When you load up Spotify, a great big chunk of the time you can’t think what to play, right? You default back to your old favourites, those albums and songs you played on repeat when you first discovered you could make them yours.
This isn’t about guilty pleasures; it’s about those songs you’ll still be listening to when you’re old and in your rocking chair. So, enter Teenage Kicks - a playlist series that sees bands running through the music they listened to in their formative years.
Next up, Lights.
I had a strange obsession with this song. It was equal parts beautiful, dark, and spooky. I remember putting this on and telling the screamer of my horrible old metal band that this would get played at my wedding as we swigged tequila from the bottle in his parent’s hatchback.
Back when I used to listen to music on PureVolume (dating myself here), this was in heavy rotation. I think between the melody and his voice and the lyrics I felt both emotionally moved and inspired to crank on my acoustic and try to write something like it.
I loved the traditional Swedish part and orchestral bits mixed with a contemporary song, I’ve always been a sucker for these hymn-like melodies, and this song reeled me right in. I loved most of this record. Blindside was my favourite band for a time.
As far as I was concerned, this song invented phasing clean tone. Can’t tell you how many horrible songs I wrote trying to replicate this guitar sound. I remember being fascinated with the lyric because it feels like a never-ending thought, that doesn’t really punctuate or resolve often. I liked the emotion in their voices in this song. Emo me FELT that.
TATU was my all-time guilty pleasure until I realised I wasn’t ashamed of loving them. I had every record, complication, and DVD. I was just fully intrigued and loved the music. All the songs were part of this bigger forbidden and oppressed love narrative, but they stood strong and fought against it like these beautiful little superheroes. The electronic production was way ahead of its time for pop also in my opinion. I was heavily inspired by this when I made 'Drive My Soul'. Wait maybe I shouldn’t say that...
Wait… maybe I can partially thank this song for me making acoustic versions of all my music. I never liked the full version of this song as much as I liked the acoustic version. There was so much to feel, so much more to hear, so much more intimacy in this version. This was the front fucking page of my MySpace for a while.
I didn’t listen to a ton of ska, but this song was perfect as far as I was concerned. Made me feel so many things, and the lyrics were on fire and the melodies were so lit. I remember meeting them for the first time when I was on Warped Tour in 2009, and I nervously collected the courage to introduce myself to them on the big bowling day, and they made fun of my name. So I’m still annoyed with them for that, but this song is good and made an impression on me, so I fucking forgive you okay.
This and a few of their other songs were the first time music made me feel like a fucking boss. I was so motivated by the political messaging and intensity and simple but powerful riffs. I think this band taught me a lot over the years.
Taken from the April issue of Upset. Lights plays this year's Slam Dunk, which takes place in Leeds (25th May) and Hatfield (26th).
Featuring SWMRS, Simple Creatures, Grandson, American Football, La Dispute, Ex Hex, The Maine and more.