This is the first time in… well, a long time that I’ve posted twice in one day, but an English Literature degree allows me the time (sort of), so here we are. I don’t know about the rest of you, but every so often I’ll relisten to an old track I’ve loved in the past, and realise that it’s probably one of my favourite songs. It’s odd as I usually have a very fixed, static view of what my favourite music is and when a song sneaks up on me and I realise I know all the words, every inflection of the singer’s voice and how the instruments sound just because of the introduction it shakes things up a little.
I was in a Newcastle record shop, Steel Wheels, two days ago and as I was searching the bargain racks I came across Idlewild’s first full album, Hope Is Important. I got it (along with Die! Die! Die!’s second, Promises Promises and the Manics’ Holy Bible – all for a fiver as well!) and have only just got round to listening to it. Two things hit me during the course of its playtime: 1) Idlewild were far heavier than I ever knew – they clearly loved Pixies and their ilk, something which obviously doesn’t come across in their most recent releases. 2) Their final single from the album, ‘When I Argue I See Shapes’ is one of my favourite songs (see, that digression was necessary).
It’s not only a brilliant song, but thinking about it, it probably helped form at least part of my music taste today. I first heard it on a compilation album called ‘The Alternative Album’ which acted as a sort of pointer to someone like me who had very little access to alternative music, and it immediately became one of my favourite tracks. The mix of melodic, steely guitar, strange Scottish-American accents and the fact that it seems to have about three choruses (including the brilliant final refrain) just worked for me on a level that I’ve never been able to define. It’s taken me a long time to really get into a lot more music like Idlewild made back in the day, but even amongst all this new, brilliant stuff I listen to, this song sits pretty as one of the best examples of its style in my collection.