trange things happen to a boy when he hits 16. Drugs, drink, the depths of adolescence, an incontrovertible desire to do something, to mean something, to find a place and an importance, to fit in and also to govern. Masturbation, imitation, conviction, ignorance, unrequited passion focused in the wrong places. You might cry late at night for no other reason than the fact that you dont know who you are... You might find yourself destroying things merely because you can... The records that hit you at this time can shape you for years to come... I turned 16 in 1995 and these are my favourite records from that year. Most grabbed me at the time, but some I have only discovered since, making me wonder who I might be now had I known them 8 years ago.
Teenage Fanclub: Grand Prix
Sweet songs and chiming guitars and unarguable truth that scruffy men from Scotland understand love and hope and simple beauty better than just about anybody else. One of my most played records as a 16-year-old, and one of my most fondly revisited now, this improves with age and familiarity.
You cant like that, its fucking dance music, so said my friends. Fuck them. Fuck you. This is revolution, beautiful and deep and forceful. Maybe I cant dance but that doesnt mean I dont love groove and texture and electronic fire. This is the legacy of The Sex Pistols.
PJ Harvey :To Bring You My Love
But shes a woman... and women... dont make music... as well as... Bollocks, rubbish. If Send His Love To Me isnt the most desperate proclamation a 16-year-old boy can hear from the mouth of a strong, hurting, dark-eyed woman, the most erotic and needed thing in his world, I dont know what is.
Mouse On Mars: Iaora Tahiti
A recent discovery but oh how I wish Id had it back then, to shove in the face of the detractors and say listen to this, this is class, tell me anyone could do it, tell me its not fun and energy and technique and brilliance, and shove your guitars up your arse and fuck off while youre doing it...
Pulp: Different Class
The bus on the back cover was from my home town and the band came from the same place as my family. They made it alright to be smart and have a sense of humour and be cool by not being cool. Oasis and Blur mightve been fighting for number one, but Pulp were coming in last brilliantly.
Scott Walker: Tilt
I remember hushed mentions of its darkness from the time but only found it for myself a few weeks ago. Im glad I didnt find it then, theres no way I would have coped with this grotesque desolation and anguish, and from such an unexpected direction to, a Walker Brother, in the midst of a 60s revival, making this...
The Boo Radleys: Wake Up!
And we did wake up, every morning of that summer, and it was there and it was perfect, melted in the heat and reformed in weird, twisted, liquid shapes, trumpets and noise and hooks and the most honest closer youd known, smuggling beautiful strangeness in under the garb of pop.
Genius/GZA: Liquid Swords
Really I didnt get this until last year, but at 16 I was obsessed with 36 Chambers, and hell, if this isnt somehow, in some way, fucking better than that. I mean, all these black dudes in ninja hoods from Staten Island and Im a kid in a bad pair of jeans from the English seaside, blow my mind already.
Oh like I couldve understood this back then, like I could understand it now. Tricky himself doesnt understand it. Its dark sex and paranoia, what does a provincial teenager know of this, of this urban hypnosis and carnal repression? But I knew it was powerful, and oh how...
The Verve: A Northern Soul
Made me buy a red denim jacket. Made me stand in front of a mirror. Made me want to set things alight. Made me dance naked on the bed. Made me fall to my knees and cry. Impacted on my mind and heart and psyche like almost nothing else before or since, scoured my soul forever.