If You're Feeling Sinister

If You're Feeling Sinister is the second album by Scottish indie pop band Belle and Sebastian. It was released in 1996 on Jeepster Records in the United Kingdom and in 1997 by Matador Records in the United States. It is often ranked among the best albums of the nineties.

If You're Feeling Sinister
Belle And Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister.jpg
Studio album by
Released18 November 1996
StudioCaVa Studios, Glasgow
GenreIndie pop[1]
ProducerTony Doogan
Belle and Sebastian chronology
If You're Feeling Sinister
Dog on Wheels

Band leader Stuart Murdoch has stated the album is probably his best collection of songs. In 2005, Belle and Sebastian released a live version, If You're Feeling Sinister: Live at the Barbican.

Recording and productionEdit

After the release of their debut album Tigermilk, Belle and Sebastian were approached by a number of record labels. They signed with the independent label Jeepster Records in the interests of staying independent creatively. Jeepster was willing to accept some of the group's other demands, such as releasing no singles, not doing press or promotional events, and not appearing in promotional materials.[2]

The band began releasing the new material, written by Murdoch, after signing with Jeepster. The album took five days to record and three to mix, slightly longer than Tigermilk. It was recorded in the same studio as Tigermilk and engineer Tony Doogan worked with the band's previous engineer to maintain a similar recording style. Band member Sarah Martin, who had recently joined the band at this point, likened Tigermilk and If You're Feeling Sinister to The Beatles' albums Rubber Soul and Revolver in the sense that the two albums were recorded quickly after one another.[3]

The cover photo was taken by Murdoch of his friend, Ciara MacLaverty; like Murdoch, MacLaverty suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome.[4][5]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [6]
Chicago Tribune    [7]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [8]
Entertainment WeeklyA[9]
The Guardian     [10]
Q     [11]
Rolling Stone     [12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [13]
The Village VoiceA−[15]

If You're Feeling Sinister received critical acclaim. Pitchfork placed it at number 14 in its top 100 albums of the 1990s.[16] Later, the readers of Pitchfork voted the album the 31st greatest album released between 1996 and 2011.[17] Rolling Stone featured the album at number 75 on its list of "100 Best Albums of the Nineties,"[18] while Spin included the record at number 59 on its "125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years" list.[19] If You're Feeling Sinister also appears as an entry in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die as chosen by music critics.[20] The album was placed at number 8 on The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop annual critics' poll for 1997.[21] The album was ranked No. 481 of the Top 500 Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone in 2020.[22]

In 2007, as part of the 33⅓ series, Scott Plagenhoef wrote a book about the album.

In February 2013, Pitchfork.tv released an hour-long documentary about the album directed by RJ Bentler. For the documentary, every band member who played on the album was interviewed. It featured archive photographs and videos from the band's early days.[23]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Stuart Murdoch.

If You're Feeling Sinister track listing
1."The Stars of Track and Field"4:48
2."Seeing Other People"3:48
3."Me and the Major"3:50
4."Like Dylan in the Movies"4:15
5."The Fox in the Snow"4:10
6."Get Me Away from Here, I'm Dying"3:26
7."If You're Feeling Sinister"5:20
9."The Boy Done Wrong Again"4:18
10."Judy and the Dream of Horses"3:40
Total length:41:17


  • Stuart Murdoch – lead vocals, guitar, piano
  • Stuart David – bass
  • Isobel Campbell – cello, vocals, percussion, recorder
  • Chris Geddes – keyboards, piano
  • Richard Colburn – drums
  • Stevie Jackson – guitar, vocals, harmonica
  • Sarah Martin – violin, recorder, percussion
  • Mick Cooke – trumpet (1, 6, 10)


Chart performance for If You're Feeling Sinister
Chart (1996–1998) Peak
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[24] 23
UK Albums (OCC)[25] 191


  1. ^ Treble staff (22 September 2016). "10 Essential Chamber Pop Albums". Treblezine.
  2. ^ Belle and Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister. Pitchfork Classic. 2013. Event occurs at 19:24.
  3. ^ Belle and Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister. Pitchfork Classic. 2013. Event occurs at 22:30.
  4. ^ Murdoch, Stuart. "Sleevenotes - If You're Feeling Sinister". Belle & Sebastian.
  5. ^ Miller, Phil. "Former Belle and Sebastian album model among ten aspiring writers given grants to launch careers". The Herald (Scotland).
  6. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "If You're Feeling Sinister – Belle and Sebastian". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  7. ^ Kot, Greg (13 June 1997). "Belle and Sebastian: If You're Feeling Sinister (The Enclave)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  8. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Belle and Sebastian". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  9. ^ Romero, Michele (11 July 1997). "If You're Feeling Sinister". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  10. ^ Sweeney, Kathy (29 November 1996). "Belle and Sebastian: If You're Feeling Sinister (Jeepster)". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  11. ^ Aston, Martin (February 1997). "Belle and Sebastian: If You're Feeling Sinister". Q (125): 93. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  12. ^ Vincentelli, Elisabeth (24 June 1997). "If You're Feeling Sinister". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  13. ^ Wolk, Douglas (2004). "Belle and Sebastian". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 59–60. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  14. ^ Cox, Ana Marie (October 1997). "Belle and Sebastian: If You're Feeling Sinister". Spin. 13 (7): 141. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert (3 March 1998). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  16. ^ "Top 100 Albums of the 1990s". Pitchfork.
  17. ^ "The People's List Results / Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  18. ^ "75: Belle and Sebastian, 'If You're Feeling Sinister'". Rolling Stone.
  19. ^ "59: 125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years". Spin.
  20. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  21. ^ "Robert Christgau: Pazz & Jop 1997: Critics Poll". www.robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  22. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. 22 September 2020. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  23. ^ Pitchfork (18 February 2013). "Pitchfork.tv Presents a Documentary Film on Belle and Sebastian's If You're Feeling Sinister". Pitchforkmedia.com. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  24. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Belle and Sebastian – If You're Feeling Sinister". Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  25. ^ "Chart Log UK 1994–2010: Darren B – David Byrne". zobbel.de. Retrieved 26 June 2021.