This is an old blog I found the other day, written when I was still full of hope for the future!!!!
Worcestershire, May 1991: I'm stuck at home revising for my A-Levels. God its boring, summers just started to arrive, and I'd rather be anywhere then here in my bedroom, surrounded by history and economics text books.
Most of my mates have left school already, and are probably making the most of the weather getting pissed down at the local on cheap beer. Not me though, I've got to stay here for the time being; working and feeling sorry for myself. I really want to get this all over with; finish school and get to my eighteenth birthday in July, then I'll be free of all this unbelievably tedious shit
Home, July 2006: Thinking back, 91' was such a great year for music for me personally, (leaving out the start and demise of my ill-fated band - think New Order / Happy Mondays with Birmingham accents). Two of my all time favourite albums had been released that year 'Blue Lines' by 'Massive Attack' and 'Road to Freedom' by The Young Disciples. Both releases radically changed the way I looked at, and thought about music.
So,lets go back to 1991. Probably looking for an excuse not to do any work one day I was flicking through a copy of Melody Maker. As usual, I was casting my eye over the singles reviews for that week; in doing so, one in particular catches my eye; a new release by some band from London called Saint Etienne. The single was called 'Nothing Can Stop Us'.
Being the 'big fish' musically amongst my group of friends, I'd always thought that I was clued up when it came to new bands and new releases; but I knew nothing about Saint Etienne - had never heard of them before.
The review made the record sound incredible; over the intervening years I must have damaged a few brain cells, but I can still just about remember general gist of things. The reviewer mentioned that the record felt like the first day of summer; the first really warm day of the year, when the leaves are out, the birds are singing away and you can take your school jumper off and wrap it around your waist. More importantly anything could happen..
This review captured my imagination so much - sure the sun was indeed shining outside and the birds were singing; but I was trapped inside revising. I wanted to know what this record felt like. More importantly, I wanted to see if the review was in fact correct, or if he'd been talking a load of old shit.
As I often did back in those days, (before the wonder of the internet), I caught the bus into down and purchased a copy from the local Our Price; I'm still amazed that they actually had it in the first place.
The cover gave little away, (God, I LOVE reading record covers!!), except for a gorgeous photo of the singer Sarah Cracknell on the back, (you can imagine what a seventeen year old thought about that). It was always, (still is), so exciting buying new records; jumping off the bus and walking home as quick as I could, running straight up the stairs to my bedroom to play this latest gem - almost quite ritualistic in a way.
I had no idea what to expect, none at all - and then I heard it for the first time.
By St Enids toenail what a record!!!!! The Northern Soul bass and drums, the magical guitar stabs, all topped off with Sarah Cracknell's wrap around, gooey vocals..
The review was so right, this record sounded almost perfect to me; despite the 60s soul references, the record sounded so new, clean and modern. The main thing however was that it planted a massive smile on my face - its still there fifteen years later as I sit here listening to the record again whilst writing this.
A great record should make you feel something; make you giddy, feel drunk or high; make the blood rush to your head. A great record should make you want to dance, sing, fall in love, kiss someone - it should make ANYTHING seem possible.
That record was aptly named, because it made me feel all of those things back then; and it still does now
They could have left it there; just released that one, perfect record. That would have been enough; of course though, they've released stacks of great records in the years since then.