By Hayden Thorpe
Haddaway – What is love
The first song I remember stirring up my insides, before I had the language to express the sensation.
Anne Lennox – No more I love you’s
I think I was about ten years old when I watched her perform this on Top of the pops. It was bizarre and otherworldly. Totally camp. It was a very powerful moment to me. I jumped up and down on the bed burning off the energy.
George Michael – Jesus to a child
Sadly fitting. The first single I ever bought, an audacious number one. I feel lucky songs like this were big hits when I was becoming interested in music. No real chorus, a slow meandering song. Quite weighty for a young boy.
Michael Jackson – Earth Song
His “epic period”. No chorus too big and no key change too many. I assumed all huge hits were six minutes long. Like every child he made me yelp and moonwalk as if I were a natural.
Enya – Anywhere Is
I began to gauge the power of voice. I couldn’t decipher the words but the melody was story enough evoke a story.
Pulp – Disco 2000
I remember this being pretty adult in a kitchen sink drama kind of way. It spoke of a world made up of small, precious joys within the grey. I couldn’t fully comprehend it, but I was compelled.
Jimi Hendrix – Voodoo Child
The first song I rope learnt, obsessive, finger callousing rehearsal. My primitive renditions along side the record made me feel god like, I transcended my dirty socked bedroom for those crowded minutes.
Bjork – All is full of love
The first time a realised all of the electronic house that had spilled into North West England after the 90’s contained sounds that could be put to sensual use, speaking of the sparse and often bleak landscapes I grew up with. It got me out of bed for those cruel last few years at school.
Jeff Buckley – So Real
I had a huge revelation as a teenager upon discovering this song. No longer was I self conscious and confused by my softer, higher singing voice. No more shouting at the guitar. Male guitar music could be tender. Me and Ben formed Wild Beasts shortly after.
The Smiths – William, It was really nothing
“The rain falls hard on a hum drum town, this town has dragged you down. And everybody’s got to live their lives, and God knows I’ve got to live mine”. Somewhere from the grey north I discovered heroes that brought colour, laughter and audacity.
Marvin Gaye – Inner City Blues (make me wanna holler)
I’d listen to this track every morning on the way to my warehouse job in Kendal. I’d usually be tired and still intoxicated from the previous night in our studio. This song put the fight in me, I romanticised about Motown era Detroit being similar to teenage Wild Beasts era Kendal. Think big they say.
Bob Dylan – Hurricane
Now in Leeds we would rehearse every night in our terrace house basement, working by day. This epic comes in at almost 9 minutes, the time it took me to cycle to the book repair shop I worked at. Fish glue is an associated smell.
Leonard Cohen – Hey That’s No Way to say Goodbye
There was a time in my life in which I couldn’t sleep unless I’d listen to the best of Leonard Cohen in full. It was by track five, this one, that all of the flaying and disorientation of the day began to settle.
Caribou – Odessa
This song and album bring me in full technicolor and surround sound back to the sensation of falling in love and gung-ho moving to London. All forward momentum no notice paid to the past. That Caribou ended up moving next door only fed my suspicion that those events were predestined.
This Mortal Coil – Song to Siren
If 2016 is being fossilised in my memory at this point, then Song to Siren would be its signifier. We played this song before stage at every for Boy King show. It instills a sense of composure and lightness in me.
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