“Step Into My Office, Baby” is a song by Belle & Sebastian, released as their first single for Rough Trade Records in 2003. The track was produced by Trevor Horn and is lifted from Dear Catastrophe Waitress – the first of the band’s singles or EPs to also feature on an album. The front cover features band member Bobby Kildea with Roxanne Clifford (later of Veronica Falls) and Hannah Robinson.
Interesting that the move to a larger indie label saw the band move away from the tradition of keeping singles and album tracks separate; Indeed, it’s worth recalling that the single was released a full six weeks after the album,and so must have been part of a strategy to drive up sales beyond those of the loyal fan base. I suppose it’s part of the price to pay for being allowed to work with such a big name producer as Trevor Horn, a move that was a worry to many long-term fans who feared the unique sound of the band would somehow be forever lost. But what did the reviewers make of it all??
“Step Into My Office, Baby” is the lead single from Belle & Sebastian’s fine 2003 record Dear Catastrophe Waitress. Produced by Trevor Horn, the song is the most produced B&S song, with shifting moods and sounds, veering from bouncy, almost glitter rhythms to weepy string sections.
It is a stunning song, easily one of their best. The other two songs on the EP are very good as well, certainly good enough to be included on the album. “Love on the March” is a sweet bossa nova ballad with many cute ba-ba-bas and the usual pithy lyrics, and “Desperation Made a Fool of Me” is a laid-back piano with stately piano and a wistful vocal from the ever graceful Stuart Murdoch. The disc also contains the very funny video for “Step Into My Office, Baby” as a bonus. Belle & Sebastian have always released very high-quality singles and this is no exception.
So there you have it…a thumbs up from the critics and a thumbs-up too from the long-time fan. Yup, it was totally different from the older material but it was great to hear the band having the confidence to make such great strides forwards. It would have been easy enough to go synthetic on the sound but nope, this was the full-blown orchestral backing with 22 additional musicians involved. And that wouldn’t have been a cheap day in the studio.
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Step Into My Office, Baby
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Love On The March
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Desperation Made A Fool Of Me
The single stalled at #32 in the charts. A reasonably good showing for a B&S effort, but I’m sure a source of disappointment for the team at Rough Trade who had staked so much on the band.