The border between spring and summer straddles an unfortunate line. The sky is brightening, the birds are singing, everyone is busy making exciting holiday plans or dreaming of rest and relaxation… and we’re all stuck inside, hammering away at laptops and books for exams, dissertations and courseworks besides. One of the most beautiful times of the year is often for a student the most sad or stressful.
There’s one album, however, that always cheers me up this time of year; the soundtrack to Singin’ In The Rain. A 1952 musical comedy staring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and O’Connor, it tells the story of three actors who get caught up in trying to convert a terrible silent movie into a talking picture with newly developed technology. Following disaster after disaster, the day is saved by musical magic.
As the title song proudly declares, it really is packed full of ‘glorious feeling’. There’s nothing out there quite so feel-good, which works with the sunny warmth of the weather when it’s good, is obviously also relevant when it’s dependably British, and which can hopefully bring some joy to those stuck working. For those rote memorising, rhyming ditty ‘Moses Supposes‘ will bring a smile to your face. And there’s no better anthem for the all-nighter than ‘Good Morning’; “good morning, good morning, it’s great to stay up late!”.
There is Nothing Left To Lose by Foo Fighters has forever been a record I associate with springtime. This perfection of an album holds a tight grip on my heart, not only being the first Foo Fighters record I listened to and subsequently my favourite record ever, but also the first I bought with my own money in December of 2007. You’d think it being bought then, it would be a winter album. But There is Nothing Left To Lose has been a record I play consistently throughout the spring.
A departure from the Foo’s signature sound, it shows a softer, more experimental side of the band exposing their talents in melody and composition. Foo Fighters made such a serene and relaxing aesthetic with this record, that makes you want to wander in the outdoors and breathe it all in, or to just sit and bask in the soft sunshine. Which is one of the prevailing reasons behind the record, with Grohl wanting to relax with Taylor Hawkins and Nate Mendel after becoming a three piece, and after having such a whirlwind of success. You can practically feel their relaxation seep through each song.
This record gives me such a weird nostalgic feeling that I can never put into words. Grohl has done it for me: “When I listen to that record it totally brings me back to that basement. I remember how it smelled and how it was in the spring so the windows were open and we’d do vocals until you could hear the birds through the microphone.”
The one album that always seems to be in my most played every spring, is McFly’s third studio album from 2007 – Motion in the Ocean. I think part of it has to do with the fact that one of the first concerts I went to with my friends rather than dragging my family was a McFly one in the March of 2012. But, also, just that it sets the mood to the season. It’s playful, and fun, and its pop tones are the perfect soundtrack to a sunny day. As it opens with the fast pace piano motif in ‘We are the Young’ onto fan favourite ‘Star Girl’ and onwards, it reminds me of many days spent on the common, or in my back garden or anywhere else that I could enjoy the mild weather of spring. The thing I love about McFly is that every single album of theirs has a different tone, and I feel like this was the Spring season of their music for sure. Room on the 3rd Floor was beach weather music, onto Wonderland‘s darker themes making it seem more autumnal and winter-like than the previous album; and then you have this one. It’s upbeat and lively and, like I said before, so much fun! That to me is what spring is- it’s the exciting build up to the summer.
Croaky throated folk band The Decemberists lived up to their name when they released 2011’s The King Is Dead. It’s shiny jewel, ‘January Hymn’, is a song about new beginnings. Not strictly, however, those that clock over with a new year. “On a winter Sunday I go, to clear away the snow, and green the ground below,” it croons. I think students often feel frustrated because, when December 31st arrives and everyone rings in a new year with fireworks and celebration, we all know we still have at least a month before we can move past the one we’re leaving behind. For those of us in academia, it really only feels like the new year comes somewhere in the first few weeks of February. We miss out on the celebrations – and by the time we trudge tiredly through to the end of winter, the weather is clearing and the spring is coming and everything really is beginning properly.
So it’s only fitting that, as we’ve finally put the trappings of the last semester behind us and are firmly settled into the summer one, the birds and the bees and the flowers wake up and that we do properly, too. The King Is Dead is for looking forward to the future which – right about now – I think we’re all doing.