On rainy Autumn days there’s nothing nicer than pulling a record from the crate and playing it on the turn table – snuggling up in a cosy blanket and singing your heart out.
Today I thought I would share a few records from my collection and explain why they stand out or mean something to me. Dust off your favourite vinyl and join me for a moment or two.
Be More Kind – Frank Turner
I have a couple of Frank Turner records in my collection but Be More Kind will always hold a special place in my heart. A short while after my Dad died I found myself spending a long and lonely week by myself in my old house in Cambs. My ex (who I had recently broken up with) had gone away on holiday and I was left in charge of the pets. I remember feeling so sad and lost I just sat on the living room floor and cried for hours. I listened to ‘Don’t Worry’ endlessly – over and over again on loop because it was so comforting for me – the lyrics poignant in my time of uncertainty. I love it when a song really feels as if it was written for or about you and as I sobbed my heart out ‘Don’t Worry’ was that song for me. Sentimentality aside, Be More Kind is just an amazing album with some really great tracks. My favourites are ‘Don’t Worry’ (obviously), Be More Kind, Blackout and 21st century Survival Blues.
Listen to: Don’t Worry
Matt Berry – Opium
Matt Berry first hit my radar when I was around 15 and I first discovered ‘Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place’ – a cult comedy that is in equal measures bizarre and hilarious. Since then I have followed Matt Berry’s career in comedy and absolutely love everything he is in (if you haven’t seen it I implore you to go and give Snuff Box a watch.) Matt Berry isn’t just a great, funny actor though – he is also a talented musician. A few years back I was lucky enough to see Matt Berry and the Maypoles play a gig on Valentine’s day. Once the set was over I purchased a vinyl and had him sign it. I was so excited to meet him that I was physically shaking and could barely get my words out! Fan-girling aside Opium is such a chilled, unique album that is perfect for zoning out to.
Listen to: Love is a Fool
Chromatics – Night Drive
I love anything that has a slight 80s vibe / electronic sound to it so it’s not really a surprise that I adore Chromatics. If I had to describe their sound as a whole however, I think I would seriously struggle. I just love this album which has been designed to feel like a journey (a night drive, get it?!) I find it so catchy but also really dreamy. Funnily enough I always enjoy playing this album when I’m driving my car as it gets me in such a good head space – determined yet calm. This is probably my favourite record in my collection (it’s also a pretty champagne pink in colour!) I’m off to see Chromatics in October and I couldn’t be more excited.
Listen to: Night Drive (duh!)
Desire – II
Much like Chromatics, Desire songs have elements of electronic / synth-pop that are reminiscent of the 80s. Funnily enough they’re also signed to the same label – Italians Do It Better. I can’t really recall how I stumbled across this band but I’m so glad that I did because II is such a great record that I listen to on pretty much a daily basis. I don’t really have an interesting backstory for this record it’s just one of my favourites! I’m also happy to report that Desire are supporting Chromatics in October (so that’s going to be one hell of a gig!)
Listen to: Don’t Call
The Four Tops – The Best Of
Like most people of a certain age I grew up listening to an eclectic mix of my parents favourite music – and it rubbed off on me. Growing up I listened to a lot of 80s from my Mums side and a lot of Motown/Disco from my Dads side. I have some really fond memories of listening to Motown with my Dad as a child – and now that he is no longer with us those memories and songs are even more precious to me. I have quite a large collection of Motown records which makes it very hard to pick just one but this ‘best of’ record from The Four Tops really is quite special. I mean, it has all the hits! My personal favourite is ‘Walk Away Renee’ which I could listen to on repeat for hours. It also has fan favourites ‘I Can’t Help Myself’, ‘Baby I Need Your Loving’ ‘Reach Out I’ll Be There’ (you get the idea.) The songs hold such fantastic memories for me and always make me think fondly of my Dad who was such a huge Motown fan.
Listen to: Walk Away Renee
Yet another compilation album (sorry!) I couldn’t miss this gem off the list (even if only for the booty artwork.) As I mentioned above, I grew up listening to a lot of Motown and Disco because that’s what my Dad enjoyed. I still have vivid memories of my Dad putting on the Disco compilations and myself and my older brother dancing around the room in a circle like right wallies (cringe!) Even now though I listen to Disco music and it puts me in such a happy mood. This compilation album has all the essential hits from Gene Farrow’s ‘Move Your Body’ to Baccara’s ‘Yes Sir I can Boogie’ (and who could forget Let’s All Chant by The Michael Zager Band!) It’s also available on tape which is good to know!
Listen to: Lets All Chant! (Oooh oooh!)
… Please don’t judge me!
Green Day – Dookie
Probably the most influential album of all on this list is ‘Dookie’ by Green Day. Growing up I was a huge Green Day fan. I had all of their albums, knew all of the words to all of their songs off by heart and would come home from school to sit in my Green Day-poster plastered room with my headphones in. I had pretty severe depression when I was in school (frequently self-harming and hiding it from my friends and family) and music was the one thing that seemed to get me through it all. When I hear this album now I am transported back to my youth and, given what I just said that should be quite a miserable experience. However the moments I spent in my room listening to this band were some of my happiest and so hearing those songs now just makes me smile and feel thankful. I honestly haven’t listened to anything post American Idiot but I am finally getting to see Green Day play live next Summer (14 year old me would be sobbing with happiness) so I have some catching up to do ahead of that! A little funny side story but I actually bought two copies of this album – one for myself and one for my boyfriend – not knowing that he had bought it for me as a surprise! So I totally ruined the surprise but I did gain a cute anecdote.
Listen to: Having A Blast (but only because it was my favourite as a young teen – it’s not the best track on the album!)
Madonna – True Blue
I love 80s Madonna – she was such a badass and her music was so influential and edgy for the time. I have a bunch of Madonna albums in my collection but I’ve picked this one to call out because ‘True Blue’ is my favourite song of hers. I quite often listen to Madonna when I’m getting ready for a night out (and end up with extreme eye-shadow and attitude.) I don’t have much in the way of sentimentality to say about this (besides the fact I grew up listening to 80s music) but I felt strongly this should be on my list because it says something about me (I’m not quite sure what, but it definitely does say something!)
Listen to: True Blue (duuuuh!)
Ru Paul – American
Ever since I started watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race in the Summer of this year I have become obsessed with Ru Paul. It all started with my break-up and my Dad’s death – I couldn’t read anymore and I couldn’t concentrate on craft or exercise (or anything for that matter)…all I could really do was lay in bed and watch Netflix until I drifted off in to disrupted sleep. A friend of mine kept recommending Drag Race and as it seemed lighthearted and not requiring too much attention I thought I’d give it a go. Fast forward six months and I’ve now binge-watched all 11 seasons several times over and have tickets for Ru Paul’s Drag Con UK in January of next year. When I listen to the songs on American I am filled with joy – just remembering my favourite drag queens and episodes from the show. Ru Paul’s music is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me but it’s camp, it’s fun and it makes me smile so I always stick it on when I’m in need of a smile or injection of sass.
Listen to: Getaway
Paramore – After Laughter
After some thought I decided to include the After Laughter album on my list. I am by no means a Paramore fan – in fact I actively dislike many of Paramore’s tracks. But for me After Laughter is such a great of example of falling in love with (and really appreciating) an album from a band you might not otherwise enjoy. After Laughter is filled with pop-y, punchy tracks that make me want to sing loudly and badly in the shower. ‘Hard Times’ was the track that initially pulled me (the 80s vibes got me bad) but I stay for the heartfelt ‘Forgiveness’ and the truly relatable ‘Fake Happy’.
Listen to: Pool
Is there an album or record that means a lot to you? Let me know in the comments below.