Song of the Day #4,499: ‘Stay Loose’ – Belle and Sebastian

I’ve agonized over the order of my top three albums of 2003, because each of the albums is wonderful and fully worthy of the top spot. I guess that’s a good problem to have.

Belle and Sebastian’s sixth studio album, Dear Catastrophe Waitress, was a sonic departure from their lo-fi indie output. The band enlisted pop producer Trevor Horn, who gave a bright polish to the music and pushed the band into more upbeat, pop-rock territory.

Some traditional fans were taken aback by the shift, but I loved it. This record quickly emerged as one of my favorite B&S albums and kicked off a run of similarly adventurous material.

The Scottish mopers still managed to sneak in a couple of their signature sad ballads (‘Lord Anthony’ could have easily fit on their debut) but the songs that most excite me are the ones that experiment with non-traditional percussion and big band brass.

This album maintains the wit and sensitivity of the band’s best work but gives it a nifty makeover.

The shift might be best demonstrated by ‘Stay Loose,’ the album’s epic closing track. This New Wave throwback could have fit on an early Elvis Costello or Joe Jackson album.

I was choking on a cornflake
You said “Have some toast instead”
I was sleeping maybe three hours
You said “You should get to bed”
I was waiting at the church door
For the minister to show
I was looking at the new you
You said “Walk before you crawl”

I was feeling like a loser
You said “Hey, you’ve still got me”
I was feeling pretty lonely
You said “You wanted to be free”
I was looking for a good time
You said “Let the good times start”
With a quiver of your eyelid
You took on someone else’s part

But what about me
I don’t really see
How things will improve
If all you want is to stay-

Maybe I’m a little greedy
You said “Think before you speak”
Sometimes I’m a little seedy
You said “Everyone is weak”
Now I feel a little better
Is there something I can do?
But I never heard the answer
I never had a clue

But what about me
I don’t really see
How things will improve
If all you want is to stay-

The lights are out, in the house tonight
Gonna creep around;
Gonna creep into your hea-a-a-d
All you want is to stay loose

There’s a little echo calling
Like a miner trapped inside
If I tell her of this moment
She will in me doubt confide
And she’s on me like a blanket
Like a stalk of wilting grass
I’m not sure about her motive
I’m not sure about her past

But my faith is like a bullet
My belief is like a bolt
The only thing that lets me sleep at night
A little carriage of the soul
If it starts a little bleaker
Then the year may yet be gold
Happiness is not for keeping
Happiness is not my goal

So what about me
I don’t really see
How things will improve
All you want is to stay loose
Oh what about them
You play mother hen
To a gaggle of gangling youth
All you want is to stay –

The lights are out in the house tonight
Gonna creep around;
Gonna creep into your hea-a-ad
All you want is to stay

I was living through the seconds
My composure was a mess
I was miles from tenderness
It was dark outside, the day it was broken in pieces
Everything is flat and dreary
I couldn’t care what’s in the news
Television is the blues
Television is hysterical laughter of people

And I know it could be me
I’m always asking for more
(More) More (More) More
I keep running around in circles
I keep looking for a doorway
I’m going to need two lives
To follow the paths I’ve been taking

One thought on “Song of the Day #4,499: ‘Stay Loose’ – Belle and Sebastian

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Nice to hear another dimension to this band.

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