I was going to write that I consider this one of their top three albums but when I checked their discography to be sure, I realized I might have to amend that to one of their top five. Maybe six. And they’ve released only nine full-length albums. The moral being that God damn, Belle & Sebastian are a great band and I should dive back into their catalog soon instead of trying to understand what critics liked about the Cardi B album.
The lead-off track of Belle & Sebastian’s 1998 album The Boy With the Arab Strap, ‘It Could Have Been a Brilliant Career’ is a classic example of the band’s early style. I’ll stack the music on B&S’s first three albums against pretty much anything ever.
Nobody does acoustic melancholy like the Scottish septet. They later expanded their sound, branching into pop and even dance music quite successfully, but for me this will always be the quintessential Belle & Sebastian sound.
The title track from Belle & Sebastian’s third studio album, 1998’s The Boy With the Arab Strap, is a quintessential B&S song. It’s delicate, quietly rollicking, precious but snarky, unmistakably the work of this wonderful, improbable band.
Lead singer/songwriter Stuart Murdoch took the “Arab Strap” reference in this song from a Scottish band of the same name. He didn’t realize it referred to a device used by men to maintain erections.