18th April 2021
While being from Manchester naturally makes me biased towards my home town’s excellent music scene, the city of Liverpool has also boasted some of Britain’s best bands and musicians. From The Beatles to The Wombats, here are my top 5 songs to come from one of the greatest cities in the North.
I’ve been a fan of Echo & the Bunnymen for a long time. One of my mum’s favourite bands, I’ve grown up hearing their music being played round the house. However, I only recently discovered they were from Liverpool (for years I thought they were Glaswegian, and embarrassingly I have no idea why!). Singer Ian McCulloch’s vocals on The Cutter, the opening track to the band’s 1983 album Porcupine, fit the song perfectly, complemented by the ‘80s guitar, prominent bass, and string sections. It somehow just feels so warm and full; for me, The Cutter is not only one of their quintessential tracks, but one of my favourite songs of all time.
I think I discovered Circa Waves through reading NME as a young teenager. I was obsessed with this whole album when it was released, and still think it holds up well today as a fun, light-hearted selection of songs. This song in particular takes me straight back to being 15, the post-punk inspired guitars and anthemic chorus providing two perfect minutes of bright, up-lifting indie. With heavy vibes of The Vaccines and The Maccabees, this tune sounds like it definitely would’ve been featured on an episode of The Inbetweeners, had it been released in 2004 rather than 2014 – in the best way possible.
Now, I’m probably going to upset someone here, because I know Miles Kane is actually from the Wirral, not Liverpool; but considering the city region stretches to Kane’s native Birkenhead, I thought I’d just about get away with this one. Released in 2019, Blame it on the Summertime reminds me of pre-pandemic life, when parties and afternoons in the beer garden were still regular occurrences. Sometimes in the shadow of friend and fellow The Last Shadow Puppets band-mate Alex Turner, it is songs like this which prove Kane is definitely an artist in his own right. This tune has become something of a summer classic for me and my friends, its upbeat melody and catchy chorus perfect for a sing-along.
The Wombats were one of the first bands I properly got into, and their first two albums are still favourites of mine. Released in 2007, there is an element of nostalgia in my love of this track, since I’ve known it from a young age (thanks to the influence of my older brother!). Nevertheless, I still think it holds up as a great song today. I love the waltzing rhythm and the way the words really paint a picture of the scene; it has the classic Wombats juxtaposition of joyful melodies combined with melancholic, heart-breaking lyrics.
Tomorrow Never Knows – The Beatles
Of course, no article about Liverpudlian music would be complete without a mention of The Beatles. Released in 1966 as the closing track on Revolver, The Beatles’ seventh studio album, Tomorrow Never Knows somehow sounds years ahead of its time. The psychedelic-sounding backwards guitars send you to another world, with the loose drums almost sounding like they were pulled out of an early ‘90s Madchester tune. It’s perfect as the final track on the album, too; while much of Revolver was a change from The Beatles’ previous sound at the time, Tomorrow Never Knows sounds like nothing they had ever released before. A true masterpiece.
Featured image: Echo & the Bunnymen