As is the case most years, today is my birthday.
But there’s no time to implore you to wish me Happy Birthday in the comments section below. I’ll just have to leave it to you to do the right thing.
No, I must get on with the important business of letting you know which album of my youth made the cut for ‘D-Day’ in the A-Z Challenge.
For many of the letters it’s not been easy narrowing my choices down to just one.
But I’ve been employing a strict ‘one album per post’ rule for this challenge and today should be no different.
Except of course that it is my birthday.
And it turns out that I really did like a lot of albums that began with ‘D’ in the nineties.
So as a special birthday treat to myself, I’m going to allow a couple of ‘bonus choices’.
D is for Definitely Maybe
The debut album of the Gallagher brothers et al. remains one of my favourite records of all time. I loved Oasis in the nineties and I continued to love them throughout the noughties. If they hadn’t split up I’d still love them now.
I don’t know why. Objectively I know there are other bands who are probably better. Even I can acknowledge that beyond their first two albums and the 1998 B-sides compilation, not much else they ever released was ever really all that great.
Their best stuff was pretty much all released by 1996 and everything that followed was underwhelming.
But during their early years, I was an impressionable teenager and they just struck a chord with me and for whatever reason, however much I might love another album, or band, Oasis still remain my ‘go to’ band when I need cheering up and nothing else will do.
Some might say that ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory’ is actually the better record and I’d concede that I love that album almost as much, but for me’ Definitely Maybe’ is marginally the better of the two.
There are a number or era-defining tracks on the album including ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’, ‘Shakermaker’ (which weirdly but sort of brilliantly rips off ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing’ from a seventies Coca-Cola advert) and the debut single ‘Supersonic’.
But the song that defines my youth more than any other is ‘Live Forever’
D is also for Different Class
If this album began with any other letter, it would have been an absolute certainty as first choice for that day. But it begins with the same letter as ‘Definitely Maybe’, which meant that if I was going to stick to my own arbitrary rules, I’d have to leave out one of them. And I couldn’t ever have left out ‘Definitely Maybe’.
But I’m going to invoke my birthday privilege to avoid the crime of leaving out one of the seminal albums of my youth.
Because Pulp’s fifth studio album is nothing short of perfect. They did, admittedly, take their time as a band to produce a decent album, having released their debut effort ‘It’ in 1983. ‘Freaks’ and ‘Separations’ followed in the ensuing decade but 1994’s ‘His ‘n’ Hers’ was really the beginning of their commercial and critical success. ‘Different Class’, however is really…well…different class…
A call to arms to the socially disaffected, it encourages the ‘have nots’ to stick two fingers up to the ‘haves’ and frankly it feels as relevant today as it ever did.
Much as I love a number of tracks on the album, the one that always sends me down memory lane with a hop and a skip in my step is Disco 2000.
D is also also for Dookie
Another seminal album of my youth also begins with ‘D’ and frankly, as I’ve already broken my ‘one album a day’ rule, I may as well just go for it.
Because Green Day’s ‘Dookie’ would definitely feature heavily on soundtrack of my teenage years. When I was failing to lean to play the guitar, it was all too often tracks from this that I tended to butcher.
On the occasions that I still choose to believe there is a guitarist inside me (there is not but I’m still allowed to dream) I’ll often revert to the 15-year-old me, and strum, insofar as I can remember them, the opening chords to ‘Basket Case’.
Which seems as appropriate a track as any to see us out today.