Beginner’s guide to Saint Etienne

Somehow one of the finest pop acts in existence is commonly woefully ignored by the world at large. Hopefully you might have come across them in the 1990s, but if you didn’t, Saint Etienne have been busy amassing an enormous back catalogue for you to enjoy.

Key moments

Their debut cover of Only Love Can Break Your HeartYou’re in a Bad Way, I Was Born on Christmas DayPale MovieHe’s on the Phone, and so many other amazing singles.

Where to start

Start with the 2009 double disc singles collection London Conversations, ideally the limited edition version which has marginally more tracks on it.

What to buy

Start with their 1991 debut Foxbase Alpha, then get 1998’s brilliant Good Humor. Finally grab their most recent Words and Music by Saint Etienne (2012). Stick to the special editions, if you can find them (some have become rather sought after).

Don’t bother with

Surprisingly, Tiger Bay (1994) turns out to be a little forgettable, despite a string of fantastic singles. Their back catalogue is pretty enormous, so stick to the albums initially.

Hidden treasure

Too many to go into any kind of detail, but try Shad Thames, from the Continental compilation, the Résérection EP, the lovely 2001 b-side Northwestern, and the entirety of Foxbase Beta.

For stowaways

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2 thoughts on “Beginner’s guide to Saint Etienne

  1. Pingback: The complete beginner’s guide | Music for stowaways

  2. Pingback: Begin again – revisiting the beginner’s guides | Music for stowaways

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