To bear the weight of repeated listens requires the song, not the performance, to transcend throwaway pop with a knowing wink of recognition in its direction. ‘Act Of The Apostle’ originally formed part of a duo of songs on Belle and Sebastian’s ‘The Life Pursuit’, but here it is reused to open Stuart Murdoch’s attempt at making an album of Motown-esque simplicity, where the performer and the creator are clearly defined.
We follow the thoughts of our young friend as she tries to make sense of all that surrounds her. As she dreams of reasons why she would be heading to the big city, we are whisked away together as her imagination takes over. One moment we’re in a ball room in the big city, with your old life behind you and a brass band celebrating your modest accomplishments in Maths and Science …….. and the next we plummet back to reality.
The songwriting prowess on show is no conincidence, Stuart Murdoch has been writing songs of this calibre for years with Belle and Sebastian. But these three ladies chosen to front ‘God Help The Girl’ give his songs a sheen that had been missing previously, and they characterise them with an ease only granted by a pop singer. Previous versions of this song were Stuart telling a story, whereas now we feel part of the narrative.
I’m a genius, a prodigy,
A demon at Maths and Science, I’m up for a prize,
If you gotta grow up sometime, you’ve to do it on your own,
I don’t think I could stand to be stuck,
That’s the way that things were going.
Sometimes it’s good to tell yourself you’re great, you never know where it might get you.