Top Ten Albums of 2012: # 3

words and music


On their last album’s penultimate song, this venerable British trio elegized its past while poignantly considering an uncertain future. “Over The Border” kicks off their long-awaited follow-up with a similarly structured track (spoken word verses bursting into a sung chorus) but replaces the earlier song’s melancholy with wisdom sparked by wonderment and possibility. Throughout, Sarah Cracknell, in a myriad of reminisces, recalls the ongoing effect music has had on her life while also pondering where it has yet to take her. It’s as if the pre-teen girl on the cover of So Tough (a photo of Cracknell herself, after all) grew up but still retained a sense of discovery. Since they always came off more like music lovers than career musicians, it’s hardly surprising to see them return after a seven-year hiatus with a concept album about what they most adore: getting ready to go out to a concert (“Tonight”), utilizing an iPod to transform one’s everyday existence (“I’ve Got Your Music”), chatting online about British number one hits (“Popular”, a blog I actually have bookmarked to the right) and completely losing one’s self on the dance floor (“DJ”). Words and Music is Saint Etienne at their very best; that it ends up at # 3 on this list tells you something’s rather exceptional about the two albums yet to come.

Favorite tracks: “Tonight”, “DJ”, “Heading For The Fair”, “Over The Border”, “I’ve Got Your Music”, “Haunted Jukebox”

Video for “Tonight”:

Video for “DJ”: