderly you turn the light off in your room

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,373: ‘Like Dylan in the Movies’ – Belle & Sebastian

  1. Amy says:

    That is one odd image of a man plucking emotional strings in your brain. Hmmm…. What I remeber about this group is that a bright, quiet student loved them (back in ’96ish) and I thought it was an intriguing band for a teenage boy to adopt as his own. Guess the little guy was splitting time between your brain and his. I have never fallen into either camp; I can see what’s appealing about this sound, but it never captured me so fully that I wanted to listen to more than what popped up on a mix tape or something.

  2. Dana says:

    I’ve always liked what I have heard from B&S, though, like, Amy, it has never grabbed me enough to dive into exploring whole albums of their work.

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