And so we arrive at ‘Z’ in my shamelessly nostalgic A-Z of albums that I liked to listen to when I was young.
Thanks to everyone who has chipped in with comments along the way, even if it’s to tell me that you’ve never heard of the bands I liked or that you completely disagree with my choices.
But, unless I’m much mistaken, ‘Z’ is very much the last letter of the alphabet, so it ends today.
And whether you’ve enjoyed my jaunt down the memory lane of the musical tastes of my youth or been largely indifferent to it (I assume if you’re reading this then you haven’t actively disliked these posts because, y’know, why would you have bothered to read them at all…) what you cannot deny is that they have involved me writing words.
Which, in the spirit of generating content for a blog, is largely better than not writing words.
Whether I’ll continue to use words to write about things other than music from the nineties is something only time will tell.
But today I will, again, write about an album from the nineties.
One that begins with ‘Z’
Z is for Zeitgeist
The Levellers are another band that headlined Glastonbury in the nineties, which seems a strange thing to write in 2020. But they did, in 1994, performing to what was then a record number of people.
They hadn’t even released the album ‘Zeitgeist’ at that point. It came out in 1995 and it remains their only album to top the UK album charts.
The peak of the Levellers success does correspond roughly with the general Britpop phenomenon, but they had been enjoying a bit of success prior to that, (hence the headline slot at Glastonbury), and they don’t seem an obvious fit for the Britpop label. Whether they’d have been quite as big in the nineties without Britpop is doubtful though. They’re still going, still seem to have a loyal enough fanbase, but their days of headlining Glastonbury and the like are long behind them now and the demise of Britpop also seems to correspond with their general decline in mainstream popularity.
I wouldn’t describe myself as a massive fan; I like them, I’d probably see them live (I think in fact I did see them live but I saw a lot of bands in the nineties and unless I held onto the ticket stub I struggle to recall whether I was actually there, or just saw them performing at a festival on TV and my memory has subsequently placed me in the crowd…), I’ve listened to most of their albums at one point or another but only a few tracks really stayed with me.
‘Zeitgeist’ would be the one album I really listened to a lot (which is quite serendipitous when it comes to writing an A-Z of nineties albums, because there weren’t any other ‘Z’ albums leaping to mind) and it’s the one I’d probably stick on if I was in the mood for the intrinsically left-wing folk-rock sound that the Levellers bring to the table.
I liked the single ‘Just The One’ and I think a lot of people enjoyed that as a kind of ‘pre-getting-drunk’ anthem (the nineties was perhaps also the beginning of the British bing-drinking culture that appears to continue to this day. I was very much a part of it in my time – I like to think I’ve outgrown it but it could be that increased responsibilities have reduced the opportunity rather than the inclination to drink irresponsibly). Alas though, the album version of ‘Just The One’ is not the same as the single version so we can’t end on that.
So we’ll end instead on ‘Hope Street’, which seems as good a place as any to conclude my A-Z.