If You're Feeling Sinister

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If You're Feeling Sinister
Belle And Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister.jpg
Studio album by Belle and Sebastian
Released 18 November 1996
Studio CaVa Studios, Glasgow
Genre Chamber pop[1]
Length 41:17
Label Jeepster, Matador (re-issue)
Producer Tony Doogan
Belle and Sebastian chronology
If You're Feeling Sinister
The Boy with the Arab Strap
(1998)The Boy with the Arab Strap1998

If You're Feeling Sinister is the second album by Scottish indie pop band Belle and Sebastian, released on the independent label Jeepster Records in the United Kingdom and Matador Records in the United States. The album was released to much critical praise in 1996.

Band leader Stuart Murdoch has stated in interviews that this is probably his best collection of songs. In 2005, Belle and Sebastian released a live version of the album entitled If You're Feeling Sinister: Live at the Barbican on the iTunes Music Store.

Recording and production[edit]

After the release of their debut album Tigermilk, the group had been approached by a number of record labels interested in representing them. They opted to sign with the smaller independent label Jeepster Records in the interest of being able to stay independent creatively. Jeepster was also willing to accept some of the group's other demands like not releasing singles from their albums, not doing press or promotional events and not appearing in the band's promotional materials.[2]

Much of the album's material had already been written by Murdoch, so once the group finished signing with Jeepster they began rehearsing for the new album. The group spent slightly longer in the studio than with Tigermilk, but still completed the recording in just 5 days with an additional 3 days to mix it. The album was recorded in the same studio as Tigermilk and engineer Tony Doogan worked with their prior engineer to preserve the recording's style. Band member Sarah Martin likened Tigermilk and If You're Feeling Sinister to Rubber Soul and Revolver in the sense that the two albums were recorded so quickly after one another.[3]

The album's cover photo was taken by Murdoch of a friend and co-sufferer of chronic fatigue syndrome.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[5]
Chicago Tribune 4/4 stars[6]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[7]
Entertainment Weekly A[8]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[9]
Q 4/5 stars[10]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[12]
Spin 8/10[13]
The Village Voice A−[14]

If You're Feeling Sinister received critical acclaim. Pitchfork placed the album at number 14 in its top 100 albums of the 1990s.[15] Later, the readers of Pitchfork named the album as the 31st greatest album since the website launched in 1996.[16] Rolling Stone featured the album at number 75 on its list of "100 Best Albums of the Nineties,"[17] while Spin included the record at number 59 on its "125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years" list.[18] If You're Feeling Sinister also appears as an entry in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die as chosen by music critics.[19]

In 2007, as part of the 33⅓ series, Scott Plagenhoef wrote a book about the album.

In February 2013, Pitchfork.tv released an hour-long documentary about the album directed by RJ Bentler. For the documentary, every member that was present on the album was interviewed and featured several archival photos and videos from the band's early days.[20]

If You're Feeling Sinister has shifted nearly 200,000 units through 2006. [21]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Stuart Murdoch.

No. Title Length
1. "The Stars of Track and Field" 4:48
2. "Seeing Other People" 3:48
3. "Me and the Major" 3:51
4. "Like Dylan in the Movies" 4:14
5. "The Fox in the Snow" 4:11
6. "Get Me Away from Here, I'm Dying" 3:25
7. "If You're Feeling Sinister" 5:21
8. "Mayfly" 3:42
9. "The Boy Done Wrong Again" 4:17
10. "Judy and the Dream of Horses" 3:40
Total length: 41:17


  • Stuart Murdoch – lead vocals, guitar, piano
  • Stuart David – bass
  • Isobel Campbell – cello, vocals, percussion, recorder
  • Chris Geddes – keyboards, piano
  • Richard Colburn – drums
  • Stevie Jackson – guitar, vocals, harmonica, co-lead vocals on "The Fox in the Snow" and "The Boy Done Wrong Again"
  • Sarah Martin – violin, recorder, percussion
  • Mick Cooke – trumpet (1, 6, 10)


  1. ^ Treble staff (September 22, 2016). "10 Essential Chamber Pop Albums". Treblezine. 
  2. ^ Belle and Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister. Pitchfork Classic. 2013. Event occurs at 19:24. 
  3. ^ Belle and Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister. Pitchfork Classic. 2013. Event occurs at 22:30. 
  4. ^ Murdoch, Stuart. "Sleevenotes - If You’re Feeling Sinister". Belle & Sebastian. 
  5. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "If You're Feeling Sinister – Belle and Sebastian". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 December 2015. 
  6. ^ Kot, Greg (13 June 1997). "Belle and Sebastian: If You're Feeling Sinister (The Enclave)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 December 2015. 
  7. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8. 
  8. ^ Romero, Michele (11 July 1997). "If You're Feeling Sinister". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 7 December 2015. 
  9. ^ Sweeney, Kathy (29 November 1996). "Belle and Sebastian: If You're Feeling Sinister (Jeepster)". The Guardian. 
  10. ^ Aston, Martin (February 1997). "Belle and Sebastian: If You're Feeling Sinister". Q (125): 93. 
  11. ^ Vincentelli, Elisabeth (24 June 1997). "If You're Feeling Sinister". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 7 December 2015. 
  12. ^ Wolk, Douglas (2004). "Belle and Sebastian". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 59–60. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  13. ^ Cox, Ana Marie (October 1997). "Belle and Sebastian: If You're Feeling Sinister". Spin. 13 (7): 141. Retrieved 7 December 2015. 
  14. ^ Christgau, Robert (3 March 1998). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 7 December 2015. 
  15. ^ "Top 100 Albums of the 1990s". Pitchfork. 
  16. ^ http://www.pitchfork.com/peopleslist/
  17. ^ "75: Belle and Sebastian, 'If You're Feeling Sinister'". Rolling Stone. 
  18. ^ "59: 125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years". Spin. 
  19. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2. 
  20. ^ Pitchfork (2013-02-18). "Pitchfork.tv Presents a Documentary Film on Belle and Sebastian's If You're Feeling Sinister". Pitchforkmedia.com. Retrieved 2013-02-19. 
  21. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=P_uoAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA39&lpg=PA39&dq=belle+and+sebastian+nielsen+soundscan&source=bl&ots=4WbHwj_iFp&sig=kIMgDZMdJ1CA_dtoXdQ9WrQ4Db8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwinn8SPxsDVAhUGuRQKHSKYBlEQ6AEIQTAE#v=onepage&q=belle%20and%20sebastian%20nielsen%20soundscan&f=false