BELLE SCAR - 'Atoms'

Published on 11 August 2023 at 12:28

By Paul Laird

Author of "The Birth And Impact Of Britpop: Mis-Shapes, Scenesters And Insatiable Ones"


We are one week into August. 





All to reveal themselves to us. 


But I am prepared to state, without fear of feeling foolish in the months to come, that we have  already been given the best album of the year


Yes, “really”. 

No, not “really”. 

Really doesn’t cover it. 


That’s better. 


I have cobbled together a collection of 147 tracks, from the same number of artists, of music  released this year that I have loved. It is a wildly eclectic mix of musical styles. There are several  that could lay claim to the title of album of the year with some confidence. Music from iconic  figures like Kevin Rowland, pop legends like Kylie Minogue, indie darlings like Belle and  Sebastian, people you haven’t ever heard of (shame on you) like Shana Cleveland, Britpop  darlings like Blur…I could go on, but you get the general idea. This has been a good year for  roses in the pop garden. 


I am a poor (in so many ways) soul. 


Often freezingly cold thanks to the all surface and oh so little feeling of too much of the music I  am told I should love. 


I don’t love it. 

I am bored by it. 

I don’t want bangers. 

I want heart. 

I don’t want anthems. 

I want soul. 

I don’t want swagger. 

I want style. 

I don’t want nights soundtracked by blokes who are chained to the mirror and the razorblades. I want romance. 

I don’t want boors.

I want bruises on my heart. 

If only there were an artist of heart, soul, style, and romance who could leave my heart bruised by  the sheer force of their beauty. 

An artist who could apply the soothing balm of Gilead to all my aches and pains. 

An artist who could make me cry out songs of praise to a God I probably don’t really believe in… or who I am fairly sure isn’t listening to me anymore. 

My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me? 

But tonight I opened my eyes to see, opened my ears to hear, opened my heart to the blistering  beauty of exactly the artist I had been seeking. 


Belle Scar. 


Thank you God. 


This is the soundtrack to our lives. 

Or the lives we wished we had led… 

Grand, operatic, cinematic, never automatic. 

Everything here is exactly as it should be. 

There is not a note, a word, a breath, a gap, a pause that is not required. 


In almost every moment I am reminded of why I fell in love with music in the first place.  Music has always been an escape from, and a reflection of, my life at its best and worst moments. This is what “Atoms” delivers…escape and reflection. 


There is a purity of ambition here, a sense that she is demanding that the world listen…not  because she is entitled, but because she is proud. And she is right to be proud. Few artists ever  manage to create something as magnificent as this. In a world better than this one “Atoms”  would make Belle Scar a household name, songs like “Where do we Begin” would play on a near  constant loop on radio stations across the country, it would reach number one, young people  would cover their walls with her image. 

We don’t live in a world that will make any of that happen. 


How I wish it were not so. 


Instead she must console herself with the knowledge that while most men, as Thoreau pointed  out, live lives of quiet desperation, she has refused to be quiet and has, instead, poured that  desperation into something which is greater than disposable pop music, and created art. 





The world is full of crashing bores, but for those of us with a willingness to be something other  than that, to fill our lives with the things that are the antidote to that, then “Atoms” is what we  have been waiting for. 






Let your heart be filled.