In our 2011 end-of-the-year post on veteran bands to watch out for in 2012, we touted Saint Etienne as one of the hot acts slated to release new material this year. While writing that article, I could not help but feel that some of these artists that we talked about in that blog post would undoubtedly disappoint us with their musical output. Fortunately, Saint Etienne is not one of them. A few years ago, they partnered with dance music producer Richard X on the incredibly delectable “Method Of Modern Love” (a song that topped the airplay charts of our internet radio station for 2 weeks). The song left both casual and die-hard fans longing for more. It was not clear how much longer we would have to wait. The snippet of another new song by Saint Etienne titled “I’ve got your music” sounded like the sequel to “Method Of Modern Love”. Fortunately, the new Saint Etienne single “Tonight” is a huge improvement over this sequel.

It looks like the trio still has what it takes to write a catchy chorus married with smart lyrics. Who said entertaining pop and intelligent pop have to be mutually exclusive? The song has been produced by Tim Powell (from UK production house Xenomania) and has been mixed by Richard X.  On Saint Etienne’s “Tonight”, lead singer Sarah Cracknell sings from the perspective of a music aficionado getting ready to watch her favorite artist/band in concert. The song begins with a string arrangement and slowly blends into the first verse which is propped up by a dance beat. The verse takes interesting turns and has Saint Etienne momentarily sliding into Kylie Minogue territory and then quickly bouncing back to their sublime chorus  – “Tonight, when the lights are going down, I will surrender to the sound, and look at all the kids around”. It is amazing that bands like Saint Etienne still have the drive and creative well to continue churning out great music – especially given that the music industry celebrates marketing over art and makes it worse with a decidedly ageist bias.

I confess to not being a huge Saint Etienne fan but great art has to be acknowledged and given credit for what it is worth. “Tonight” is one great pop single that the year 2012 will undoubtedly be remembered by for those that measure the greatness of music solely on the basis of its artistic merit.

Live music for many of us is quite an emotional experience. It allows us to connect with the artist or band on a whole new level. In fact, it just might be the purest of musical interactions. The last few minutes leading up to the beginning of a concert are very familiar to many of us but it is that fleeting moment between the end of anticipation and the rush of exhilaration as the lights go down and the sound seeps in that is indescribable. Saint Etienne’s “Tonight” is undoubtedly the soundtrack to that feeling of euphoria.

And without further ado, I present to you a fine manifestation of great modern pop. Here is the audio clip of Saint Etienne’s “Tonight”.

RADIO ALERT: “Tonight” is getting 4-5 plays a day on Radio Creme Brulee. Launch our online radio player from ANY part of the world and enjoy our 24/7 broadcast via the button below.