Songs for Polarbears

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Songs for Polarbears
Studio album by Snow Patrol
Released 31 August 1998
Recorded 1996
Studio Chamber Studios, Edinburgh
Genre Indie rock
Length 49:49
Label Jeepster (UK)
Never Records (US)[1]
Producer Jamie Watson
Snow Patrol chronology
Songs for Polarbears
When It's All Over We Still Have to Clear Up
Singles from Songs for Polarbears
  1. "Little Hide"
    Released: 16 February 1998
  2. "One Hundred Things You Should Have Done in Bed"
    Released: 11 May 1998
  3. "Velocity Girl / Absolute Gravity"
    Released: 9 November 1998
  4. "Starfighter Pilot"
    Released: 28 June 1999
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[2]
PopMatters 7/10 stars[3]
Pitchfork Media (8.1/10)[4]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[5]

Songs for Polarbears is the debut album by the indie rock group Snow Patrol, released on 31 August 1998 in the UK and 12 October in the US.[6]

The album charted at #143 in the UK and did not sell well upon its initial release. However, its re-release eventually went Gold in the UK.


The band was listening to a diverse range of music at the time, with majority of it being American rock like Pixies, Soundgarden and Dinosaur Jr.. Other acts included My Bloody Valentine and Super Furry Animals' first album Fuzzy Logic.[7] All these influences resulted in a musically diverse album that incorporated styles like hip hop, drone and Pavement-style indie rock.[8] The album title is a reference to the band's previous name Polarbear.[9]

Gary Lightbody said once in an interview with RTÉ's No Disco: "A Newcastle fanzine wrote the album as, buy Songs For Polarbears and get Sebadoh's III, My Bloody Valentine's Isn't Anything and The Breeders' Safari for free. And I was like, 'Ouch, that hurts. They're making us out like we were copying some American bands.'"

Gary went on to say later in a interview with BBC sound in Belfast, "That we were still young and felt like a unsigned band around 96 & 7. When the first recordings we made are first record and playing to small crowds.We were in a mist of the Post Nirvana like world that later becoming more a Brit Pop like time with Blur and Oasis storming the charts. We got a small following on the indie scene when Star Fighter Pilot came out and the video. But we were not getting much play from the major radio station or MTV. And it still felt like demo on a low budget label. We were trying hard too sound like the Foo Fighters and The Pixies and Hüsker Dü along with The Dandy Warhols and others then basically. We were trying to find a Style like and The album is a collectors item if someone first bought it in 1998".

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Gary Lightbody; all music composed by Gary Lightbody and Mark McClelland.

UK Version
No. Title Length
1. "Downhill from Here" 3:23
2. "Starfighter Pilot" 3:19
3. "The Last Shot Ringing in My Ears" 4:26
4. "Absolute Gravity" 2:45
5. "Get Balsamic Vinegar...Quick You Fool" 3:27
6. "Mahogany" 2:46
7. "NYC" 4:27
8. "Little Hide" 2:41
9. "Make Up" 2:12
10. "Velocity Girl" 4:37
11. "Days Without Paracetamol" 3:32
12. "Fifteen Minutes Old" 3:08
13. "Favourite Friend" 2:46
14. "One Hundred Things You Should Have Done in Bed" 2:11
US Version (Additional tracks)
No. Title Length
15. "I Could Stay Away Forever" 4:28
16. "Sticky Teenage Twin" 2:08
17. "Holy Cow" 1:54
18. "When You're Right, You're Right (Darth Vader Bringing In His Washing Mix)" 3:31
  • "Marketplace" (3:48) is included as a hidden track after "One Hundred Things You Should Have Done in Bed" on both versions.
  • All bonus tracks originally appeared as B-sides to the singles released from "Songs for Polarbears".[10]


Snow Patrol
Other personnel

Peak positions and certifications[edit]

Chart Provider(s) Peak
Sales Certification
Irish Albums Chart[12] IRMA 90
UK Albums Chart[13] BPI 143 100,000 Gold[14]
Organization Level Date[14]
BPI - UK Silver 3 February 2006
BPI - UK Gold 15 June 2007


  1. ^ "Snow Patrol - Songs for Polarbears (US Version)". Interscope. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ PopMatters review
  4. ^ Pitchfork Media review
  5. ^ Rolling Stone review
  6. ^ "Songs for Polarbears". Snow Patrol. Retrieved 30 June 2009. 
  7. ^ Zimmerman, Kevin (9 March 2005). "Snow Patrol". BMI. Archived from the original on October 25, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  8. ^ Syairi Ramly, Adly (9 July 2004). "Join this Snow patrol". AccessMyLibrary. The Malay Mail. Retrieved 2009-10-19.  Appears as: "The musical diversity that ranges from hip hop beats to guitar drone to Pavement-esque indie rock that can be heard on the album is strong enough of a reason to make them a cult favourite."
  9. ^ Bailie, Stuart (3 February 1999). "Licensed to chill". Hot Press. Retrieved 4 January 2010.  Appears as: "Once they were called Shrug, and more recently, Polarbear, which was changed when another, similarly titled act started getting a bit frosty. Hence the title of the album."
  10. ^ "Snow Patrol album reissues". Jeepster. Retrieved 15 June 2009. 
  11. ^ Personnel details
  12. ^ "Snow Patrol - Albums". Irish Charts. Retrieved 3 August 2009. 
  13. ^ Chart Log UK
  14. ^ a b "Certified Awards Search". BPI. Retrieved 26 August 2009.  Note: Need to manually search for 'Snow Patrol'