The kind of music I listen to now is a lot different to the sort of music I listen to these days. During my teenage years in the 1990’s and early 00’s I listened to bands that were not a challenge to understand. There was nothing better at the time to than listening to the latest ‘Tubthumping’ anthemic release from whatever group was in fashion that particular week. It seemed that every week a new copycat Britpop band were debuting a new album. Back then I couldn’t get enough of these clones. There were a few acts in particular that I liked at the time, but now that I look back, it seems my judgement was clouded. I’ve picked 5 bands that I liked to listen to back in the day, but don’t rate very highly any more. They all helped to define an era for me, but their flimsy, lightweight material hasn’t stood the test of time..
1. Space. These cheeky chappys from Liverpool formed in 1993 but hit the big time in 1996 with the success of their debut album ‘Spiders’ Their hit singles ‘You and Me Against the World’ and ‘Neighbourhood’ featured predominantly on britflick ‘Shooting Fish’ Lead singer Tommy Scotts singing style was comical, and their use of hip-hop style mixing was imaginative. Unfortunately their dark-humoured singles which had grabbed my attention didn’t carry on through their albums. Listening to ‘Tin Planet’ (their second release) it seemed my uneducated ears would listen to any old garbage.
2. Sleeper. A hot chick with a guitar! What wasn’t there to like about Sleeper? My teenage hormones were in over drive. However, it seemed that aside from a couple of catchy guitar rifts and singable choruses, Sleeper were ‘just another girl fronted band’ riding on the coat-tails of success of Elastica. Sleeper had great success with their 3 albums, and while supporting Blur on their ‘parklife’ tour were touted as the next big thing. It seems to me that the allure of Sleeper was not their music, but their guitar clad goddess lead singer Louise Werner.
3. Shed Seven. It was good to see a band from York in the charts, their ballads like ‘Chasing Rainbows’ and ‘Going for Gold’ had lighters in the air at festivals in the mid 90’s. Indie discos were not complete without a stomp around the dance floor to ‘Disco Down’ or ‘She Left Me On Friday’ Looking back now, Rick Witter’s vocals were dull and the band do not grab my attention anymore. I do reckon that if they had been around 5 years earlier, their style would of fitted better.
4. Dodgy. Not many bands define a year as well as Dodgy, well, not quite a year, more like a season. The sound of summer 1996 will always be ‘Good Enough’ by the band. barbeques across the land sang out to it, Their bleach blond locks set the trend , with everyone from Robbie Williams to Gazza sporting a peroxide dye. However I feel it was one of the members relationship with Denise Van Outen that kept up the publics interest in the band rather than the bands music.
5. Coldplay. I always liked Coldplay’s debut album ‘Parachutes’, I’ve even stuck up for it in arguments with my good friend Allen Miles. Mr Miles played his trump card on me though last summer. While out enjoying a summer drink in town, Al handed me a HMV carrier bag containing ‘Grace’ by Jeff Buckley. Al had listed it at number 14 in his ‘Top 30 albums of all time’ here on Sitting on the Swings, but I had never heard it. After a few drinks I went home and gave ‘Grace’ a good listening to, Al had won! It seems to me, and anybody that has ever heard ‘Grace’ would know that ‘Parachutes’ is not only a poor imitation, but a blatant copy of Jeff Buckleys masterpiece. Coldplay didn’t just take inspiration, they straight up ripped it off! On their subsequent albums Coldplay have ripped off Radiohead, Kraftwerk, Joe Satriani and U2. I now hate them!
Martyn Taylor is a 32 year-old father of three and lives in Hull. His pastimes include watching 80s action films over and over again and and debating the all-time Premiership XI with Mr Miles. His knowledge of American sitcoms of the 90s stands second to none. He once walked into a men’s public lavatory absent-mindedly singing the theme tune from Two And A Half Men. You can find him on http://www.twitter.com/shirleysblower but he never tweets, so just follow him on here.