So Tough

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So Tough
Studio album by Saint Etienne
Released 9 March 1993 (1993-03-09)
Recorded Summer – Autumn 1992 at RMS, London
Genre Alternative dance, ambient house, synthpop, electronica

48:29 (UK version)

55:40 (US version)
Label Heavenly (UK) – HVNLP 6
Warners (US)- 9 45166
Producer Saint Etienne
Saint Etienne chronology
Foxbase Alpha
So Tough
You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone
Singles from So Tough
  1. "Avenue"
    Released: October 1992
  2. "You're in a Bad Way"
    Released: February 1993
  3. "Hobart Paving"
    Released: May 1993
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
BBC (favourable)[2]
Robert Christgau A–[3]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[4]
Pitchfork Media (8.9/10)[5]
The Village Voice favourable[6]

So Tough (1993) is the second studio album by British band Saint Etienne. It is their highest-charting album to date, reaching No. 7 on the UK Album Chart. The album takes its title from the Beach Boys album Carl and the Passions – "So Tough".[7]

The album was indebted to sixties classics, The Who Sell Out by The Who, Smile by The Beach Boys and Head by The Monkees. The album was originally intended as a concept album which starts at Mario's Cafe in London then travels around the world, however it came to be viewed as a solely London album.[8]

Samples and references[edit]

One of the distinctive features of the album is the use of samples between the songs. The band were keen to use linking dialogue, similar to that used in The Who Sell Out or on contemporary hip-hop albums.[9] They are taken from a variety of sources including dialogue from film and television. The original sources include the films Peeping Tom, Billy Liar, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Lord of the Flies and That'll Be the Day, as well as the television series The Family and the 1958 stereo demonstration album A Journey into Stereophonic Sound. Additionally, the track "Conchita Martinez" features a recurring sample from the opening riff of Rush's 1980 hit "The Spirit of Radio".

The band had intended to use a number of samples from American films, but the cost of clearing these samples led them to using primarily British samples.[9]

The song "Mario's Cafe" was inspired by a real Kentish Town restaurant of that name.[10]


The album cover features a picture of lead singer Sarah Cracknell aged 6 taken by her father Derek Cracknell.[citation needed]


The album was reissued as a limited edition 2-CD set with You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone.

The US release added "Join Our Club" (3:22), which had been a UK single in 1992. "Who Do You Think You Are" (3:49) is included on some US versions between "Here Come Clown Feet" and "Junk the Morgue". "You're in a Bad Way" (3:08), and "Hobart Paving" (4:57) are presented in their single versions, including extra instrumentation. The former is longer, while the latter features a drum pattern not present on the original version.

The album was reissued on 31 August 2009, as part of the ongoing Deluxe Editions of the band's recordings. The new release features B-sides, rare and unreleased tracks.

Track listing[edit]

1993 release[edit]

All songs written and composed by Stanley, Wiggs; except where indicated. 

CD: Heavenly / HVNLP6CD (United Kingdom)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Mario's Cafe"     4:38
2. "Railway Jam"     4:14
3. "Date With Spelman"     0:18
4. "Calico"   Stanley, Wiggs, Mais 5:12
5. "Avenue"   Catt, Cracknell, Stanley, Wiggs 7:40
6. "You're in a Bad Way" (Substituted for the single version (3:07) on US and Japanese editions) Cracknell, Stanley, Wiggs 2:43
7. "Memo to Pricey"     0:23
8. "Hobart Paving" (Substituted for the single version (4:57) on US and Japanese editions)   5:03
9. "Leafhound"     4:05
10. "Clock Milk"     0:14
11. "Conchita Martinez"     4:02
12. "No Rainbows for Me"     3:56
13. "Here Come Clown Feet"     0:22
14. "Junk the Morgue"     5:12
15. "Chicken Soup"     0:33
16. "Join Our Club" (Bonus track on US (Warner Bros. / 9 45166-2 (United States)) and Japanese editions (Warner Bros. / WPCP-5209 (Japan)))   3:22
17. "Archway People" (Bonus track on the Japanese edition)   3:17

2009 reissue[edit]


The liner notes list the album's personnel as follows:


from "Avenue"
  • "Some Place Else"
  • "Paper"
  • "Johnny in the Echo Cafe"
  • "Avenue (Variety club mix)" (Remixed by Gordon King and The "Natural" Pete Smith)
  • "Avenue (Butlins mix)" (Remixed by Gordon King and The "Natural" Pete Smith)
  • "Avenue (Martial mix)" (Remixed by Rudy Tambala/A.R. Kane)
  • "Avenue (Venusian mix)" (Remixed by Rudy Tambala/A.R. Kane)
from "You're in a Bad Way"
  • "Archway People"
  • "California Snow Story"
  • "Duke Duvet"
  • "St. Etienne Speaks..."
from "Hobart Paving" / "Who Do You Think You Are"
  • "Who Do You Think You Are"
  • "Who Do You Think You Are (Quex-RD)" (Remixed by Aphex Twin)
  • "Your Head My Voice (Voix Revirement)" (Remixed by Aphex Twin)
  • "Who Do You Think You Are (Strobelights & Platform Shoes Mix) (Remixed by Roger Sanchez)
  • "Who Do You Think You Are (Nu Solution Mix) (Remixed by Roger Sanchez)
  • "Who Do You Think You Are (Saturday Night Fever Dub) (Remixed by Roger Sanchez)
  • "Who Do You Think You Are (Radio Remix) (Remixed by Roger Sanchez)


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ BBC review
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (May 1993). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice (New York: VV Publishing Corporation). Retrieved 2012-08-24. 
  4. ^ Rolling Stone review
  5. ^ Pitchfork Media review
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (15 June 1993). "Trying to Be Nice". The Village Voice (New York: VV Publishing Corporation). Retrieved 2012-08-24. 
  7. ^ Interview with Bob Stanley in Record Collector. Qtd. in "So Tough album", Saint Etienne Heaven. 29 June 2002.
  8. ^ "Record Collector". November 1995: 36–39. 
  9. ^ a b "Bob Stanley on Saint Etienne's reissues and his love of pop". The Quietus. 17 November 2012. 
  10. ^ Hann, Michael (3 August 2004). "Frying up the charts". The Guardian. 

External links[edit]