On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Belle & Sebastian – Step into My Office, Baby (2003)
We’re staying in the UK today, dear reader, but leaving London to make our way north to Scotland and to Glasgow. Formed in 1996, Belle & Sebastian specialised in both indie rock and folk. We join the group in 2003 with the release of their sixth album, Dear Catastrophe Waitress, and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the opening track on the record, Step into My Office, Baby.
Step into My Office, Baby seems to use an extended metaphor of administrative work to describe a sexual relationship where the narrator is very much at the mercy of his lover. He is summoned to be in the office at a certain time, she wishes to give him a job (oh behave!), he has to be at her place in good time, and we even hear mention of other office workers at the mercy of their “manager”. This sounds very much like a strong and independent woman who takes lovers and controls their behaviour, they are at her mercy and seemingly powerless to do anything about it.
Belle & Sebastian are another group I have heard of but never really delved into their music. In fact, the mere mention of their name always makes me think of a Japanese anime series of the same name which first appeared there in the early 1980s but not in the UK until the late 1980s. Anyway, I digress. Step into My Office, Baby is notable as the group’s first single from an album, whereas previous ones had been standalone efforts. I did like the use of metaphor here to describe a seemingly dysfunctional relationship as akin to labouring away in an office environment. The group are still together and now have ten albums to their name.
Favourite songs so far: