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
Released18 November 1996
StudioCaVa Studios, Glasgow
GenreChamber pop[1]
ProducerTony Doogan
Belle and Sebastian chronology
If You're Feeling Sinister
The Boy with the Arab Strap

If You're Feeling Sinister is the second album by Scottish indie pop band Belle and Sebastian. It was released in 1996 on Jeepster Records in the United Kingdom and Matador Records in the United States. It received positive reviews.

Band leader Stuart Murdoch has stated the album is probably his best collection of songs. In 2005, Belle and Sebastian released a live version of the album, 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, Belle and Sebastian were approached by a number of record labels. They signed with the independent label Jeepster Records in the interests of staying independent creatively. Jeepster was willing to accept some of the group's other demands, such as releasing no singles, not doing press or promotional events, and not appearing in promotional materials.[2]

The band began releasing the new material, written by Murdoch, after signing with Jeepster. The album took five days to record and three to mix, slightly longer than Tigermilk. It was recorded in the same studio as Tigermilk and engineer Tony Doogan worked with the band's previous engineer to maintain a similar recording style. Band member Sarah Martin, who had recently joined the band at this point, likened Tigermilk and If You're Feeling Sinister to The Beatles' albums Rubber Soul and Revolver in the sense that the two albums were recorded quickly after one another.[3]

The cover photo was taken by Murdoch of his friend, Ciara MacLaverty; like Murdoch, MacLaverty suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome.[4][5]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[6]
Chicago Tribune4/4 stars[7]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[8]
Entertainment WeeklyA[9]
The Guardian4/5 stars[10]
Q4/5 stars[11]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide5/5 stars[13]
The Village VoiceA−[15]

If You're Feeling Sinister received critical acclaim. Pitchfork placed it at number 14 in its top 100 albums of the 1990s.[16] Later, the readers of Pitchfork voted the album the 31st greatest album since the website launched in 1996.[17] Rolling Stone featured the album at number 75 on its list of "100 Best Albums of the Nineties,"[18] while Spin included the record at number 59 on its "125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years" list.[19] 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.[20]

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 band member who played on the album was interviewed. It featured archive photographs and videos from the band's early days.[21]

If You're Feeling Sinister had sold nearly 200,000 copies by the end of 2006.[22]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Stuart Murdoch.

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
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
  • Sarah Martin – violin, recorder, percussion
  • Mick Cooke – trumpet (1, 6, 10)


  1. ^ Treble staff (22 September 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. ^ Miller, Phil. "Former Belle and Sebastian album model among ten aspiring writers given grants to launch careers". The Herald (Scotland).
  6. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "If You're Feeling Sinister – Belle and Sebastian". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  7. ^ Kot, Greg (13 June 1997). "Belle and Sebastian: If You're Feeling Sinister (The Enclave)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  8. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  9. ^ Romero, Michele (11 July 1997). "If You're Feeling Sinister". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  10. ^ Sweeney, Kathy (29 November 1996). "Belle and Sebastian: If You're Feeling Sinister (Jeepster)". The Guardian.
  11. ^ Aston, Martin (February 1997). "Belle and Sebastian: If You're Feeling Sinister". Q (125): 93.
  12. ^ Vincentelli, Elisabeth (24 June 1997). "If You're Feeling Sinister". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  13. ^ Wolk, Douglas (2004). "Belle and Sebastian". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 59–60. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  14. ^ Cox, Ana Marie (October 1997). "Belle and Sebastian: If You're Feeling Sinister". Spin. 13 (7): 141. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert (3 March 1998). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  16. ^ "Top 100 Albums of the 1990s". Pitchfork.
  17. ^ "The People's List Results / Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  18. ^ "75: Belle and Sebastian, 'If You're Feeling Sinister'". Rolling Stone.
  19. ^ "59: 125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years". Spin.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ Pitchfork (18 February 2013). "Pitchfork.tv Presents a Documentary Film on Belle and Sebastian's If You're Feeling Sinister". Pitchforkmedia.com. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  22. ^ Plagenhoef, Scott (15 September 2007). Belle & Sebastian's If You're Feeling Sinister. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. ISBN 9781441194909.