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Storytelling Soundtrack

3.2 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Soundtrack, June 4, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Special Low List Price: 34 minutes of new music from Belle and Sebastian, comprised of both instrumental film score and six new vocal tracks. The soundtrack to Todd Solondz's "Storytelling", starring Selma Blair, John Goodman and Paul Giamatti.

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Given Belle & Sebastian's eccentric way of doing things, it's hardly surprising that their soundtrack to the Todd Solondz movie Storytelling did not work out quite as planned. Plenty of bands have written scores to imaginary movies. Belle & Sebastian, however, have composed an imaginary soundtrack to an existing movie; only six minutes of this music was actually used in the film, and much of it was completed after the film was released. The weird thing is, it all fits together rather nicely. Storytelling is a more consistent beast than the last couple of B&S albums; the discipline of writing (vaguely) to order seems to have made the band perversely less uptight. Stevie Jackson's ambling harmonica piece, "F*** This S***," is a close cousin to his beautiful work with the Bill Wells Trio--and also, explicitly, Dylan's soundtrack to Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. Amidst the lilting instrumentals and snatches of dialogue from Solondz's fine movie is a clutch of quietly impressive songs. "Black and White Unite" continues Stuart Murdoch's artful reorganization of the legacies of Love and Simon & Garfunkel, while on "I Don't Want to Play Football" he chooses to stereotype himself further as the sickly child always picked last at games. Best of all, there's "Storytelling" itself, in which Sarah Martin pursues the issues of authorial responsibility tackled by Solondz in the movie. "In directions, actions, and words, cause and effect, you need consistency," she politely chastises, targeting Solondz as much as his characters. --John Mulvey
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 4, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Matador Records
  • ASIN: B00005OM56
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,372 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This lovely album contains mostly instrumental music written for inclusion in a movie soundtrack. It is excellent for what it is and showcases the band's versatility and musicianship. My favorite of the tracks with vocals is the very Simon and Garfunkel-esque "Black and White Unite," sung mostly by Stevie Jackson, with Stuart Murdoch adding nice harmonies. I recommend this CD, with some exceptions as noted below.
Don't buy it if:
#1 Don't buy it if for some reason you still are new to Belle and Sebastian and are looking to take your first plunge into the world of their music. I recommend starting with another, more representative album or even single and not this one. Buy Tigermilk. Buy The Boy With the Arab Strap. Buy I'm Waking Up To Us. (And do it now, because you've been missing out on some really wonderful stuff.)
Also, don't this if you are one of those cranky people who thinks Stuart Murdoch should write and sing all of the songs. There's lots of Sarah and Stevie here and you're not going to like this one little bit. No siree.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Belle and sebastian have been one of my obsessions for about 4 years now. If you're feeling sinister is my benchmark for their work, so take that into consideration as you read my review. I have been reasonably pleased with their last 2 singles, and was eagerly awaiting storytelling (I ordered it in october of last year and have been breathlessly awaiting it). Well, I should have known that a soundtrack thing would be "interesting". The instrumentals are good, which is fortunate because much of this album is instrumental. They sound like b&s, lots of strummed guitar, harmonica, strings, and vibes. Always pretty, sometimes genuinely emotionally satisfying. The vocal tracks are, in my opinion, not fully realized. Stuart is once more in fine voice (he should sing 9/10's of the songs anyway). Jackson can't sing and should stick to the harmonica. The Pseudo-isobel is quite delightful, and I would be happy to hear more from her. This really is an album that will be enjoyed by completists (like myself) only, and is not for the casual fan. Stick to "Sinister", "Lazy Line Painter Jane boxed set", or "arab strap" for your initial B&s purchases, and then graduate to this as a lovely but inconsequential treat.
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By A Customer on June 8, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Alright, I know, I'm a hardcore B&S fan, but the idea of this band so known and loved for it's lyrics doing a SOUNDTRACK? I was scared. Very scared.
All that fear, though, was unfounded. This may be a new direction for B&S (as well it is going to be, as Isobel Campbell, their cellist and premier back-up vocalist, as well as occasional lead, is leaving the band) but it is a yummy one. Composed of a mix of instrumentals, dialogue tracks, and lyrical songs, "Storytelling" is quite addictive in it's own adorably off-kilter way.
The instrumentals are mainly composed of plinky piano over a wash of violin, piano, and harmonica, with the main style being a cross between flamenco and lounge. It's so much better than I can describe it. Seriously. When the trumpet kicked in on "Consuelo" I knew I was completely won over. The best thing about these tracks is that 1)they're all so different, it's nice to see the band stretch a little and let other members really show their stuff and 2) they're short and concise... which makes them all the more beautiful. My only qualm is that sometimes these songs sound SO American... an odd thing for this very Scottish, twee band.
The actual songs, as well, are lovely, most beautifully exemplified by the Simon & Garfunkelesque "Black and White Unite". From Latin (Wandering Alone), to a parody of Stuart Murdoch's wimpy image (I don't want to play Football), to a cut at filmmaker Solondz himself (Storytelling - probably the most fully realized song on the album) these are the sounds that B&S followers have come to love. And for all those kids who think Stuart and Co. are all about slow, sad songs, there's always "Scooby Driver" - guaranteed to have you pogoing in your bedroom.
All in all "Storytelling" is a beautiful album (their first full length one in 2 years!) and well worth the wait.
Cheers!
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Format: Audio CD
I've been listening to Belle and Sebastian for awhile, and though I found this CD to be a departure from the group's normal work, it certainly does not deserve the negative reviews that some reviewers here have bestowed upon it.
On the contrary, "Storytelling" has a permanent home in my portable CD player, and it has the special ability to appeal to my parents when I play it aloud at home. The instrumentals are luscious and demonstrate the truly powerful presence of Belle and Sebastian as a group - sometimes they number 20-odd people on-stage, rather than their stated size of 7-8 performers (now down one person, I'm afraid, with Isobel's departure from the group). B&S's music often works in an amazing orchestral form, so I was happy to see what the group members can do as instrumentalists.
The humorous bits of spoken word [which I assume came from the film] were effective and fun. My favorites: "Maybe they make fun of New Jersey all the time. But I don't care. They're just snobs. Cause New Jersey's where America's at!" And: "When I go to high school I'm not going to play any football. I'm just going to concentrate on class rank." These quotes are awesome, interesting, ironic: Pure belle and sebastian (on a USA-inspired buzz).
The vocal selections are excellent as well. "Storytelling" is a great testament to and criticism of Todd Solondz. "Black and White Unite," "Wandering alone," and "Big John Shaft" work wonderfully. "I don't want to play football" IS hilarious AND charming. Whatever other people may think is fine; I think that this album works. Each piece fits together really well; the pieces flow, and I keep repeating songs over and over so that I can continue my B&S fix.
Whether or not you're a Belle and Sebastian fan I highly recommend this album.
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