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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Write About Love
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 19 September 2017
When Write About Love was released in 2010, again produced by Tony Hoffer, who had been at the helm for probably my favourite Belle And Sebastian album, The Life Pursuit, I suppose I was a little disappointed with it, compared with its predecessor. Compared with The Life Pursuit, I felt as if Write About Love was, well, a little ordinary. As such, I haven't listened to this album for quite a while now, so I was interested to see if time and my supposed maturity had made any difference. Well, it's certainly better than I remember it and, if I'm honest, because I didn't love it instantly, I probably didn't listen to it quite enough when I bought it. This is a very competent, pleasing-to-the-ears piece of work, but, ultimately, it is a warm, platonic kind of love rather than head-over-heel, fireworks kind of thing. The opening couple of songs, I Didn't See It Coming, a romantic, melodic piece, and Come On Sister, with its cascading keyboard riff, are excellent. They're both very typical of the band and not at all groundbreaking, but highly likeable nonetheless and bring a rather big smile to my face. I Want The World To Stop has a reverb-laden sixties vibe and comes across almost like a cross between The Zombies and Pulp; it's a quality composition, rather infectious and a is good shout for the best track on the whole album.

Other picks from the album include the title track which, again, reminds me strongly of The Zombies, right down to the Rod Argent-aping keyboard solo,the superb I'm Not Living In The Real World, a rousing, rowdy, uptempo romp with Stevie Jackson on lead vocals and Read The Blessed Pages which is a pretty, genuine and gentle acoustic piece. There are other perfectly good songs on Write About Love, in fact there isn't a bad song on it and I suppose I should mention that Norah Jones makes a cameo appearance on the more than decent Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John, but this album, to me, is an equal mix of the ordinary and the rather special and well worth getting for the latter. As always, the release is beautifully presented in that Belle And Sebastian style, and, in the booklet for the album, Stuart writes a three part preface/essay for the album and it proves to be as engaging and interesting as the music; I particularly like the passage where Murdoch reminisces about the short poem he was taught at school and the feelings it invoked. It has been quite wonderful rediscovering this record. I admit to having overlooked it first time around and, although I don't believe it stands amongst their very best work, there are a few tracks on Write About Love that would make any “best of” compilation for the band.
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on 14 February 2011
Impressed, relieved, delighted and absolutely needing to write about this (after my first listen). There is a great deal to love here; loadsa fabulous and inventive song structures & styles pinging back through the 60's - 80's (thinking Captain Scarlet theme tune; The Zombies "She's not there"; XTC and Dukes of the Stratosphear - all wonderful) but with plenty of beef to balance it and, of course, pin-sharp lyrics from the undisputed champ of the quirky/innocent point of view. Do agree with other reviewers that its the keyboard choice & sound, but also mint condition musicianship, that makes this a stand-out CD at this point in time. Comparison with past B&S albums is superfluous as that's like comparing your 41 year old (ahem) self to your distant teenage self - it's still you - and even so, like Black Box Recorder said previously: "a heartfelt seduction lasts a lifetime".....
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on 18 May 2017
Thank you prompt delivery and good value
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on 27 November 2010
The last B&S album I listened to properly and repeatedly was 'Fold your arms' and I didn't get it. It was too patchy. Prior to this 'If you're feeling sinister' and 'Arab strap' were the most played records of their respective year's in our house.
However, my wife bought this a few weeks ago and whilst it, too, is patchy, the good bits are UNBELIEVABLY good. There are some really uplifting 'stompers', not dissimilar to 'dirty dream'. Surely this contains two or three of the best pop songs of the last 5 years? Tracks 2, 4 and 6 would make it onto a 'B&S best of' mix tape in this house, even including the early singles. I think I still prefer the slightly more depressing early stuff, but compared to most of the flotsam out there at the minute; this is really rather good.
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on 11 October 2010
This is a good B and S album. Okay, it is not "Sinister" (but let's be honest, hoping that B and S are going to return to the sound of that fragile masterpiece is a bit like wishing that Neil Hannon will remake "Promenade" - it's not going to happen, nor should it) but it is certainly an excellent piece of work.

After a few seconds of random noise, "I didn't see it coming" begins and it is a little like opening the front door to an excellent friend that you haven't seen in a while. It is classic B and S and brings a smile to my face.

Elsewhere, the album is strong - "I want the world to stop" is a highlight - although hearing Norah Jones sing lines about "the milkman" is a little too odd for my tastes.

Perhaps they won't win any new fans with this record and perhaps they don't care, but I am really enjoying it.
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on 1 June 2011
After the Bowlie board was dissolved, I checked in with the Anorak forum to see how long standing fans of B&S rated this LP. As usual much was made of this not being vintage B&S, but I don't want a rehash of their 1990's style.

This is my go-to B&S record at the moment, Sarah's singing fits beautifully with Stuart's and the complexity of the music is quite stunning. Of the tracks the only one I skip at times features Norah Jones (something doesn't quite work on this collaboration).

If you don't shuffle your shoulders along with I Want the World to Stop and its' major bassline, then you'd better check your pulse.
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on 10 November 2010
This record has hardly been off my player since I bought it, and the same goes for my mates. Strange then that some have rated it only three stars. That's what you get for not being predictable, I suppose. If you like Snow Patrol, Interpol or Razorlight you probably won't appreciate this - it's much richer, more complex music, but sounding fresher and less in your face than most of what's around at the moment.

I saw them at Santander mid 2009, with the Dandy Warhols, one of their first gigs for years. The Dandys were my main reason to be there and I walked out on them with about half the audience. B&S stole the festival, the enthusiastic crowd singing along (in heavy Spanish accents...) but what impressed was they worked as a band, swapping instruments (at least three of them played bass, but Mick was best) and voices (Stuart taking a backseat), and added horns and strings themselves instead of using session players - it's this rich mix that makes the album work.

The single 'I want the world to stop' is an out and out winner, made by its bassline - it shares a lot with Hard-Fi's 'Wound up too tight' in construction with a high jangly guitar over a subtle driving bass. The much derided Norah Jones duet is also a high point, and if she dominates proceedings that's all well and good - Belle and Sebastian have always been a band pulling in lots of directions at once, and never afraid to get pulled out of their regular groove.

The keyboards make this album though - the first real B&S album that's keyboard led, with a retro organ and Wurlitzer piano sound complimented with some atmospheric 80s synth sounds. And there are some big 'orchestral' arrangements, that complement but never dominate the songs. The usual range of bookish angst illuminates the lyrics, as well as a sense of belonging in that 'grey adorable city by the docks'.

In short, this is my favourite of all the albums, just a bit ahead of Catastrophe Waitress.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 11 October 2010
Come on what were you were you expecting, Belle and Sebastian sing death metal? This new album by B & S "Write about love" is largely about continuity despite a four year absence since 2006's "The Life Pursuit" and of course is full of charming, quirky and wryly observed indie pop songs with what John Peel used to describe as dangerous hints of melody. A friend once asked me to burn a "Best of" compilation of Belle and Sebastian songs, and sadly she is still waiting for it. The trouble of course is that the songs of this wonderful Scottish band more than just soundtrack your life they sometimes define it. Thus picking out favourites involves all kinds of agonies. "Expectations" and "We rule the school" from their debut Tiger Milk defines the period of formal education for many people. "Step into my office baby" is a salutary warning to every person embarking on a office fling while the whole of the wonderful "If your feeling sinister" is an album which has sound tracked more than its fair share of bedsit angst and broken romance.

"Write about love" continues many of these themes and is a very nice and pleasant album which could be its problem. In one sense its Belle and Sebastian "go mainstream" without the extremes of terrible frustrated heartache, minus the outright wistful melancholy and with lyrics not quite as witty and clever as they once were. They still produce great titles and in "Calculating bimbo" they have a song which is probably closet to their roots with the trademark Murdoch and Martin vocal interplay. Similarly there are excellent pop songs like the lovely five minute plus "Didn't see it coming" sung by Sarah Martin while actress Carey Mulligan star of the excellent British film "An Education", guests on the sunshine filled title track, an almost a Motown sounding pure pop gem which will need a priest to exorcise the melody from your brain. Finally in the "The Ghost of Rockschool" they have produced a song which stands up to some of their best.

A further big name guest namely Norah Jones can be found on a duet with Stuart Murdoch entitled "Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John". Ms Jones demonstrates her usual smokey trademark vocals but frankly the song would have struggled to get on "Come away with me". Ironically "Sunday's pretty icons" does sound like a Sundays song and ambles along nicely while "I want the world to stop" reminds your reviewer of one of those ever present Frou Frou songs that seem to comprise the bedrock of the OC soundtrack. There is of course nothing wrong with good pop songs but this is the band that wrote "Stars of Track and Field", "Like Dylan in the movies" and "The state I'm in" and you just want them to be on par with that level of exquisite songcraft whose strength was often the ability to unsettle as opposed to merely charm. Anyone new to B & S will probably love this set of warm harmony filled pop and undoubtedly it will grow over time. Consequently while "Write about love" is no classic its great to have them back.
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on 11 October 2010
they set the bar mighty high, and Write About Love comes nowhere near reaching the heady heights of either of the their last 2 albums, and those are not even their best.

Write About Love is a perfectly enjoyable, completely worthy Belle and Sebastian album.

First, the stand outs:
I want the world to Stop / I didn't see it coming / The ghost of rockschool - these three songs alone are worth the price of this album, they do exactly what B&S do best, while seemingly effortlessly adding that special something - A sound that goes beyond just a great tune and a well written song - these songs are the 'event' songs B&S fans have been waiting for since The Life Pursuit, and they are easily the equal of stand out tracks like Another Sunny Day and Act of the Apostle from that record.

Just below the stand outs we have I'm not 'living in the real world', and the lead off single title track - and if all the rest of the tracks on the album could come up to the standard of those 2 tracks then Write About Love would jostle for the position of best ever B&S album.

So where does it go wrong? Unfortunately, the rest of the tracks, while enjoyable, are forgettable, with the exception of Norah Jones duet 'Little Lou...', which is memorable for the wrong reason - namely that Norah Jones sounds so completely out of place here, that the album suffers from the feeling that we have to stop all proceedings to politely pay homage to her voice. Any B&S fan surely thinks at this point: 'wouldn't Sarah Martin make this song so much better?', especially considering that her duets with Stuart Murdoch on the aforementioned standouts are a large part of what makes those tracks so memorable.

I haven't yet heard the 3 bonus tracks across the formats - often B&S save some of their strongest tracks for B Sides. With the death of the Bside since they last released an album, my hope is that these bonus tracks reveal themselves as a saviour for the Wrote About Love era. With Dear Catastrophe Waitress we got Your Cover's Blown as an extra track from those sessions, and The Life Pursuit era gave us the amazing Heaven in the afternoon, Meat and Potatoes, The Life Pursuit, Long Black Scarf... all these in addition to albums on which it's hard to find a forgettable track.

That's why, after a four year hiatus, I have to be slightly disappointed with the Write About Love era so far. Here's hoping those bonus tracks are as wonderful as 'I Want The World To Stop', and here's also hoping for an EP follow up of other leftover tracks in the near future.

Stuart Murdoch remains the best British songwriter around today, with the greatest band behind him - as I said before, they set the bar so so high... and Write About Love would be a five star album from any other band - but these three stars reflect its place in the Belle and Sebastian back catalogue to date.... (it's still a hundred times better than God Help The Girl!)
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on 23 January 2011
Finally B&S releases a new album. I'm very happy about it. As someone wrote here, it's like opening the door to an old friend. That's exactly how this album feels to me.

While BBC reviewer here can't spell the name of indie darling CaRey Mulligan correctly, he seems to over praise Norah Jones's questionable illuminating honeyed voice qualities. Her presence in this album is simply odd.

Is it just me or anyone else here has goosepimples when Sarah Martin tells us what she sees in "I can see your future"?

This album is really good! Anyone who buys it won't regret. All you have to do is set the player to skip track 05
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