Album of the Day
Like The Smiths or Belle & Sebastian, Saint Etienne has the rare ability to exude early-'60s British cool while sounding wholly contemporary. The U.K. trio's second album, 1993's SO TOUGH, is well versed in pop classicism – songwriters/keyboardists Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs are both former music journalists – though it's couched in club-friendly beats and dreamy electronica. Sarah Cracknell's pure, airy voice leads the way through 11 alluring tracks (including such highlights as “Mario's Cafe,” “Hobart Paving” and the sublime “You're In A Bad Way”), with snippets of vintage film/TV dialogue interspersed to add to the atmosphere. Released 25 years ago, SO TOUGH became a Top 10 hit in England, and stands among Saint Etienne's finest albums.