The first song of Wolf Alice’s I ever heard was “Moaning Lisa Smile,” on the car radio. I dug its gritty 90s vibe, but sort of forgot about it for a few months until I heard it in the car again. I decided to look them up online when I got home. Within a few moments of doing so, I’d downloaded two of their EPs, “Blush” and “Creature Songs.”
The 90s were my time to come of age; I was in my teens and twenties throughout them. I was definitely into the alternative and grunge scenes. However, I’ve never considered myself “stuck” on them. I feel that a lot of people hold on too tightly to the music of their youth. I’ve always tried to keep an open mind about music, to find bands and/or songs that I like in each genre, and to keep an ear out for great new music. Few things bother me more than people who say there’s no good music anymore. I say those people just don’t know where to look for it.
So I don’t make a habit of seeking out music with a 90s alternative sound, but there’s something about Wolf Alice’s take on it that I find incredibly pleasing. I also love the voice of Ellie Rowsell, their lead singer. That’s not something you’ll hear me say a whole lot. I tend to prefer male singers. In recent years, I’ve found more and more female singers that I enjoy (Elephant, First Aid Kit, Phantogram) but my music library is still largely overrun by men.
But even more than I love Ellie’s beautiful, haunting vocals, and more than I love the way that the music completely sets the tone of the song, manipulating how I feel, I love the opening lyrics of “Blush”:
Curse the things that made me sad for so long
Yeah, it hurts to think that they can still go on
I’m happy now
Are you happy now?
Man, that hits me right where it hurts. I spent a lot of this year struggling with feelings of inadequacy. They were of a particular sort that I hadn’t felt in a while. It reminded me of some of my more youthful struggles, and it drove me nuts to think that these feelings I thought I’d conquered were still lurking in my psyche, all these years later. I got through that bad patch, and I did so before I ever heard of this song, but those lyrics still mean a lot to me. I listen to “Blush” all the time now. It’s a good reminder to not let my old demons get the best of me, because I’m happy now.
I’m expecting good things from Wolf Alice in the future.