2018 was a whirlwind. 2019 is already looking to be the same (in the best possible way) and we at SoP can’t wait. Here’s what Ellie is looking forward to…
‘People seem to have two gears, either: super mopey, feeling sorry for yourself music or party music!’ So said Boston Manor’s Henry Cox in a feature for Download Festival earlier this year. When contemplating the release of the band’s brilliant album, Welcome To The Neighbourhood, he added that he just wanted to make an ‘angry’ record.
That’s definitely been a theme for 2018. Anger. On WTTN, Boston Manor tackled issues of poverty, millennial apathy, toxic masculinity, as well as the feeling of being generally let down by society. The backdrop of a bleak, semi-dystopian Blackpool suited the band’s music perfectly. IDLES released an entire album packed with tongue-in-cheek political discourse; Brexit, xenophobia, and other topics were addressed with a bucketful of rage and tied up with a neat bow of delightful humour. Black Peaks’ All That Divides was another record that turned its sights to the political climate, voicing fears of a tumultuous, divided Britain. Muncie Girls’ Fixed Ideals had definite feminist undertones, and Senses Fail’s seventh record was personal and emotional whilst still sticking it to the man with some angry punk numbers.
This is what we need more of.
I’m not saying we need less of the emotional stuff; songs written about mental health issues, grief, loneliness, heartbreak etc. are undoubtedly important. They make people feel less alone. They give catharsis to those who need an external point to reach to for empathy. I’m not saying we need less, as Cox puts it, ‘party music’ – we all need to let loose and have fun and obviously our favourite bands make the best soundtracks for that. But we need more politically, socially-charged music – the world needs it. The rock ‘n’ roll and psychedelia of the sixties helped to spark protests and influence the masses to change for the better – the lyrics appealed globally rather than individually. Eighties punk right up to the origins of pop-punk in the late nineties was inherently political; it was a f*** you to governments who oppressed minorities, and inspired people to fight for their rights.
The social and political climate right now is frankly, terrifying – right-wing governments are growing more powerful all over the world. People fear losing their rights all over again and they need art they can look to for courage – so in 2019 what I’d love to see is the continued rise of politically-charged rock music that should hopefully come hand in hand with a wave of diversification in the alternative genres. After all, music is something everyone can rally around.