Belle and Sebastian Sing of Middle Age

Peter C. Baker at The New Yorker:

“Now we’re old with creaking bones,” Stuart Murdoch, the front man of the Scottish band Belle and Sebastian, sings on “Young and Stupid,” the jaunty opening track of its new album, “A Bit of Previous.” The lyric feels less like a resigned lament than a jubilant mission statement—a declaration that it’s possible for a band widely associated with youthful languor to successfully train its sensibilities on the indignities and forced epiphanies of middle age. The album is full of references to aging, parenting, and nostalgia for youth, but also to some new orientation to life, one that takes its finitude a touch more seriously. “This is my life,” Murdoch sings in the chorus of “Unnecessary Drama.” He sounds a little shocked. “This is my only life.”

Like many (maybe most) Belle and Sebastian fans, I fell in love with the band on the basis of the trio of albums—“Tigermilk,” “If You’re Feeling Sinister,” “The Boy with the Arab Strap”—that it released from 1996 to 1998.

more here.