Metamodernism and Belle and Sebastian: Just a MetaModern Rock Song

Metamodernism is one of the more recent frameworks for understanding and discussing popular culture, and metamodern studies and music have become a particularly popular topic. This essay looks at the metamodern conditions of Belle and Sebastian.

Twee chamber pop darlings with a hint of the obscure and just a little bit odd. This is a fair description of Belle and Sebastian, a Scottish band that has charmed a legion of fans with their unique blends of up beat and down beat pop and 1970s style chamber folk, all tinged with hints of rock and electronica. Despite their relative popularity, Belle and Sebastian have still remained on the edges of the alternative scene – still too obscure and without a massive commercial success to be truly mainstream but far too well known and critically acclaimed to be truly alternative.

This essay looks at the metamodern conditions of Belle and Sebastian. The situation of their popularity alone is enough to have them dancing with ideas of metamodernism – occupying multiple positions between two poles – but we’re more concerned here with how the ideas of metamodernism fit with the overall image of the band, their musical style and their lyrics.

This is an excerpt from a longer essay published in Vivid Scribe’s Pop Thinking volume 2, available here.

Also, check out our comic Metamodern Musicals: An Essay Comic on Pop Music and Cinema for more ideas on metamodernism and music.

Kate Krake

Kate Krake (aka Kate Murphy) is a writer with a long established passion for all realms of popular culture. She lives in Brisbane, Australia. Find out more on Kate's Blog.

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