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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant mish-mash of pop and electronica, 7 Jan 2002
This review is from: So Tough (Audio CD)
So Tough is Saint Etienne's second studion album and was in a similar vein to Foxbase Alpha. With its use of quirky samples of dialogue mixed with 60's style pop and offbeat electronica it remains one of the most original albums of the 1990's.
From the gratutious name checking of Mario's Cafe through the perfect pop of You're in a Bad Way to the melancholy Hobart Paving, this album will not leave your CD player for a long time.
Buy it and don't look back.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Contains "The Most Beautiful Song in the World", 28 Dec 2005
By 
Mr. Luke P. Harris (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: So Tough (Audio CD)
Five Stars.
The name Saint Ettienne had probably been dropped on the radio once or twice back during my school days but it was not until the appearance of So Tough in the early 90's that I got to hear an album by this band.
Instantly I was hooked, the clever interplay of samples from classic films set between such perfect pop gems as You're in a Bad Way or Mario's Cafe seemed beyond cool and way better than anything in the charts at the time - way better than anything in the charts now I reckon. Add to that the distinctive, placating tones of Sarah Cracknell and you might see why I have begun to regard this at a truly brilliant album.
If you need any more persuasion to buy this album, there is a certain little song called Hobart Paving (two band members are from Tazzie you know) which is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most beautiful song in the world.
Buy it today, Thank you St. Ettienne.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous gem of an album, 9 Mar 2010
By 
Richard Naylor (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: So Tough (Audio CD)
Some albums have a special atmosphere; they create a unique and seamless world. So Tough is one such album. Unlike many long players in the iPod era, it's not just a collection of slung together songs with all the catchy tunes up front. There's a continuity of texture here -even as the songs shift gear from uptempo to ballads- that makes it feel all of a piece.

The music is retro futurism - early 90s house, dub and hip hop beats rub-up against 60s soul, girl group harmonies and film soundtrack strings, all sewn together by Sarah Cracknell's gossamer light vocals and the carefully curated between-track samples (mainly from classic British 60s films such as Billy Liar and Peeping Tom). The prevailing mood is tender, melancholic, and understated - often what's happening in the middle distance is as interesting as what's in the foreground (c.f. the squalls of industrial noise that lurk beneath the polished latin house veneer of 'Conchita Martinez'). It manages to imbue even the contemporary elements and lyrical preoccupations with the aural equivalent of flickering and grainy 16mm film footage.

Anyway, these are my thoughts after hearing the album all the way through for the first time in maybe 10 years; I'm delighted that it's still such a delight.
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So Tough
So Tough by Saint Etienne (Audio CD - 2001)
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