Song of the Day #3,990: ‘Chickfactor’ – Belle and Sebastian

[NOTE: I lost track of my dates and initially thought the 7th fell on a Saturday, so I wrote this post for Random Weekends. Rather than redo everything, I’m going to run this weekend’s posts today and tomorrow and post my final 2001 Decades album on Sunday.]

Happy birthday to frequent commenter Dana! Let’s spin the wheel and see what the Random iTunes Fairy has served up in celebration of your day.

And… it’s ‘Chickfactor’ from Belle and Sebastian’s 1998 album The Boy with the Arab Strap.

OK, I’m not seeing any connection between this selection and Dana, but it is an excellent song, so that’s a relief.

Chickfactor is an indie music magazine that started publishing the early 90s (and still publishes today, sporadically, both online and in print). They were hyping bands like Belle and Sebastian long before the mainstream press got the message.

This song chronicles a trip by B&S member Stevie Jackson to a disorienting New York. He is interviewed for the titular magazine (“What’s the worst job you’ve had? / What do you read?”) and finds himself surrounded by alluring and available women. Meanwhile, he has left his girlfriend behind on the other side of the ocean and wonders what their reunion will be like when he returns “from outer space.”

It’s a simple but poignant premise, and a lovely melody. A top-notch track to mark the birthday of a top-notch guy.

What was it I saw in New York?
I’m not the same anymore
How will I hide these feelings inside
Call my girl on the phone
Neon lights shine bright
Taxi cabs glide by
Aeroplanes they fly, high up in the sky
Pretty girl says “Hi”

What’s the worst job you’ve had?
What do you read?
What’s driving you mad?”

Met the cigarette girl
Took a note of her charms, but no cigar
Met the Indie-Cool Queen
Took me out of the bar and showed me the scene

My little girl I can’t find
She’s five hours behind
The singer not the song
“Something’s gone wrong”
Said the spider to the fly
Do I like this girl?
It’s such a big world
I like the tone of her voice
I loved the sound of her voice

When I get back to London from outer space
Will it fall into place?
I’ll hold onto my smile
Find my girl in a while
Look myself in the face
Don’t know what you see
Am I playing in your movie?
You’re in my magazine
Are you talking to me?
Chickfactor

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,990: ‘Chickfactor’ – Belle and Sebastian

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Aw, thank you, Clay! This is a lovely birthday present from the Random ITunes Fairy.

    Now, if the song had been called “Chickmagnet,” it would have been right on point. Am I right ladies?😀

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