Belle and Sebastian - "We Were Beautiful" (Singles Going Steady)

The track suggests the future will happen. Looking backward is no way to move forward.

Adriane Pontecorvo: Belle and Sebastian juggles Stuart Murdoch’s signature featherweight vocals with frenetic rhythms, power synths, and a little country twang -- and the result is surprisingly well-balanced. This is a modern, sophisticated side of Belle and Sebastian, proving the band can be grounded, living in the moment without sacrificing the ethereal loveliness that once set them so far apart from the world. [8/10]

Tristan Kneschke: A driving beat, pedal steel guitar, some delicious horns, and Stuart Murdoch’s lilting vocals punctuate Belle and Sebastian’s latest single. While its chorus seems to come out of nowhere, the track is a pleasantly energetic addition to the band’s calming oeuvre. As with many artworks emerging this year, it’s easy to read the lyrics as expressing global political woe. When Murdoch sings “We were beautiful before this went down / We were beautiful before the years came, turned it upside down”, his delivery seems to imply that it’ll eventually get better. The video’s lesbian couple point to this sentiment, the possibility of love in what many see as a hopeless world. [5/10]

Steve Horowitz: Belle and Sebastian have always added a dash of nostalgia to their examination of modern living. Their characters always shared a more innocent past, and as the band ages so do their characters' concerns. The music tries to fend off time passing through its insistent percussion, but the lyrics let one know this doesn't keep the notion of growing older from somehow being equated with getting worse. The track suggests the future will happen. Looking backward is no way to move forward. A less complicated arrangement would let the character's anxiety transform into eagerness. There is no stopping time. [5/10]

John Garratt: Sad music for the thinking person, complete with a tooth-pulling chorus that ends awkwardly. So, people get really excited about this kind of thing, huh? [4/10]

William Nesbitt: The verses are thoughtful and melancholic. The choruses are strident and energetic. The beats, which crowd the other instruments, in both sections seem too fast, and the track could benefit from slowing the tempo down a tad. [5/10]

SCORE: 5.40

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