The 20 Best Idlewild Songs from their 7 Studio Albums

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Idlewild at The Outsider 2007

Today I’m picking out 20 of the best Idlewild songs. Idlewild are a Scottish indie rock band that formed in Edinburgh in 1995. The band consists primarily of Roddy Woomble (lead vocals), Rod Jones (guitar, backing vocals), Colin Newton (drums).

The 3 met at a party in 1995 and have remained the core of the group’s line-up throughout while various other members (mainly Bass players) have come and gone. They have released 7 full-length studio albums to date. There is a debut album “Captain” but it’s not considered full length at less than 20 minutes in duration. It won’t be included here.

My journey with Idlewild began in 1998 when I heard “A Film for the Future” on the Radio at work during the night shift. It wasn’t like love at 1st sight or anything but there was enough intrigue from the sound they were producing to get my attention. You just know when you hear a genuine band with a future ahead and you know what you like when you hear it. The next day I made a trip to the local music shop to find some of their music. I couldn’t find anything so I asked at the counter.. “Have you got any Idlewild?”. The response from the guy who looked like a member of Metallica was “WHO???”. After checking their database the album “Hope is Important” hadn’t been released yet and I left empty handed.

Even though it was a wasted trip I was both pleased with myself for knowing of a band the guy at the music shop didn’t and disappointed because it’s such a downer when you make a trip especially for an album and come up empty. Things have changed in that sense in a huge way (Instant gratification is the default lifestyle now). I eventually got the album and loved it and discovered the song “When I Argue I see Shapes” on it which was more like it, this was more like what I wanted to hear.

I’ve been a loyal fan ever since, not only to Idlewild but to singer Roddy Woomble’s solo work & also Rod Jones’ side projects.

On with the show.. Captain (No actually, we are leaving that one out)..



Hope Is Important (1998)


Idlewild - Hope Is Important (1998)Album on Amazon | Apple Music

Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5)

Key songs: When I Argue I See Shapes, Paint Nothing

Idlewild’s 1st proper full length studio album. Lead singer Roddy Woomble said of this album “It’s a band trying to discover what they want to sound like” which is exactly how it comes across when listening to it. Songs like “I’m Happy to Be Here Tonight” & “Safe and Sound” provide the 1st clues of a direction which would later form a large part of the bands overall output.

This album is somewhat of a continuation from their mini debut although slightly more contained and progress has clearly been made with their instrument playing ability. Also, check out “I’m A Message” & “Safe and Sound”.

When I Argue I See Shapes
Back to Albums

100 Broken Windows (2000)


Idlewild - 100 Broken Windows (2000)Album on Amazon | Apple Music

Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Key songs: Roseability, Quiet Crown

Idlewild’s second full-length studio album. If you ask the majority of Idlewild fans to choose an album they relate to most they will probably say this one. I loved this album when it came out but it doesn’t really grab me as much anymore. It was a great achievement for the Band at the time.

The 1st song I heard from this was “Little Discourage” which was enough to keep my anticipation for the album high and I wasn’t disappointed. “Roseability” quickly became an instant favourite for me with the Blur “Song 2” style guitar pedal stomp before the Chorus & the line “Gertrude Stein said “that’s enough”, even though it would be a few years till I actually took the time to find out what Gertrude Stein was, or rather who. To this day I don’t know what “Roseability” even means but who cares!

Also check out “These Wooden Ideas” & “Little Discourage” from this one.

Back to Albums

The Remote Part (2002)


Idlewild - The Remote Part (2002)Album on Amazon | Apple Music

Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)

Key songs: Stay the Same, American English, Live in a Hiding Place, You Held the World in Your Arms

Having signed a deal with major record label Parlophone, Idlewild set to work on their 3rd full-length studio release. This is a strong album which widened the band’s appeal across the World. The Album is notable for being the last Bass player Bob Fairfoul was part of. He left the band shortly after its release. The band toured the album extensively supporting Coldplay across Europe and later Pearl Jam after the Albums US release.

Upon hearing this for the 1st few times I was drawn towards the more heavy tracks but the album blends the two (Heavy & the more Ballady) together so well I started exploring, overlooking my initial expectations.

Live in a Hiding Place
You Held the World in Your Arms
Back to Albums

Warnings/Promises (2005)


Idlewild - Warnings/Promises (2005)Album on Amazon | Apple Music

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Key songs: I Understand It, The Space Between All Things, El Capitan

Idlewild’s fourth full-length studio album. 2004 was devoted almost entirely to writing and recording this album. This album was to be their last with the major record label Parlophone. What struck me about this album was how mature it sounded. Working in a public place at the time I wasn’t afraid to have this album on playing in the background. Choices 1 & 3 below were the 2 songs I instantly latched onto as album favourites.

The Space Between All Things
Back to Albums

Make Another World (2007)


Idlewild - Make Another World (2007)Album on Amazon | Apple Music

Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5)

Key songs: In Competition for the Worst Time, You and I Are Both Away, A Ghost In the Arcade

Idlewild’s fifth full-length studio album. This album sees the band return to a more rock orientated sound. When writing this album the band were without a record label but they were soon picked up again. Upon release, their newly appointed record label closed down leaving them without a label again! This album is quite dense in the wall of noise sense in places which can mentally dull your mind after a while if you listen to it with the volume turned up.

In Competition for the Worst Time
You and I Are Both Away
A Ghost In the Arcade
Back to Albums

Post Electric Blues (2009)


Idlewild - Post Electric Blues (2009)Album on Amazon | Apple Music

Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)

Key songs: All Over the Town, Younger than America, Readers & Writers, Post Electric

Idlewild’s sixth full-length studio album. This was a Crowdfunded album which Initially they self-released as an online pre-order to 3000 fans then 4 months later found a label to release it. It’s a really solid album & rather overlooked album that I find myself looking at more as time goes by. My favourites on this album evolved because I gave the album the time it deserved.

Two songs initially overlooked but then came to love are “All Over the Town” which is very Smiths-esque. The other “Post-Electric” which overlooking caused me to miss out on the epic 2-minute jam towards the end. Just goes to show you can’t judge a song by the 1st minute. The rest of the album is littered with great songs.

If you’ve got access to Amazon Unlimited there are 3 additional songs one of which is “Again (Let the Buildings Burn Bright)” which is a great song & makes me think of the Warnings/Promises period of their music.

Younger Than America
Back to Albums

Everything Ever Written (2015)


Idlewild - Everything Ever Written (2015)Album on Amazon | Apple Music

Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars (3.7 / 5)

Key songs: Collect Yourself, Every Little Means Trust

2010 after finishing up touring commitments from Post Electric Blues. After tiring of the same old standard Rock Band setup Roddy decided he wanted to take some time away from the band. The others agreed and they went on an indefinite hiatus with the plan to come together again at some point to record again when it felt right.

Roddy released 2 Solo albums during this time & Rod formed “The Birthday Suit” and released 3 albums with them. 2013 came & the core members of the band started writing again and in early 2015 released Idlewild’s seventh full-length studio album.

Every Little Means Trust
Back to Albums

Upon checking Wikipedia it claims Hope Is Important (1998) was recorded between February and June 1997 and released October 1998 (Almost a year and a half between recording & release?? I doubt it). This can’t be correct when their previous mini-album Captain was recorded October 1997 and released in January 1998. According to the “ever credible” Wikipedia.

Incase you would like to know more about Idlewild, you can visit the bands twitter or their facebook page. Their website is here.

I hope you enjoyed my best Idlewild songs choices. One thing about Idlewild is that they always consistently put out good songs, even the B-sides are as good if not better some of the time. Because there are quite a few B-sides I shall be adding a 2nd post with B-Sides soon. If you want to be made aware of when this is up, subscribe to the email list below and you’ll be the 1st to know.



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Phil Richards

Just a random person who has been listening to music daily since the 80s. All views or commentary and Best Song or Album choices here are my own.

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