Belle & Sebastian ‎– How To Solve Our Human Problems (Parts 1 – 3)

One way to make a bit more money from releasing an album on vinyl is to do so as 3 12″ singles rather than as a triple album, which would seem more of an investment even though it would actually be cheaper than the three 12″ singles. Anyway, that’s what Belle & Sebastian seem to have done with their latest releases, How To Solve Our Human Problems Parts 1, 2 & 3. They are about £10 each so the whole thing is (I am going to do this very complicated calculation for you) £30, a triple album would probably be somewhere around £25 and maybe it could have all been squeezed onto a double, which would have been less again. It may be on three EP’s for an entirely different reason of course, they may just not work together as a single entity and the pacing of the E.P’s doesn’t feel right if you play them back to back as one album (which is most easily achieved by streaming them rather than playing the actual records).

 

I picked up two of the EP’s at Rapture in Witney, they didn’t have all three, so I got one from Amazon as well. I could hardly have only two of a three EP set now could I? The answer is yes, I could, and also no, because I would just end up getting it in 3 years time for three times the price.

I haven’t really listened to much Belle & Sebastian that was released after 2003, the last thing being Dear Catastrophe Waitress. There is no particular reason for that, I just never got around to it, I still really like a lot of that earlier work, particularly If You’re Feeling Sinister, which is a brilliant album. I’ll get around to the bits in between eventually.

So this album/EP set, the songs are great, I really enjoyed it as a whole and was a bit surprised to hear how some of the tracks are quite dance orientated, such as Poor Boy, the opening track of the 3rd EP with it’s Wes Andersonesque accompanying video:

It’s a killer single isn’t it?

It is a collection of really good songs delivered in the Belle & Sebastian way but often with a more modern aesthetic and this seems the right direction to go in to me as they can’t keep putting out the same album they did 20 years ago over and over again.

There appears to have been a single taken from each EP, the two above and, what is for me, probably my favourite track from the collection, ‘We Were Beautiful’.

I was blank as I could be
Hearing voices telling me
“Walk away from everything”
But where was I meant to go?
Far away from those I know
To some desolate below
We were in the uber scene
Where they grind the coffee bean
Where the women are oblique
And the boys are paper thin
Ragged beards upon their chin
We were on the outside looking in
Rise above the present day
Rise above the popular melee
I see you the way you are
I see you, the star
We were beautiful before this went down
We were beautiful before the years came
And turned it upside down
We were beautiful before we got wise
We were beautiful with sky and blanket laying low
I am hanging on the line
I’m on duty all the time
I am your Samaritan on call
I could try my best to heal
All the emptiness you feel
In the giving, I will be alive
We were wrapped around our roots
Nothing on except our boots
We were intimate around the waist
We were settling our scores
We were healing over sores
We were living out the pleasure that we lost
We were beautiful before this went down
We were beautiful before the years came
And turned it upside down
We were beautiful for all of time and space
I will tell it to the sun and I will tell it to
If you listen to the night
We can hear the madmen fight
Hear the foxes making out
But the people all immune
Sleeping silent in their rooms
Growing bodies with their sleep
Making plans inside their heads
Making love to shallow friends
Shallow friends
You are not too old to change
Happy only comes after the pain of you and me
We were beautiful before the years came
And turned it upside down
We were beautiful before we got wise
We were beautiful with sky and blanket fading out
We were beautiful before this went down
We were beautiful before the years came
And turned it upside down
We were beautiful for all of time and space
I will tell it to the sun and I will tell it to your face

The video is described as life experienced at different speeds as the city wakes up over a Saturday morning. Filmed throughout Glasgow, from Crookston in the south-west, through the City Centre to Easterhouse and Cranhill.

EP 1

1. Sweet Dew Lee
2. We Were Beautiful
3. Fickle Season
4. The Girl Doesn’t Get It
5. Everything Is Now

EP 2

6. Show Me The Sun
7. Same Star
8. I’ll Be Your Pilot
9. Cornflakes
10. A Plague On All Other Boys

EP 3

11. Poor Boy
12. Everything Is Now (Part Two)
13. Too Many Tears
14. There Is An Everlasting Song
15. Best Friend

Rating: 9.0

3 Comments

  1. jprobichaud

    If you had ordered it direct from Matador, I believe they were selling it as a box set, which was, interestingly, was more expensive than buying them separately. Anyway, yeah, there’s a lot of great songs here. I really liked their last album a lot too, “Girls in wartime want to dance”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. verian

    Yes, I saw there was a boxset version, but not until after I already had two of them, not sure I’d have paid extra for it anyway. I’m looking forward to listening to some of the albums I’ve missed 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jprobichaud

    I hear you about paying extra. There’s definitely some good B&S albums out there. I almost envy that you’re going to be enjoying some of them for the first time.

    Liked by 1 person

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