I firmly believe that there are very few bands in life that you stick with forever. In my 27 years of being on this planet, my music taste has changed dramatically from cheesy 90’s pop to death metal to hip hop and good old indie. But if a band is truly special and you form an emotional connection with them – they’re gonna stick around for a while.
One of these bands, for me, is Manchester-based Elbow. Their music has calmed me in times of anxiety, made me joyfully skip down the street (no joke) and been the soundtrack to my university years. Having seen them recently at the Manchester Apollo, it only felt right to honour this band with a compilation of their best songs (in my opinion), which has replaced this month’s playlist.
I can remember the first time I heard this song as if it were yesterday. I was losing the will to live at university, doing a module I didn’t particularly like, then this song came on my iPod. It instantly made my morning. I danced down the street into my lecture, with a broad smile on my face and if I remember right, tears of happiness. It’s remained a firm favourite ever since.
2. ‘One Day Like This’
Recognise it? Now, a lot of you will know this song from the London Olympics – in all honesty, it was perfectly placed. Me? I will always associate this song with Spring days spent in my hometown of Oxted, lying in the middle of a place called Master Park with my iPod and an iced coffee. There are very few songs I’ve ever listened to that I find more uplifting than this track, even when you’re having the worst day.
3. ‘The Bones Of You’
Okay, so a lot of my favourite tracks originate from Elbow’s 2008 album, ‘The Seldom Seen Kid‘ but can you blame me when they’re this good? I love this track mainly because of Guy Garvey’s vocals, there’s something about his voice that draws me in time and time again – it’s soothing and painfully desperate all at once. If you become a fan, like me, then check out his solo music too; it’s just as compelling.
4. ‘Grounds For Divorce’
I challenge you not to enjoy this song. With its Western influences and singalong chorus, it’s a great track if you want to get pumped for the day ahead, arguably, something that isn’t often associated with this mellow-natured band. This is one of my favourite Elbow songs because it’s a little heavier and reminds me of Led Zeppelin quite a bit, I often think it wouldn’t be out of place on ‘IV’.
5. ‘What Time Do You Call This?’
I was so excited when I realised that Elbow had recorded a track for one of my favourite rom-coms, ‘Man Up‘ starring Simon Pegg and Lake Bell. I find this song to be thoroughly romantic and hopeful, its lyrics describe the all-encompassing nature of love – as well as its trials and tribulations. I’ve always been a fan of songs that discuss love, I can’t help it ’cause I’m a hopeless romantic (still) but this one really hits the nail on the head.
6. ‘The Birds’
Oh, hello. Finally a song that hasn’t come from the aforementioned album. The next two Elbow songs are from the band’s brilliant although more subdued 2011 album, ‘build a rocket boys!’. From hopeful romanticism in the previous track to a more sombre break-up song, I’m a fan of this tune because it presents a different perspective. The lyrics describe a break-up through the eyes of birds – quirky but different and the breakdown towards the end is reminiscent for me of The Coral, another band I adore.
7. ‘With Love’
I’m gonna come right out and say it. I picked this song because I adore the way that people from Manchester pronounce the word ‘love’. Somehow, in my mind, it makes the word sound even more special than it already is. From Oasis to new kids on the block, Blossoms, a lot of my favourite bands are actually from or around the city of Manchester – it’s definitely a trend. There’s just something about the authenticity of Northern-based music that draws me in.
8. ‘New York Morning’
This last track is from Elbow’s 2014 album, ‘The Take Off And Landing Of Everything‘. This song actually made my New York playlist that I created for our holiday there (yes, I do this for every trip) because it’s such a beautiful love letter to the city. I love that it brings out the hopeful nature of NYC as when you’re there, that’s what it feels like – everyone is the key to their own destiny – just as it should be.
What have you been listening to in the past month? Do you have any favourite Elbow songs?