And so to ‘J’ in this self-indulgent amble down the memory lane of my music-loving youth.
‘J’ was a pretty hard one to select, because, frankly there wasn’t much to choose from.
And I didn’t expect that to be the case, because while I anticipated ‘Q’ and ‘X’ to be problematic, I expect more of ‘J’. It’s the first letter in my name for goodness sake.
But there was so little to choose from that I was always going to have to compromise.
For a while it looked as though Alanis Morrisette was going to take the spot with ‘Jagged Little Pill’ but, while I do think that is a superb album, I’m not certain it’s one I feel much in the way of nostalgia for.
Whereas, I do feel a bit of nineties nostalgia for my choice, even if I don’t especially think it’s a brilliant album.
J is for Jollification
It’s hard to imagine that people who like The Lightening Seeds really love The Lightening Seeds. Equally it’s hard to imagine that anyone that doesn’t like them can really be bothered to hate them.
They are just that kind of band. Largely inoffensive, eminently radio friendly but maybe just a bit bland at times.
I can’t imagine making any kind of effort to buy tickets to any of their gigs, but if they happened to be playing at a festival I was already planning on going to, I’d probably catch their set.
I’m definitely in the camp of ‘like them, don’t love them’.
By far their biggest hit was in 1996, when they teamed up with comedians Frank Skinner and David Baddiel to record ‘Three Lions’ – the official song of the England Football team for the Euro 96 Championship. Although England bowed out in the semi-finals of that tournament, the song took on a life of its own. It still seems to be the go-to song for England football fans.
Being Welsh, I’d hardly describe myself as a huge England fan, although Wales’ failure to qualify for many tournaments has meant that I’ve tended to cheer on the England team over the years. Until they inevitably get knocked out. Which they always do.
But Euro 96 was one of England’s better goes at a major tournament and for a time, even the half-hearted ‘fans’ like me got quite excited. I did really like ‘Three Lions’ anyway, but it became so intrinsically linked with the buzz of Euro 96 that even hearing it now invokes a mawkish nostalgia.
So big was ‘Three Lions’, it’s sometimes easy to forget that The Lightening Seeds ever recorded anything else.
But they did.
And you might not love their other stuff, but you probably won’t hate it.
If you’re making a commercial, or putting together a montage showcasing the best bits of a sporting event, then there’s every chance they’ve got a song that would work quite well.
And 1994’s ‘Jollification’ is as good an example of their work as any other.
It’s probably why I feel nostalgic about this album. It does genuinely appear to be made up of tracks that were on TV ads in the nineties. They may not even have been especially memorable ads but I watched a lot of TV in the nineties so The Lightening Seeds must have found a way into my subconscious via the ad-breaks.
The songs in question are pretty good though.
However, the biggest hit of the album wasn’t on an advert that I recall.
But it was on the soundtrack of the 1995 film ‘Clueless’. Which is a soundtrack that also features Supergrass’s ‘Alright’ from yesterday. And some other good songs too. Indeed, being on that soundtrack seems to put this song in pretty good company. And the movie itself was quite good if I recall correctly. But I may be wrong about that, it’s been a while since I saw it last. If indeed I’ve ever seen it.
Anyway the song that is both on that soundtrack and also on the album ‘Jollification’ is called ‘Change’.
And because I wrote about it quite a lot, even though it has nothing to do with ‘Jollification’, here’s ‘Three Lions’.