Words: Alyce Ruby
As the offspring of a mod and a rocker, my music taste spans quite the horizon in the indie/rock worlds. They both combined tastes in blues, soul and jazz to bring me up on the likes of Muddy Waters and Stevie Wonder. The first song I remember my dad playing me was 'Superstition', which made me want to play the guitar (only lasted 2 years). Whilst my dad’s heroes in Led Zeppelin, The Who and Cream hold places of pride in my playlists, I’ve always gravitated a little more towards my mum’s favourites. My personal taste currently lies within the 80s and Britpop era of The Cure, The Jam, Elastica and Pulp. She says throughout the decades you’d naturally graduate from The Smiths and New Order to Blur, Pulp then to the Arctic Monkeys. As I was only a mere infant by the end of the 90s, I worked backwards in this system.
I hate to be that person but, I was an Arctics fan from the beginning. In 2007 my mum went to the gig at Old Trafford, I begged and cried to go but the age restriction was 16. I was 8. I couldn’t be around young, drunk lads getting rowdy to ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’, but it sounded worth it to me?
We spent a lot of my childhood in the car as she travelled for work, so I had the lyrics from every album she owned memorised. The Babyshambles/The Libertines, Amy Winehouse, The Last Shadow Puppets, Hard-FI, Muse, The Smiths, Blur, Pulp.
I was a kid so I don’t think I even knew what my taste was, and as a young girl I was naturally pulled away from all of that by pop music around the age of ten. What can I say, One Direction were persuasive.
But alas, in 2013 Arctic Monkeys released AM and The 1975 released their debut album, both within months of one other. This sparked a huge spike in popularity within my generation for indie music and re-sparked my love for the genre, I was the typical: dip-dyed purple/blue hair, plaid skirts, thick eyeliner, a can of dark fruits (or Bulmers – both were disgusting) and a Tumblr account. Whilst I look back and cringe at my teen self (especially as I now have a disdain for most of what I listened to and I thought I was well edgy), it was just part of discovering ‘who I am’.
Around the age of 16 my parents started to collect vinyl seriously again, exposing me to a whole new world of artists I’d never listened to. For a while I despised that every time we went out we’d have to go in every record store we walked past, I couldn’t see the appeal of spending an hour looking through a library of round plastic things. That is until, I got my own record player. Life changing.
Listening to vinyl helped me rediscover old favourites I listened to when I was growing up, leading me to where I am now at 22. My taste is all over the place but my heart is always with the 80s/90s my mum would play when I was young. I could spend hours in a record store now, give me all of the round plastic things.
The music from that era hits you in a different way to music nowadays, I think now we’re a lot more open about mental health and the struggles we go through, but back then it wasn’t explicitly spoken about so artists let out inner turmoil through their lyrics.
I find the lyrics from indie in the 80s/90s a lot more relatable in a way, especially as my mental health has been struggling. ‘Monday Morning’ by Pulp is one of my favourites as it describes exactly what living with depression after leaving education and going out into the world as a ‘grown up’ is like, which is what I’ve personally been going through for the past year. Those songs are still as relatable to this generation as the last, because we all go through the same trials and tribulations.