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Saint Etienne|Words And Music by Saint Etienne

Words And Music by Saint Etienne

Saint Etienne

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Saint Etienne's eighth record, Words and Music by Saint Etienne, is centered on a theme that has been part of their music since the group began. They've always been one of the most nostalgic groups around, draping themselves in the visuals, styles, and sounds of the past while still staying modern. They've rarely seemed to be touched by the past on a personal level, but now perhaps age and experience have given them a reason to look back at their own lives and do a bit of summing up. Fortunately, this bit of soul-searching self-awareness isn't delivered via somber, acoustic guitar-based navel-gazing; instead, it comes coated in disco synthesizers and a slickly done production job (by a team of the group, longtime associate Ian Catt, Richard X, and Xenomania's Tim Powell) that positions them firmly in the Pop (with a capital P) world. About half the record is drenched in nostalgia, vaguely melancholic and introspective. The first track, "Over the Border," wistfully talks about growing up, falling in love with music, and wondering if it will last; elsewhere, Sarah Cracknell sings about bad choices ("Twenty Five Years," "I Threw It All Away"), and on the atypically '80s rock-inspired "When I Was Seventeen," they make the nostalgic nature of the album very clear. The nuanced melodies, heartfelt lyrics, and Cracknell's tender vocals put these songs over splendidly and give the album a sturdy emotional core beneath the glitzy surface. The other half of the album is built on bouncing beats, glittering synths, and Cracknell's feather-light vocals, and is designed to be played over radio waves and in sweaty nightclubs. This half of the album speaks to the power of music to sweep you away, fill you with hope and love, and make everything all right. To that end, the group also succeeds and crafts some of its finest dancefloor-filling moments ever; Sarah Cracknell has never sounded better than on the flashy "The Last Days of Disco," "DJ" has a nice callback to the melody of "Like a Motorway," and "Haunted Jukebox" sports a mid-'60s soul groove and some lushly lovely backing vocals. Songs like these really do capture the transformative qualities the best music can have, just as the ballads on the album transmit all sorts of deeper feelings of loss and regret. These dual aspects of the record mesh perfectly, often on the same song, and Words and Music turns out to be one of the band's most enriching albums, both musically and emotionally.
© Tim Sendra /TiVo

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Words And Music by Saint Etienne

Saint Etienne

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1
Over The Border
00:05:05

Sarah Cracknell, Composer - Pete Hoffman, MixingEngineer - Saint Etienne, MainArtist - Bob Stanley, Composer - Pete Wiggs, Composer - Ian Catt, Producer

2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS] 2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS]

2
I've Got Your Music
00:03:46

Tim Powell, Composer, Producer - Sarah Cracknell, Composer - Pete Hoffman, MixingEngineer - Saint Etienne, MainArtist - Bob Stanley, Composer - Pete Wiggs, Composer - Ricahrd X, Producer, MixingEngineer

2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS] 2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS]

3
Heading For The Fair
00:03:45

Sarah Cracknell, Composer - Pete Hoffman, MixingEngineer - Saint Etienne, MainArtist - Tim Larcombe, Composer, Producer - Bob Stanley, Composer - Pete Wiggs, Composer - Ian Catt, Producer

2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS] 2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS]

4
Last Days Of Disco
00:03:37

Nick Coler, Composer, Producer, MixingEngineer - Sarah Cracknell, Composer - Saint Etienne, MainArtist - Rob Davis, Composer - Tim Larcombe, Composer - Bob Stanley, Composer - Pete Wiggs, Composer

2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS] 2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS]

5
Tonight
00:04:37

Tim Powell, Composer, Producer - Sarah Cracknell, Composer - Pete Hoffman, MixingEngineer - Saint Etienne, MainArtist - Bob Stanley, Composer - Pete Wiggs, Composer - Ricahrd X, Producer, MixingEngineer

2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS] 2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS]

6
Answer Song
00:03:25

Nick Coler, Producer, MixingEngineer - Sarah Cracknell, Composer - Saint Etienne, MainArtist - Bob Stanley, Composer - Pete Wiggs, Composer - Ian Catt, Producer

2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS] 2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS]

7
Record Doctor
00:00:53

Sarah Cracknell, Composer - Saint Etienne, MainArtist - Bob Stanley, Composer - Pete Wiggs, Composer - Ian Catt, Producer

2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS] 2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS]

8
Popular
00:03:23

Sarah Cracknell, Composer - Saint Etienne, MainArtist - Rob Davis, Composer, Producer, MixingEngineer - Bob Stanley, Composer - Pete Wiggs, Composer - Merissa Porter, Composer

2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS] 2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS]

9
Twenty Five Years
00:03:40

Nick Coler, Composer, Producer, MixingEngineer - Sarah Cracknell, Composer - Saint Etienne, MainArtist - Bob Stanley, Composer - Pete Wiggs, Composer

2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS] 2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS]

10
DJ
00:04:39

Tim Powell, Composer, Producer - Sarah Cracknell, Composer - Pete Hoffman, MixingEngineer - Saint Etienne, MainArtist - Bob Stanley, Composer - Pete Wiggs, Composer - Ricahrd X, Producer, MixingEngineer

2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS] 2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS]

11
When I Was Seventeen
00:03:37

Sarah Cracknell, Composer - Pete Hoffman, MixingEngineer - Saint Etienne, MainArtist - Bob Stanley, Composer - Pete Wiggs, Composer - Ian Catt, Producer - Ricahrd X, MixingEngineer

2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS] 2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS]

12
I Threw It All Away
00:03:27

Sarah Cracknell, Composer - Saint Etienne, MainArtist - Bob Stanley, Composer - Pete Wiggs, Composer - Mark Waterfield, Composer - Lawrence Oakley, Composer - Ian Catt, Producer, MixingEngineer

2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS] 2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS]

13
Haunted Jukebox
00:04:15

Nick Coler, Producer, MixingEngineer - Sarah Cracknell, Composer - Saint Etienne, MainArtist - Bob Stanley, Composer - Pete Wiggs, Composer - Debsey Wykes, Composer

2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS] 2012 Saint Etienne Ltd. under exclusive licence to [PIAS]

Album Description

Saint Etienne's eighth record, Words and Music by Saint Etienne, is centered on a theme that has been part of their music since the group began. They've always been one of the most nostalgic groups around, draping themselves in the visuals, styles, and sounds of the past while still staying modern. They've rarely seemed to be touched by the past on a personal level, but now perhaps age and experience have given them a reason to look back at their own lives and do a bit of summing up. Fortunately, this bit of soul-searching self-awareness isn't delivered via somber, acoustic guitar-based navel-gazing; instead, it comes coated in disco synthesizers and a slickly done production job (by a team of the group, longtime associate Ian Catt, Richard X, and Xenomania's Tim Powell) that positions them firmly in the Pop (with a capital P) world. About half the record is drenched in nostalgia, vaguely melancholic and introspective. The first track, "Over the Border," wistfully talks about growing up, falling in love with music, and wondering if it will last; elsewhere, Sarah Cracknell sings about bad choices ("Twenty Five Years," "I Threw It All Away"), and on the atypically '80s rock-inspired "When I Was Seventeen," they make the nostalgic nature of the album very clear. The nuanced melodies, heartfelt lyrics, and Cracknell's tender vocals put these songs over splendidly and give the album a sturdy emotional core beneath the glitzy surface. The other half of the album is built on bouncing beats, glittering synths, and Cracknell's feather-light vocals, and is designed to be played over radio waves and in sweaty nightclubs. This half of the album speaks to the power of music to sweep you away, fill you with hope and love, and make everything all right. To that end, the group also succeeds and crafts some of its finest dancefloor-filling moments ever; Sarah Cracknell has never sounded better than on the flashy "The Last Days of Disco," "DJ" has a nice callback to the melody of "Like a Motorway," and "Haunted Jukebox" sports a mid-'60s soul groove and some lushly lovely backing vocals. Songs like these really do capture the transformative qualities the best music can have, just as the ballads on the album transmit all sorts of deeper feelings of loss and regret. These dual aspects of the record mesh perfectly, often on the same song, and Words and Music turns out to be one of the band's most enriching albums, both musically and emotionally.
© Tim Sendra /TiVo

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