Stuart Murdoch

God Help the Girl [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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God Help the Girl was the name Stuart Murdoch gave his 2009 female-fronted Belle & Sebastian project -- a detour so intriguing, he decided to spin it off into another endeavor, also called God Help the Girl. This 2014 project realized Murdoch's original cinematic ambitions, turning the songs from 2009 into a film starring Emily Browning, which means that the 2014 album called God Help the Girl is a bit of a strange beast. It has previously released songs -- one of which, "Act of the Apostle," was pulled directly from Belle & Sebastian's catalog -- remixes of tracks from the 2009 album, several newly performed versions of songs from 2009 now performed by the cast, snippets of dialogue, instrumentals and, finally, three new songs written by Murdoch and sung by the actors. It's at once disjointed and cohesive, a patchwork with a distinct point of view that can be beguiling and frustrating. Murdoch's writing remains sharp and sly, at least as far as the completed songs are concerned. These aren't scarce on the soundtrack but they are scattered, sometimes arriving as clusters ("God Help the Girl," "The Psychiatrist Is In") but often hidden amidst sketches and dialogue. Sometimes, they're undermined by the actors, who have a bit of homely charm that perhaps plays better onscreen than it does on record. Nothing feels ill-considered and the soundtrack often does evoke the sophisticated '60s style that's one of Belle & Sebastian's specialties but, as a record, this is ultimately a novelty: a fitfully interesting footnote in a brilliant career.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
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5
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7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
feat: Celia Garcia
22
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26
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28
blue highlight denotes track pick