Camera Obscura Songs Ranked

Camera Obscura is a Scottish indie pop band from Glasgow. The group formed in 1996, and have released five albums to date – the most recent of which, Desire Lines, was released in 2013. The current members of the band are vocalist Tracyanne Campbell, guitarist Kenny McKeeve, bassist Gavin Dunbar, and drummer Lee Thomson. The band undertook an extended hiatus in 2015, following the death of long-serving keyboardist Carey Lander. The surviving members later reconvened in 2018. The band’s bright take on indie pop has been frequently described as “twee pop,” and garnered comparisons to fellow Scottish band Belle & Sebastian. The band has also been praised for their “honest, wide, and adult approach to heartbreak, romantic liaisons, and escapism.” Here are all of Camera Obscura’s songs ranked.

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10. Desire Lines (Desire Lines, 2013)

“I love this band. So many great songs on so many great albums. If it doesn’t grab you straight on keep listening to this album. You won’t regret it.”

9. Super Trouper (Tears For Affairs, 2007)

“This is a classic from ABBA that Camera Obscura have re-done beautifully. Of course the tune is the same, but the singer’s lilting Scottish vocals make the song feel very personal. It’s almost like someone we know is singing to us. The music is also very nice and brings a different, softer touch to the song.”

8. The Sweetest Thing (My Maudlin Career, 2009)

“No, it’s not a U2 cover, thank Christ for that. But as it stands, I’m convinced even if it was, the Scottish kings and queens would make it shine. Tracyanne Campbell definitely has a King (or Queen) Midas voice in that everything that comes out of her mouth seems to turn to vocal gold. Even after a night of excess drinking, I’m sure her barfing sounds sweet. But anyway, side one here is a pleasant girly groupie song, finding guitarist Kenny McKeeve harmonizing with Campbell Beach Boys style, and the full extent of the orchestral production pushed to the max. Side two is the real reason to get this though, unleashing a glowing version of Springsteen’s “Tougher Than The Rest” and setting things in role reversal mode, Campbell soothing and cooing those almost cheesy, soap opera-ish lyrics that made big haired women in the 80s melt for The Boss.”

Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career (2009, CD) - Discogs

7. The Blizzard (My Maudlin Career, 2009)

“I listened to this song over and over as a pre-Christmas soundtrack. I don’t like Christmas music (generally), and this song was perfect for the chilliest of winter days. But in my eyes, Camera Obscura can do no wrong. They certainly did well with this little number, which is a cover of Jim Reeves’s (pop and country singer-songwriter of 50’s-60’s) original song. Love the old-timey, cozy feel of the song.”

See more: Camera Obscura Albums Ranked

6. If Looks Could Kill (Let’s Get Out of This Country, 2006)

“Central to Camera Obscura’s hooks– unbelievable and so obviously gorgeous– is their power to wound. These melodies, these vocal inflections, these sweet sheathes of feedback, are enthralling unto an indelible brand upon the soul, a quiet terror of everything, a sense of love so strong it hurts, a new reality born gorgeously from the writhing sweetness of the way Campbell sings”

5. You Told a Lie (My Maudlin Career, 2009)

“The band’s core melodic indie sound certainly gives a nod in the direction of 60’s pop but there is almost an uncomplicated country and western feel to tracks like “You Told a Lie”. “

Camera Obscura – Let's Get Out Of This Country (2010, CD) - Discogs

4. Dory Previn (Let’s Get Out of This Country, 2006)

“It’s very difficult to put someone out of one’s mind even if the feelings and thoughts for him/her do not hold any affection. It’s just habit and not obsession, but something else. It’s a very tough thing to do.”

3. Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken (Let’s Get Out of This Country 2006)

“Camera Obscura’s third album, Let’s Get Out of This Country, was the group’s critical and commercial breakthrough – due in no small part to the undeniable charm of “Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken.” Tracyanne Campbell’s stellar melody is adorned with lush strings and other baroque pop hallmarks – highly reminiscent of yet another Glasgow group, Belle and Sebastian. It’s an absolutely irresistible track from an excellent album.”

2. Tears for Affairs (Let’s Get Out of This Country 2006)

“I’m thinking that the song is being sung from “the other woman’s” perspective. She feels stupid/silly for falling for a guy that was taken, when she so clearly understood that “affairs never win.” That’s why he comes in during the chorus to say he didn’t want to say goodbye – maybe he has a wife? kids? or just simply can’t get out of a relationship because too many eyes are on him. She is his “dirty secret” from the second stanza. At first, I was in denial of her being the one he’s cheating with, but it’s still sad, I suppose. Who knows why he cheated or why he can’t just be with this girl.”

Camera Obscura: Underachievers Please Try Harder Album Review | Pitchfork

1. French Navy (My Maudlin Career, 2009)

“If this had come out in the ’60s (and it almost sounds like it could have) I’m pretty sure it would have hit the top of the pop charts. Not that it needs that kind of validation, though, considering that it’s one of the sweetest and best pop songs ever recorded.”