Friday, June 09, 2006

The Belle and Sebastian vs. Smiths Debate Goes International

A fellow from Denmark has called me out on His MMSN page thing

"Accidentally I stumbled across this American arguing "Belle & Sebastian are better than The Smiths". This means war!"

I think he's saying American in an almost racial slur like fashion.

He may be the same fellow that posted a response to my post from yesterday.

Where's Richey? Sayeth:

"This is blasphemy, and I will have none of it.

1 Belle and Sebastian is a great band, and ten years ago they were even predicted to be "the new Smiths". Mostly because they sounded alot like The Smiths of course.
2 Belle and Sebastian has got the same clever miserable songs of love and loneliness as The Smiths, but without all the disturbing elements of fear of sex, violence, children being abused and Thatcher being killed etc, which made Morrisseys lyrics so special.
3 The Smiths broke up in part because Marr wanted musical experiments, which is quite obvious listening to Strangeways. The band was in a constant development though, unlike Belle and Sebastian who sounds just like they did ten years ago. Unfortunately they also made better records ten years ago.

I actually really likes Belle and Sebastian though. And Meat is murder is the fookin best Smiths album."

My Rebuttal:
1 Your first comment bares no rebuttal. Indeed B&S have a smilar tone and melodic sense to the smiths. Though let's be honest the Smiths sound is clearly more of a traditional rock band sound while Belle dwell in a more unique chamber pop sort of sound.
2 I would say Stuart Murdoch's disection of Catholic guilt and the sexual fumblings of inexperienced youth are in some ways more interesting and have even deeper underpinnings than the Smiths' songs.
3 This year's The Life Pursuit sounds strikingly different from earlier B&S releases. It incorporates old T-Rex style rock stomp, country, AM Pop, and even some R & B twinges. I wonder sir if you've even given the album a glance.


Blogger Pat said...

You tell him Tim!!!

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Where's Richey? said...

Yes it was me. As I said I really like Belle And Bebastian. You should write about how much (american) pop bands suck, instead of criticizing a great band like The Smiths, who really challenged the American hegemony of music.
I did not mean to be a racial, but in conflicts like this, we can not ignore the UN!

3:07 PM  
Blogger Tim Duffy said...

America has just as much good music as it does bad. I was discussing the Smiths in context with Belle and Sebastian not because they are bad (they aren't, they are in fact responsible for my second favorite song ever "There Is A Light And It Never Goes Out") but because they are comprable in the pop-nitch that they occupy.

Ignoring the UN is almost never a good idea though.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Where's Richey? said...

When I said "American hegemony". I was of course talking about MTV. I actually love alot of American bands. In Europe everybody also grew up listening to Nirvana, and noone of my friends understand my weird passion for like Bright Eyes, Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis etc.
Sorry about my big mouth.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Terrence said...

well their is one thing I'm sure we can all agree on, the Smiths are much gayer than Belle and Sebastian.

Plus Tim, I only think you find Stuart Murdoch's lyrics more interesting because you personally identify with Catholic guilt and awkward adolescent sexual experiences... or lack there of...
Plus I think Morissey's straightforward songwritting is too much for you at times, your too big of a Steven Malkmus fan, you need more word play and irony... which Belle and Sebastian has in spades.

my opinion, they're both pretty damn good... I don't really think either stands out as being particularly better though.
I think Belle and Sebastian have more great albums, while the Smiths have more great Songs... I don't know... I should get back to work and stop procrastinateing

4:41 PM  
Blogger Tim Duffy said...

Well Terrence I think we can file your opinion under afraid to take a strong stance. What are you Swiss?!?

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It appears Tim that you have backed the international bloke into a corner. Heres my very short and to the point opinion on the matter at hand. B&S have arguably put out a larger quantity of quality material than The Smiths, however the quality of those albums far surpass those of B&S. In terms of musical significance, i feel there is no question. I have uttered the words "the Smiths changed my life" and I've heard them as well. I've never heard it the other way around, maybe you have, i haven't. And as far as Morrisseys solo career goes, "Quary", and "Ringleader" are fine albums, each with an identity of their own. Sure some of his early solo work is a bit sketchy, but he has more than redeamed himself, he has reinvented himself.
To draw a parallel, The Foo Fighters have released nothing but top notch quality albums as far as I'm concerned, but you would never say they were better Than Nirvana, who in my opinion only had two during their pre-mortem run.
It's an unegual argument, because of the social signifigance of the smiths. As easy as it may sound to try and put that aside, it's something that has become imbedded in the music, and in my heart. It's important and wonderful simply because it is, and it was, and it always will be

9:43 PM  
Blogger Terrence said...

I work for the Swiss...
perhaps spinelessness is contagious.

11:07 PM  
Anonymous PB said...

Surely you guys have better things to do than this.

3:57 AM  

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