Musicians’ favourites /// Albion

Albion

Musicians continue sharing their favourite songs with Rock Britain and today Albion‘s guitarist Simon Ward talks about his five most favourite British songs.

The Only Ones – Another Girl Another Planet

A classic, by a band only remembered for one song but what a track! A song with lyrics referring to the turbulent experiences of heroin use and the excitement of falling in love; I think it encapsulates the excitement of teenage romance better than any other song. It was a close call between ‘Another Girl Another Planet’ and ‘Teenage Kicks’ by The Undertones, but I chose The Only Ones’ anthem, due to its ability to ignite any dreary pub atmosphere with one swift play on the jukebox, prompting a mass sing-a-long.

The Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever  

The Fab Four, the band who changed everything without a doubt. There are few artists, I can think of, who followed The Beatles and didn’t take some form of influence; whether it be recording techniques, song structures and writing formats. The Beatles had it all. I chose ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, for its ability to take the listener on a meandering psychedelic adventure with Lennon’s drifting, dream-like vocals combining perfectly with the music to make this my favourite Beatles track. “Living is easy with eyes closed, Misunderstanding all you see”.

The Who – My Generation

The attitude, the angst, the anger, the stage destruction, the stuttering vocals and the nihilism. The Who were punk before punk had out grown its snotty, safety-pinned baby grows. A song that inspired a generation, becoming an anthem for adolescents of the mid 60’s who needed something more than the peaceful musings of the popular hippie artists. The Who provided an injection of raw angst and energy into the music charts, personified by their explosive live performances (eg dynamite in drums) and embodied by their most recognisable song, ‘My Generation’. Containing the iconic line “I hope I die before I get old”, a song covered by artists spanning from Green Day to Oasis. The older generation needs to be put in its place every once in a while, and this song did just that.

Pulp – Common People

My favourite song from the Brit-pop era. Pulp were not as “cool” as Oasis, they didn’t rock as hard as Blur but in ‘Common People’, the awkward figure of Jarvis Cocker provided a soundtrack and voice for those in the 90s, who did not have the confidence or the image displayed by the main players in the Brit-pop scene. The song describes Jarvis meeting a Greek girl studying “sculpture at Saint Martin’s College”, and her wishing to understand what it feels like to be one of the Common People. The mundane practices of “renting a flat above a shop”, cutting your hair to get a job, smoking fags and playing pool, united the Brit-pop teenagers in a way never seen in popular culture. Whereas the norm was to sing tales of excess, exotic activities and violent revolution, Cocker, conversely, wished to revolt using “The one thing we’ve got more of, And that’s our minds”. ‘Common People’, opened my eyes to the mundane aspects of everyday living, which can be included in song-writing, as any individual can relate to these themes; it’s a style which I have tried to adopt in Albion’s songs sometimes more successfully than others. Overall, ‘Common People’ is best summarised by the lines “They’ll never understand how it feels to live your life with no meaning or control…Watching your life slide out of view”.

Radiohead – Paranoid Android

A song ridiculously ambitious, covering a diverse spectrum of musical dynamics, genres and tempos; in theory it shouldn’t work, but in practice the results astonish me every time I listen to ‘Paranoid Android’. I struggle to understand how Thom Yorke and his fellow bandmates came to composing the song let alone comprehend how they are able to play it flawlessly during live performances. In my eyes, it’s a fantastic celebration of insanity, with the lyrics swinging from themes such as personal turmoil to opposition of capitalism, to religion and to alienation. The lyrics are accompanied by music which is at times aggressive, atmospheric as well as sincere; altering in tandem with the ever changing lyrical themes. It was the 90’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’, musically ambitious, epic in length and in my opinion even more astounding than the Led Zeppelin offering, although I do feel guilt for making such a statement.

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