And so here we are in April, which means I can stop writing about the terrifying worldwide pandemic and start writing about some albums I liked when I was young (and mostly still like now if I’m honest).
Because today is also the beginning of the 2020 version of the A-Z Blogging Challenge, which is an annual blogging event that, for some reason, I seem to only take part in every other year.
Last time around I wrote mostly about cartoons and this time around I’ll mostly be writing about music.
But it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t throw in some mawkish nostalgia, so I’m mostly writing about music I liked in my teens/early twenties. Which puts us back into the last millennium for the most part and the decade known to many as the nineties.
Although because it’s specifically an alphabet challenge I have had to commandeer the year 2000 a little bit.
But nothing after that and some people think the current millennium anyway didn’t start until 2001 so they’ll forgive me.
And most people won’t care either way.
But to kick off, we’re going to revisit an album from 1997.
1997 was not a great year for me for many reasons, but I did spend a lot of it listening to music.
And this album made the playlist a lot that year (or more accurately occupied one of the three available spaces in my CD player, which is how we listened to music back in the nineties).
So without further ado, allow me to introduce the album that will be representing the letter ‘A’:
A is for ‘Attack of the Grey Lantern’
Mansun’s debut album was definitely a quirky affair. Sort of, but not entirely, a concept album notionally about a superhero called the Grey Lantern, and with periodic references to the characters within said hero’s world, most notably someone called Mavis, who pops up in quite a few songs. The song titles are nothing short of bonkers, including ‘The Chad Who Loved Me’, ‘Egg-Shaped Fred’ ‘Stripper Vicar’ ‘She Makes My Nose Bleed’ and not forgetting the finale of ‘Dark Mavis’.
The things is though, in spite of it’s eccentricities (or possibly because of them) Attack of the Grey Lantern is completely brilliant from start to finish. It garnered the kind of critical acclaim and commercial success that perhaps should have seen Mansun become a much bigger band than they ever actually were.
While there’s nothing particularly wrong with their subsequent output, Mansun never really lived up to the promise of their debut and seemingly imploded just a few years later while recording their forth album.
But in 1997, Mansun were legitimately being hailed as a potential ‘next big thing’, and Attack of the Grey Lantern is worth an hour of anyone’s time.
But, if you don’t have an hour to spare, then the track that still features most heavily on my playlists today, and is arguably their best song, would have to be ‘Wide Open Space’.