Music has always been a huge part of my life, as I imagine it is with everyone in some way. Ever since I heard Kelly Jones telling me about that local boy in a photograph or the Gallaghers talking about how they’d ‘like to leave this city’, I simply couldn’t help but relate, who wouldn’t? I remember my nan showing me The Beatles as a kid and honestly laughing – who the hell writes about a yellow submarine or an octopus’ garden anyway? But now I find myself living the lowest of lows alongside Let It Be and the highest of highs with Here Comes The Sun.
It’s easy to say that my music taste was heavily inspired by my parents. I have a very distinct memory of a teacher asking us to draw an image inspired by one of our favourite songs. At the time, my mum had got me hooked on Example and the only lyric I could remember was ‘if we don’t kill ourselves we’ll be the leaders of a messed up generation’ and, well, I’m sure you can picture how that went down in primary school. But as I grew older, I soon learned that I prefer my dad’s taste in Britpop and rock and roll indie, getting absolutely hooked on The Bluetones and Ocean Colour Scene.
This taste in music has stayed with me, even though I have a tendency to stray to other genres every now and then, so when I finally got Spotify I was able to discover so many more bands that I still keep up-to-date with now. From Arctic Monkeys to Catfish and The Bottlemen, Green Day to Wolfmother, I made an entire roster of great bands that I love. This was absolutely fine – I would listen quite happily to these bands on my Alexa in my room or through my speaker on my wheelchair as I drove down the street.
However, then lockdown happened – I feel like those words will forever haunt all of us in the future when we admit to the guilty hobbies we started in the dreaded year of 2020 – with all of its rules of staying indoors, not seeing other people, no more gigs or festivals. What a nightmare. While many people struggled with this, I was fine for the first few months as I chose to go back in time and rediscover video games I missed. Eventually I came across Hollow Knight and, oh my god, what a soundtrack! Every song from this game was as heartwarming, eerie or devastating as a track from Zelda or Mario, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating if I say some of the songs are almost on a par with those from epic films like The Lord of the Rings. Well, that may be a slight stretch but they’re still very good.
Of course, after that, I listened to the soundtrack multiple times, but I always felt that something was missing. I knew that the art from Hollow Knight was also excellent so I looked into collecting some prints, but eventually it occurred to me to get the record of its OST. Admittedly, that idea proved way too expensive, so I settled for a pre-order of a piano version. In hindsight, maybe I just wanted to relive Hollow Knight so I probably should have just restarted the game, but at this point I’d already ordered it, so hell, why not get more?
And that’s precisely what I did. I used a cheap record player my sister once got on a whim and I went on a massive spree of buying all my favourite albums. The first issue I came across was that records are expensive – ranging from £15 to £40 – and let’s be honest, it’s for an album that you could listen to online. So I went and bought roughly 2-3 a day for about two weeks, by which point it was becoming a big problem for my wallet. I know for sure that when I get back to the pubs I will want that money for drinks.
But it was just so good – it felt like I was rediscovering music and building up my own collection of songs that were important to me as I went. At the start of collecting, my sister gave me hers and I only kept one of the records (Fleetwood Mac, by the way) and gave the rest away. My aim was to have an extremely well-curated collection that I could look back on with pride. During this exploit, I was also able to research more about my favourite artists and actually support them far more than if I just listened to their songs on Spotify.
I now have a decent record player (despite it being older than me), as well as a collection of 50 records that I would happily listen to. That’s probably way too many for a student, but what the hell – we’re in lockdown. I feel as though I have learnt so much about my music taste through this process while also giving the artists I love the support they deserve, and I’m looking forward to all the songs I am able to discover and appreciate in this format. Also, you will be happy to know that I have calmed down and now only buy one record a week. Perhaps this is a midlife crisis even though I’m only 20 (but hey, I could die at 40), and once lockdown is over I will look back and laugh at myself. But for now, I’d rather I keep this new connection to music that I didn’t even know was possible a year ago.