Nobody's Empire

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"Nobody's Empire" is a song by Scottish indie pop group Belle and Sebastian. The song deals with leader singer Stuart Murdoch's experience with myalgic encephalomyelitis.[1] The song appears on Belle and Sebastian's 2015 album Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance; it is their ninth studio album.[1]

Background[edit | edit source]

Speaking to The Guardian, Murdoch described writing the song:
“There’s a year of my life bottled into every line...When I wrote it I was fighting the same demons. I wrote the song to cheer myself up. I wanted to write my own ‘glorious’, in inverted commas, history. I want to walk out of this room and be a normal person. I want to go on tour with the band. All of this is a day-to-day battle so it was absolutely real for me, writing that song.”[1]

Lyrics[edit | edit source]

Lying on my bed, I was reading French

With the light too bright for my senses

From this hiding place life was way too much

It was loud and rough round the edges


So I faced the wall when an old man called

Out of dreams that I would die there

But a sight unseen, you were pulling strings

You had a different idea


I was like a child, I was lying strong

And my father lifted me up there

Took me to a place where they checked my body

My soul was floating in thin-air


I clung to the bed and I clung to the past

I clung to the welcome darkness

But at the end of the night there's a green green light

The quiet before the madness


There was a girl that sang like the chime of a bell

And she put out her arm,

she touched me when I was in hell

When I was in hell


Someone sang a song and I sang along

Cause I knew the words from my childhood

Intellect ambition they fell away

And they locked me up for my own good


But I didn't mind, cause the silence was kind

It spoke to me in whispers

There was the sound of the wind and the cold cold dawn

And the quiet hum of business


Let me dangle awhile in this waiting room

I don't need to go I don't need to know what you're doing

Know what you're doing


Lying on my side you were half awake

And your face was tired and crumpled

If I had a camera I'd snap you now

Cause there's beauty in every stumble


We are out of practice we're out of sight

On the edge of nobody's empire

And if we live by books and we live by hope

Does that make us targets for gunfire?


Now I look at you, you're a mother of two

You're a quiet revolution

Marching with the crowd, singing dirty and loud

For the people's emancipation


Did I do okay, did I pave the way?

Was I strong when you were wanting?

I was tied to the yoke with a decent bloke

Who was stern but never daunting


And he told me to push and he made me feel well

He told to me to leave that vision of hell to the dying

Oh to the dying

Reception[edit | edit source]

Reviewing "Nobody's Empire" at The Awl, writer Alex Balk said,
"I have been listening to this first track from the new Belle and Sebastian album...over and over again trying to figure out what is so good about it and I am still not sure. It shouldn’t work: The verses never resolve into a chorus, leaving the listener in a state of vague dissatisfaction, and yet the crescendo at the end is somehow so uplifting that it almost makes you smile...I have to say I like it. I like it a lot. And I am not a person who has a lot of like left, so there must be something to it."[2]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Lynskey, Dorian (Dec 11, 2014). "Belle & Sebastian: 'I want to be in Abba but we're probably more like the Grateful Dead'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved Jan 9, 2019. 
  2. Balk, Alex. "Belle and Sebastian, "Nobody's Empire"". The Awl. Retrieved Jan 9, 2019. 

External links[edit | edit source]

The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.
From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history.