Deferred Hat Tip: Belle & Sebastian's Dear Catastrophe Waitress
There's probably a specific type of hell for people like me: I who can name drop a Belle & Sebastian song off the top of their head, can toss their songs onto mix tapes, have owned the majority of their catalog for several years without ever once even thinking about the possibility of maybe listening to it.
It's a weird Dante-meets-indie version of hell where Fergie reigns queen and forces those of us who've shamefully and willingly missed great records reside, being forced to listen to will.i.am on repeat. We'll all be forced to wear ironic t-shirts and stare at outsider art all day long, maybe we'll be extra's in Animal Collective's upcoming Guggenheim exhibit.
This isn't about my future though, it's about a great record from nearly seven years ago that I shunned away as being, I don't know, too pussy or something -- who the hell knows what my 2003 self was thinking.
Guess what, though? I was wrong, and Belle & Sebastian fans, you've found yourself the newest convert. I can't imagine you have many new intakes seeing as how the band hasn't released anything in a few years, though, so if you could get me a nametag, that'd be great. Thanks.
I'm rather certain there are more than a few of you out there more than willing to critique my late entry choice, Dear Catastrophe Waitress? you're thinking, "everyone knows If You're Feeling Sinister or The Boy with the Arab Strap is their best."
Well, you know what? I wasn't feeling particularly sinister in 1996, I'm pretty sure I was listening to Bad Religion and practicing the punk-rock art of self-loathing. And when 1998 rolled around, I was far too self-conscious to like anything with the words "Arab Strap" in the title, even if I had no clue what that meant. Besides the name Belle & Sebastian has kept me away for longer than I should publically admit. Why not call yourself the Whiney Cookie Cutters?
My ID tells me I'm a grown up now, though, so wussy music can be considered classy, and that's exactly what Dear Catastrophe Waitress is to me. Sure, I'm still going to use the word adorable to describe it, but I'm okay with it. I'm okay with adorable music every now and then.
I can't imagine a song cuter than "Piazza, New York Catcher." It's just creaming cookie dough all over the place, and I'm eating it up because I'm okay with music that spews cookie all over my face now. I'm an adult, and adults like wussy shit like Belle & Sebastian.
If you'd have asked me in 2003 what I thought of Dear Catastrophe Waitress I'd have told you I thought it was lame (seriously, I'd probably have used that exact word, and then I'd roll my eyes or something). It wasn't avant-garde enough. There isn't enough experimentation here, I'd probably say.
Maybe I'm getting old, maybe this type of music is okay now because my ears have grown incapable of comprehending mind-bending new sounds. I don't really know, and I don't particularly care because when I tossed on this record last week, it actually put a smile on my cynical hate-the-world-face.