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Storytelling [Soundtrack]

Belle and Sebastian Audio CD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 15.17 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Storytelling + Fold Your Hands Child (Vinyl)
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Product Details


1. Fiction
2. Freak
3. Dialogue: Conan, Early Letterman
4. Fuck This Shit
5. Night Walk
6. Dialogue: Jersey's Where It's At
7. Black And White Unite
8. Consuelo
9. Dialogue: Toby
10. Storytelling
11. Dialogue: Class Rank
12. I Don't Want To Play Football
13. Consuelo Leaving
14. Wandering Alone
15. Dialogue: Mandingo Cliche
16. Scooby Driver
17. Fiction Reprise
18. Big John Shaft

Product Description

Amazon.ca

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

Product Description

Given Belle & Sebastian's eccentric way of doing things, it's hardly surprising 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 plenty 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, with no obvious moments of real shambling horror. Instead, the discipline of writing (vaguely) to order seems to have made the band perversely less uptight. So Stevie Jackson's ambling harmonica piece, "F*ck this Sh*t", is a close cousin of his beautiful work with the Bill Wells Trio--and also, explicitly, Dylan's soundtrack to Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid.

Amid the lilting instrumentals and snatches of dialogue from Solondz' fine movie, there are a clutch of quietly impressive songs. "Black and White Unite" continues Stuart Murdoch's artful reorganisation 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. This is retribution, Belle & Sebastian style: truly, revenge has never been so sweet. --John Mulvey</P.


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good on it's own May 26 2004
Format:Audio CD
It is clear to me that some other reviewers have neglected to see the movie and thus nullify their own opinions. Enough said on that.
I felt that this was a very solid CD from start to finish. All of the songs flowed one to the other and made sense.--Especially if you saw the film (though I didn't particularly like it). B&S are apt to tell stories as it is--listen to any song and you'll understand what I mean. I must say that I have a great fondness for B&S and may be inclined to like this a tad more; however, after DCW I can see that my loyalty is not blind. This really is a good album.
Some may feel that it drug along or that it was boring, et cetera. I thought it was beautiful, and I'm sure I'm not alone. The instrumental F*ck this Sh*t was one of my favorites--and I loved Sarah's Storytelling.--By the way, Sarah is no faux Isobel as some have said. Sarah is Sarah and she's in the band and Isobel is out.
I would not buy this album if you are not patient. I would not buy it if you thought Boy With The Arab Strap was the end all. I would not buy it as a first glimpse of B&S. I do recommend buying it if you love B&S--or can appreciate beauty.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Well, it's better than the movie anyway... April 4 2003
Format:Audio CD
This is one of those discs that sounds better if you don't expect a lot from it. It is just soundtrack music, after all, which explains why so much of it is instrumental. (And why nobody has the right to complain about the small number of proper songs.) Surprisingly, the instrumental tracks, especially "Freak," "Fiction," and the obscenely titled Track 4, are quite good, while the songs are hit-and-miss.
I've seen the movie, by the way, and I hated it. The first part is apparently supposed to be a "confrontational" look at racism, but mostly it's just embarrassing. Do not rent this movie for a mixed-race group. The second part is one of those fake documentary movie-within-a-movie things which has been done hundreds of times before, and only occasionally to good effect. This is not one of those occasions.
Only a few tiny snippets of B+S music are in the film until the closing credits, when the song "Storytelling" is played. I can see why Todd Stolonz did not use much of this music. Though the band made their best attempt to sound American, they don't sound American enough for this film. At least the title of Track 4 was explained, however: The high school kid in the second part of the movie was forced to take the SAT test against his wishes, so in rebellion he spelled out the obscene phrase in large capital letters by filling in the appropriate dots on the test form. Clever.
If you're a big B+S fan, this disc should be worth your while. I think it is an improvement over the disappointing "Fold Your Hands Child..." and shows a willingness by the band to try something new. Maybe they needed to do something like this to get back on track.
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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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3.0 out of 5 stars non -literary B & S shock!! July 2 2002
By carl
Format:Audio CD
Normally, it is a pretty safe bet what you are getting when you buy a B & S album. Expect soft vocals spewing forth emotional and amusing little stories about fictional characters. Somehow, this is then melded on to an array of beautifully intricate pop melodies. Whilst the belles have used their seven EP's to experiment, their previous long-playing efforts have pretty much stuck with the aforementioned tried and tested formula.
But...No!, 'Storytelling' is something very different indeed. You see, the Scottish collective's latest release is a film soundtrack album. Which means snatches of dialogue and, (gasp!) instrumentals. This is what makes 'Storytelling' a fascinating record. 'B & S without the lyrics? What's the point?' you may well ask. Somehow though, everybody's favourite twee Glasweigan octet just about pull it off.
Opening instrumental 'Fiction' is absolutely gorgeous. Piano tinkering gives way to quietly dominating strings that leave you feeling strangely emotional without knowing exactly why. The lazy harmonica-driven splutter of 'F*** This S***' is easily Stevie Jackson's best contribution to the band and the latin-esque 'Consuelo' wouldn't be out of place in a Martin Scorsese film, sounding dirty and mysterious.
These instrumentals are made coherent for the literary snobs (i.e. people like me) by short snatches of conversation. The dialogue features a central character who is discussing what it takes to make a film and tell a 'story'. The overall effect is one of a modern concept album, a rock opera (sort of). So what of the six 'proper' songs on the album then?. Well, they're not too good I'm afraid. 'Black and white Unite' is awful summery sludge about 'hikers hiking' and 'cyclers cycling'; not recommended.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars beautiful orchestrations, witty lyrics
both a great (and massively under-rated) film and a near perfect (and overlooked) b&s record. the record really shows off b&s's abilities at creating beautiful pop... Read more
Published on May 20 2003 by Jameson Rachen
3.0 out of 5 stars VERY DISAPPOINTING
I'm a huge B&S fan, and having given this album a month of listening feel safe to express a negative opinion. Read more
Published on July 10 2002 by Alfred Viola
3.0 out of 5 stars It's alright - FOR A SOUNDTRACK
First things first,this a soundtrack, NOT a regular release. If you think your getting a normal release,forget it. I expected this to be a dud,but was pleasently surprised. Read more
Published on July 6 2002 by Bt
3.0 out of 5 stars Um.....
I'm not a Belle and Sebastian fan. Well, I kinda am now but I wasn't before I bought this. I bought this because I wanted the music from the film "Storytelling". Read more
Published on July 3 2002 by Morton Scelsi
3.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant, if not spectacular
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... Read more
Published on June 19 2002 by Storylover
1.0 out of 5 stars running on empty....
After the disappointment of "Fold Your Hands Child" this band needed to do two things. Take off a couple of years, write a strong album and get over the slump. Read more
Published on June 17 2002 by Winter
2.0 out of 5 stars Various People Who Aren't Stuart Once Again Derail B&S
Speaking as one of those afore-mentioned cranky people who believe that Stuart should sing everything on a B&S album, let me say first off that I have recently changed my mind... Read more
Published on June 10 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars American Scotch
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. Read more
Published on June 8 2002 by "ann_septimus16"
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful and weeping.
"storytelling" is simply a beautiful piece of music. in typical belle & sebastian style, the group throws away the chains of cliche sentimentality and pulls directly at your heart... Read more
Published on June 6 2002 by John J. O. Sullivan
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