Human Waste Project – E:Lux
For a great deal of my teenage years, my best friend was a guy called Nick Lander, and we listened to this album EVERY DAY after school. Hardly anybody at my school liked the same music as I did – certainly no other girls – so to find somebody to talk obsessively about music with was a dream come true! When you’re an angsty teenager, you can project your feelings on to any passing lyric and feel like the vocalist is somehow reading your mind and singing about your life. In reality, they’re a grown man from Florida called Scooter and you’re a 15 year old girl in Bognor Regis, and he knows nothing about you…
There were a great many bands with female vocalists that I was into as a teenager; I think they genuinely helped me form my beliefs about a feminism, equality and resisting objectification. Jeezo, would you mess with Donita Sparks? No way! But something about the Human Waste Project really, inexplicably got me, and stuck with me until this day, which is why I am picking this album over Live Through This, or Bricks Are Heavy.
Although the music is not quite what I’d choose to listen to these days, a trip down memory lane is always welcome. After Human Waste Project disbanded, the vocalist, Aimee Echo, formed a new band called theSTART who I also loved. When I went to see them in Manchester about 10 years ago, they played my favourite Human Waste Project song, a track called ‘One Night In Spain’, and I instantly had tears in my eyes, reminiscing about all the times I’d flung myself on my bed to sob at the teenage injustice I was almost certainly not really suffering from.
Nick Lander stopped being my best friend when he got a girlfriend, by the way.
Controversially (to some) I really, deeply love Tango In The Night, but Rumours is like an old friend. I can’t reject an old friend, I’m not that kind of lady.
There are many times in my life, when I think “What would Stevie Nicks do?”. Often it’s whilst shopping for clothes, and questioning how many tassels are too many tassels. The answer is, of course, there are never too many tassels.
My favourite track from Rumours is not on the “regular” version of the album, but can be found on extended versions, repackaged with extra track versions etc. It’s called ‘Silver Springs’ and it was one of Stevie’s favourite tracks from the Rumours sessions, but it was cut from the album because the album was already too long, and it wasn’t in the budget to make Rumours a double album (before budgets were a thing to be spunked up the wall i.e. Tusk). Apparently she was heartbroken by this, and quite frankly, SO AM I.
If you watch one of the live videos of Fleetwood Mac performing this song, I almost feel sorry for Lindsay Buckingham* as Stevie howls “You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman who loved you.” It is INTENSE. To me, this – and being realistic – many other Fleetwood Mac songs – are a reminder that you really do have to walk right through all the feelings, even the bad ones, to be able to actually come out of the other side.
There’s no short cuts, which is what I told myself as I howled my way through six weeks of agony after a bad break up. What would Stevie do? She’d make him rue the day he crossed her and write a song about it and sing it right in his face for decades to come. I haven’t done that, but I could if I wanted to… probably.
*I don’t really feel sorry for Lindsay Buckingham, I’m not mad.
Carole King – Tapestry
I actually picked this as one of my influential albums of 2016, because I listened to it a lot last year. I went to see Carole King play this album in full last summer with my mum, in Hyde Park. There were lots of other mums and daughters there, so I’m pretty sure my experience of this album is not unique. I don’t particularly recall my mum listening to it a lot when I was growing up, it was just always there. I was almost surprised when I revisited it as an adult that I knew all the words by heart; it’s just ingrained in me I think.
Listening to this album makes me feel close to my mum, and was probably a big part in me realising my mum was a human being outside of “just” being a mum. I don’t know about you, but I have so much to be grateful to my mum for. Thank goodness that there’s an unwritten rule that I’ll just take care of my mum when she’s a little old lady so I can do a little bit to show my gratitude for all the brilliant mothering she’s done for the past 34 years; there’s no way I’d ever be able to repay her otherwise.
She’s always supported me and encouraged me, and has instilled in me a “what’s the worst that could happen?” attitude to life, which has taken me to many unusual places – North Korea, a death row visitation room, and Crewe. Thanks mum, thanks Carole!