UK release date: October 11th, 2010
US release date: October 12th, 2010
Highest UK Chart Position: 8
Highest US Chart Position: 15
Catalogue Numbers: UK CD – RTRADCD480 / US CD – 8281241
WRITE ABOUT LOVE WAS MADE BY
with the notable assistance of
Norah Jones – Vocals on Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John
Carey Mulligan – Vocals on Write about Love
and additional players, featuring on the following tracks
I Want The World To Stop, Write about Love, I Can See Your Future
Eric Gorfain – Violin
Daphne Chen – Violin
Melissa Reiner – Violin
Amy Wickman – Violin
Wes Prescourt – Violin
Lauren Chipman – ViolinRichard Dodd – Cello
Matt Cooker – Cello
John Krovoza – Cello
I Want The World To Stop, I Can See Your Future
Noah Gladstone – Trombone
Bruce Otto – Bass Trombone
I Can See Your Future
Stephanie Stetson – French Horn
Danielle Ondarza – French Horn
Stephanie O’Keefe – French Horn
The ensemble was led by Eric Gorfain, who also conducted.
The arrangements were by Mick Cooke, except I Can See Your Future, which was arranged by Sarah Martin.
Norah Jones appears courtesy of Blue Note Records
All songs published by Sony/ATV Music.
WRITE ABOUT LOVE WAS PRODUCED AND MIXED BY TONY HOFFER.
ENGINEERED BY Todd Burke.
PROGRAMMING BY Tony Hoffer.
ASSISTANT ENGINEER Cameron Lister.
RECORDED AT The Sound Factory in Los Angeles.
MASTERED BY Frank Arkwright at Metropolis in London.
Pictured on the record are Natalie Dawson Wann on front and back cover and in the booklet. Fiona Morrison and Chris Geddes in the booklet. Kim Moore on the disc.
The pictures are by Stuart Murdoch. Assisted by Marisa Privitera. Designed by D8 in Glasgow www.weared8.com
Belle and Sebastian are managed by
Merchandising and much additional help by Fiona Morrison
The Belle And Sebastian road crew are
Stephen MacDougall – Tour Manager
Glen Thomson – Production Manager
Sarah Willson – Cellist and Singer
Stuart McInnes – Front of House Engineer
Johnny Laing – Monitors
Brian Livingstone – Lights
Alastair Parley – Stage Manager
Mark Trayner – Keyboard Technician
Michael Ritchie – Guitar Technician
Allen Johnston – Drum Technician
We would like to thank the following for helping, during the making of this record Gill and Ralph Cooke, Yvonne Kincaid, Cass Kildea, Peter and Pam Martin, Marisa Privitera, Gary Thom and Roy Moller of The Company, Geoff Travis and all at Rough Trade, Chris Lombardi and all at Matador, Norah Jones, Carey Mulligan, Tara Quinn, Adam Saunders, Jim Romeo, Vick Shuttleworth, Tom Pisano, Wren Rider and all at The Sound Factory, Emma Howlett, Gary Kershaw, Michele Arnold-Forster, Ben Berry, Dan Baldwin, Robert White, Catherine Ireton, Graham Samuels, Barry, Mendel, Miwa Okumura, Reuben Cox, Ronan Breslin, The Hamilton Family, Chris Andrews, Pumpkin, Abbey and June.
In memory of Robert Murdoch, who loved the band.
The Hum of the Cosmos
I know I must sound like a terrible waste of space most of the time. In my defence, I mostly write to you in my quiet times. As a singer in this band, I do have some interesting moments, but I tend to enjoy them, and then move on without writing them down.
When we’re together, we spend most of our time chuckling at something. I should really try to tell you some of that stuff. It’s just hard to explain what we all find so funny! For instance, we were trying to make part of a song sound new and different by changing the time signature, and Beans (Chris) suggested we should play it in p-time; a sort of traditional waltz.
See! Funny at the time. Not so funny on paper. So, I end up telling you about the nothing stuff in between. My present moment involves my eating peas quietly with a fork, and pondering my house…
I very rarely eat a meal without the radio on, or a film, or a page from Wikipedia open in front of me, or chat from a friend. It’s funny just eating on my own in a room as the wind blows.
Usually I’d love such a thing. Usually you would find me dancing around my kitchen just with the general quietness of it all. But since my neighbours’ building fell down, I’m very rarely in the kitchen. I’m camped in one room, looking for the quiet. Because from the quiet comes most good things.
But it was quiet when I was eating my peas. Sort of peas-full. (Sorry about that). I was eating my peas with a fork and communing with the cosmos. (I have to note, that the buzz of the cosmos was still going while I was eating. I just hadn’t noticed it before whilst eating because I was distracting myself with the chewing and the digesting, but it was still there, buzzing away, that crazy old cosmos.)
In moments of quiet I feel a sort of maturing. I’m mature enough to realise that life is racing away, that it’s going to run out too soon, and that there’s nothing I can do about it except live now and contemplate later. And that’s going to involve a degree of discomfort.
Only when you get to a spot where you’re completely comfortable does discomfort start to happen again. You know…when you’re feeling great about stuff, and your present position. You want anything except change right at that moment. Anything, but a disturbance! But it usually happens…
It could be a house falling down, a friend coming to visit, an onerous task arriving by email. It could be a pang of guilt felt bumping into an old pal. It could be a sick relative. A skint boyfriend. A punch in the stomach.
If you get a chance, when you’re in a position to, please listen out for the hum of the cosmos and be comforted.
School in June
It’s later, and I’m in the studio with Mick. We’re meant to be working, but he’s working and I’m kind of dreaming, in a primary school sort of way.
I’m dreaming of not being in this room but being out in the open, roaming around the city, jumping off and on trains, in and out of cafes. I want to smell the suburbs. I want to leave the town and walk through the country park by the reservoir. Then I can look back on the town and think about what’s happening there. From up at the reservoir, the town gets reduced to a series of Trumpton type emotions and adventures, which turn soaring into songs if I want them to.
I used to love this Scottish poem when I was a school. “Schule in June” it was called.
“There’s no a clood in the sky
The hill’s clear as can be
An’ the broon road’s windin’ ower it,
But – no for me!”
It was about a boy stuck in the classroom longing to be outside, away up the hill.
Now, you could actually see the hills from our classroom when we were being taught this poem. I should have just got up and left; taken the poetry literally.
It’s weird when you think about it. This was a poem from a boy’s perspective. It is championing the possibilities of freedom on a school day in June. We were asked to enjoy the poem, to empathise with it, but not to enjoy the experience it proposed, which could have been given to us as easily as the ringing of a bell of the unbolting of a door.
Today is different. I could walk out of here, but I really should stay. You see, there’s a difference between what you want to do and what you have to do. What’s the difference? Here’s what I propose.
What you want to do is an illusion. What you have to do is heavenly. Heavenly purpose, and therefore blessed. Blessèd even. Two syllables. Bless – Ed. Pronounced like the name of the song on this record.
What I want to do is… all over the place. It comes thick and fast – as ideas, desire, and daydreams. It’s inspired by lust, by pride, and by a false sense of entitlement.
But then want turns to must…it’s a fine line sometimes; it’s probably happened to you already today. A fork in your own metaphysical road in which you are aware of the two choices. You hesitate and listen for a small voice to whisper in your ear…
In the Staffroom
I took a break, and walked on down to the river, and along, as I usually do, listening to tunes that we’re working on. Pretty soon my head starts to hurt with the decision making process so I take time out, and I want to hear Everything But The Girl. I put on Each And Everyone, which was a hit for them in the mid-eighties.
I remember reading a review of the group – that they were music for schoolteachers to listen to. This was meant as dismissive, and it stuck for a while; it put me off liking them more because I was shallow and tempestuous. Now I can’t imagine anything better!
Oh to be the respite for some overworked and overburdened English Mistress…
Take off your heels. Relax into a hessian armchair. The staffroom is warm. Help yourself to a Tunnock’s Teacake. Let the cheeky young Geography master bounce out of the room. Sneak your headphones on. You can see bodies through the haze of your half shut eyes, but all you can hear is music. Sweet, comforting, affordable, music. A pragmatic young Swede eases into a love son, and it kills you. The strings and horns beguile and twist you. It’s doing wonders for your hangover!
Further along the river, when the path opens up into the park, I start to pass the young and the collegiate. The girls smile. It’s not often I get smiled at by strangers. The reason the girls smile at this time of year is that they’ve just arrived in the neighbourhood, or they’ve just got back, and they wouldn’t mind someone easy and bookish looking to help them get through the winter months. Someone respectable. I have a respectable looking pullover on, and a shine to my shoe, therefore I will do.
I try to smile back, though the smile I think is more like a nervous scowl, and I totter on. They want you to bring them toast. In November. When they’re camped under the duvet with Brecht… an assignment I could probably handle.
But I am spoken for and content, so onwards I totter. Onwards, ever onwards toward Mick, the Studio, and Musical Incarceration! It’s not perhaps what I want to do right at this minute, but it’s what I have to, therefore it gets the blessèd approval.
PASTE: “Write About Love, their first proper album since 2006’s The Life Pursuit, is a clean, lovingly produced affair that takes its cues largely from fellow nonthreatening whisperers Simon & Garfunkel…Belle & Sebastian aren’t trying striving for new heights: They’re just wounded introverts looking for healing, one wistful melody at a time.”
PITCHFORK: “The album (Write About Love) includes some of their smartest, most intricate arrangements ever.”
ROLLING STONE: “Loads up on Sixties-pop goodies without diluting the group’s willowy kink…It’s the sound of wallflowers owning the party.”
SPIN: “Write About Love is playful, bouncy, witty, classic, and classy…it also feels monumentally comfortable in its own skin. For a band that made its bones meticulously documenting awkwardness, that’s a particularly impressive change.”
BUST: “Let’s hope these stars continue to make us feel emotional for many years to come.”
CHICAGO TRIBUNE – “It’s been a few years since Belle and Sebastian released The Life Pursuit, one of the Glasgow group’s best albums, but you wouldn’t know it from the first notes of Write About Love.”
TIME (Pick of the Week) – “The wry Scottish group Belle & Sebastian adopts smooth ‘70s-style pop arrangements — sunny harmonies, sparkling guitars and horns — for these acerbic, precisely observed songs about how romantic, religious and compassionate loves can melt into one another.”
BILLBOARD: “Legitimately upbeat…Time has seemingly turned the veteran act optimistic, even when writing about the sometimes messy topic of love.”
ONION: “Continues to add pop muscle to the band’s signature delicacy as if the hiatus [since Life Pursuit] never happened.”
FRONTIERS (gay LA): “A tuneful, thoughtful addition to their considerable canon…a phenomenally talented band.”
NEW YORK POST: “B&S haven’t gone soft with love, but instead view devotion from odd angles, like finance, for instance.”
POPMATTERS: “Overall, Belle and Sebastian Write About Love plays like a greatest hits, though not necessarily of former songs. Rather, the album collects most of the winning stylistic evolutions that the band has undergone during the past decade and produces something fresh: a modern rock album without a single skip song.”
AMERICAN SONGWRITER: “Their eighth studio album is somewhere between an extension of their previous indie gems and another baby step towards radio-friendliness.”
BOSTON PHOENIX: “Belle & Sebastian are looking to get back to basics with their first album since 2005’s tremendous The Life Pursuit. The end product is near perfect.”
BOSTON GLOBE: “A confident, pop-obsessed band that is just as interested in replicating the 1960s harmonies of the Zombies as it is in forwarding the cause of well-produced baroque rock.”
NOW MAGAZINE: “The interchanging players fit beautifully into B&S’s repertoire of unrequited pop anthems and introspective acoustic ballads.”
ALL MUSIC GUIDE: “Song for song, it’s as strong as any of their records — if anything, these 11 songs are the tightest they have ever been — and Stuart Murdoch remains faithful to the aesthetic he essayed at the outset of his career, finding sustenance in the fine details, his obsessions carrying the weight of passion.”
PREFIX: “Reminds us of the small lyrical and melodic joys Murdoch and company are still capable of. It’s all there in those opening lines: Your familiar arms, I remember.”
COKE MACHINE GLOW: “A record of out-and-out prettiness.”
THE GUARDIAN: “It takes just under four minutes for Belle and Sebastian’s eighth album to demand a place among the best of their career. The magic moment comes in opener I Didn’t See It Coming’.
DROWNED IN SOUND: “Write About Love is a well crafted, very listenable album, one that sees Belle and Sebastian ditch the qualities of their music that were starting to cloy without totally jettisoning the old charm.”
BBC: “For their eighth album, and first for four years, B&S have reconvened after extra-curricular dalliances, such as Murdoch’s God Help the Girl and drummer Richard Colburn’s Tired Pony, to reclaim their crown from, well, no one. There’s simply no one else like them.” (…) “Write About Love is a cracking pop album and a fine addition to a great band’s already impressive catalogue. Had it been released a few months ago, it would’ve literally been the sound of summer.”
CONSEQUENCE OF SOUND: “Murdoch and suddenly Sarah Martin, who’s two numbers nearly steal the album, are masterful songwriters, who can competently cover the ground of all eras of rock and roll history without breaking a sweat.” (…) “Mark another victory for the mopey nerds. “
CLASH: “This latest record inhabits a more delicate sonic framework, reminiscent of early B & S…Overall this is a beautifully mellow comeback for the modest indie-pop luminaries. “
NO RIPCORD: Write About Love may not be a great leap forward for Belle and Sebastian, but it’s such an enjoyable record it’s difficult to hold it against them.
THE GUARDIAN: “It takes just under four minutes for Belle and Sebastian’s eighth album to demand a place among the best of their career.”
Q: “Come On Sister’s moreish synth-pop and the gleeful bubblegum, of Stevie Jackson’s I’m Not Living In The Real World prove their sense of indie wonder remains undimmed.”