Features | Awards

The Established Artists Pissing Off Their Fans with a Ridiculous Side Project Award

By Skip Perry | 15 December 2009

God Help the Girl :: God Help the Girl
(Matador; 2009)

The BQE might the worst side project of the year, but no one should be surprised by flakiness from Sufjan Stevens at this point. Instead, most of my “stop wasting your talents” ire this year was directed at a couple British semi-legends. I’ll let Wiki set the scene: “God Help the Girl is a musical film due to be shot in 2010, written by Stuart Murdoch, frontman of Scottish indie pop band Belle & Sebastian. … The LP features lead vocals by newcomer Catherine Ireton, and guest vocals from Asya, lead singer of the Seattle teenage indie band Smoosh and Neil Hannon from The Divine Comedy.”

How precious is this shit? Super precious. Inevitably precious. At first I thought Murdoch and company were stealing and putting their own spin on ’60s tracks à la Amy Winehouse. In fact they are stealing Belle & Sebastian songs and performing them in the style of Belle & Sebastian. You can’t help but hum along. It speaks well of Belle & Sebastian that their music can work in the style of Burt Bacharach horns-and-violins mini-symphonies, it speaks well of Stuart Murdoch for knowing how to reposition himself, and it speaks well of Neil Hannon for hitching his wagon to the right horse. But wouldn’t everyone rather hear a new Divine Comedy album or a new Belle & Sebastian album? It’s not as if both acts don’t still have it, as Victory for the Comic Muse and The Life Pursuit showed only three years ago. This is a truly pointless exercise. Expect to see the 2010 reissue at a Starbucks near you while Liberation and Tigermilk languish in indie obscurity.