Follow TV Tropes

Following

Music / Saint Etienne

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Saint-Etienne-feature_1889.jpg
From L-to-R: Sarah Cracknell, Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs
Advertisement:

Saint Etienne is an Indie Pop group from London who are sometimes described as making "indie dance" music. The band was founded in 1991 by ex-music journalists Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs, who named it after a French football team, and they originally had rotating guest singers until Sarah Cracknell joined them permanently, midway through production of their first album.

Their most famous single is their first, a cover of the Neil Young song "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" – which was not sung by Sarah, ironically given that she is generally considered the Face of the Band otherwise.

Most of their music can accurately be described as a love song dedicated to London, the city in which the band is based, despite one of their major influences being Northern Soul music.

An incomplete discography:

Advertisement:
  • Foxbase Alpha (1991)
  • So Tough (1993)
  • Tiger Bay (1994)
  • Good Humor (1998)
  • The Misadventures of Saint Etienne (1999) (Soundtrack)
  • Sound of Water (2000)
  • Finisterre (2002)
  • Tales from Turnpike House (2005)
  • What Have You Done Today Mervyn Day? (2006) (Soundtrack)
  • Foxbase Beta (2009) (Remix Album of their debut, Foxbase Alpha)
  • Words and Music by Saint Etienne (2012)
  • Home Counties (2017)

Tropes

  • Age-Progression Song: "Over The Border".
  • Alternative Dance: often classified as "Indie Dance", which can be considered a subgenre of Alternative Dance.
  • Ballad of X: "Ballade de Saint Etienne".
  • Concept Album: Tales from Turnpike House, which features various stories about the residents in a neighbourhood somewhere in London. Also Words and Music by Saint Etienne is about music fandom.
  • The Cover Changes... Almost Everything, Actually: "I'm Too Sexy". The story goes that when they got into the studio to record the song, they couldn't remember how it goes, so they made it up on the spot.
  • Advertisement:
  • Cover Version: Quite a few, including songs by David Bowie, Teenage Fanclub, Scott Walker, and, famously, Neil Young ("Only Love Can Break Your Heart").
  • Everything Is an Instrument: "People Get Real" includes a jet engine (Heavenly Records boss Jeff Barrett is credited with "playing" it). Given that it appears prominently in the middle eight, it's effectively the song's lead solo.
  • Fourth Ranger: Long-serving backing singer Debsey Wykes.
  • Greatest Hits Album: Several, but the two-disc Smash The System: Singles And More is the best - not least because of its Neapolitan-ice-cream-colored cover.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Oh god, "Teenage Winter".
  • Hymn to Music: A favourite theme, most famously employed for "Join Our Club" and most of Words and Music by Saint Etienne.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: the repeated, distorted refrain in "Girl VII". Producer Ian Catt and remixer Richard X may be the only people outside the band who know for sure what it says - and Pete Wiggs claims he's forgotten. Lyric sites give it as "Carrie's got a boyfriend", but that may just be Fanon.
  • Listing Cities: In one song on Foxbase Alpha entitled Girl VII, Sarah starts listing London neighbourhoods and a few other cities.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The relatively upbeat "Goodnight Jack" tells the story of a woman who, after her man says he only wants to be her friend, runs him over and escapes the scene of the crime.
  • Murder Ballad: "Like A Motorway".
  • Retraux: They like to play with this in both the music and its packaging.
  • Self-Demonstrating Song: About half way through "California Snow Story", Sarah says "I think I'll just let the music play", and that's exactly what happens, as the second half is entirely instrumental.
  • Self-Deprecation: Their sleevenotes do this a lot.
  • Shout-Out: Their songs are so packed with these, it took the crowdsourcing power of the internet to decipher the dense web of references.
  • Sibling Triangle: "Sylvie", sung from the POV of Sarah's character towards her younger sister (the titular Sylvie). She warns Sylvie not to flirt too much:
    "Sylvie, girl, I'm a very patient person,
    But I'll have to shut you down,
    If you don't give up your flirting.
    Leave him alone, ''cause I know he loves me.
    Leave him alone, ''cause he tells me he loves me."
  • Song of Song Titles: "Popular".
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Pete Wiggs on "I'm Too Sexy".
  • With Lyrics: The previously instrumental "Stoned To Say The Least" gained lyrics twenty years later.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Hobart Paving" among others.
Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report