When you load up Spotify, a great big chunk of the time you can’t think what to play, right? You default back to your old favourites, those albums and songs you played on repeat when you first discovered you could make them yours.
This isn’t about guilty pleasures; it’s about those songs you’ll still be listening to when you’re old and in your rocking chair. So, enter Teenage Kicks – a playlist series that sees bands running through the music they listened to in their formative years.
Next up, Bar Stool Preachers’ vocalist, Tom McFaull.
Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen In Love With Someone
I had this battered old CD called ‘Sound of the Suburbs’ when I was a teenager that I stole from my mum’s car, and it was never far from my walkman. It had some absolute belters on there, all mainly late 70s and early 80s UK punk, stuff like The Vapours and The Undertones, The Stranglers and this song. This song changed my life. Yeah, yeah, I know that’s been said before, but this song was a serious game-changer. The harmonies, the melody, that guitar line… I would belt it on the road walking to school or on the bus, because I just couldn’t not. Still one of my favourite songs ever, hell I’ll say it, one of the greatest songs ever written.
System of a Down – Prison Song
No band had the rage and pure eccentricity that System did. Again, it was just totally different to anything I’d heard before, which was massive because by 14, I thought I knew everything. Man, are we always wrong. Serj Tankian’s voice, lyrics and power are still kinda unrivalled, and as a teenager in a baggy hoodie and vans, surrounded by other kids just confused and angry about existing, their music quickly became tribal to us. I still blast this album, and I hope I always stay angry enough to listen to Toxicity at full blast. It still makes me smile to listen to it in the car and watch snoots turn up their nose at traffic lights. Beat it, losers, I’m screaming along to every word.
Green Day – Sassafras Roots
‘Dookie’ blew my mind. My older sisters were listening to Green Day when I was like 11, and I used to hear this album pumping out from under the door. Stood in the hall, this was one of the songs that sounded totally new to me, like something I’d never heard before. I discovered Green Day a bit later than a few people, so the next album I had was American Idiot (I was 13 when that came out), so after that, they made up a huge part of everything I listened to. At least one song made every mix CD throughout my teenage years. I remember my French teacher catching me listening to Boulevard of Broken Dreams in class one day, and instead of hauling me over the coals, he listened with me for a minute and loved it. I think their massive broad appeal comes from being one of those bands that manage to update their sound, stay original and keep writing huge tunes.
Arctic Monkeys – Mardy Bum
A late teen banger and a song that sits a bit outside the rest. By the time I got into indie and the Arctic Monkeys, I was also into jungle, garage and drum and bass, smoking weed and riding in mates clapped out Ford fiestas. Even the kids that were nothing like us liked this song. In terms of songwriting, I couldn’t really ever fault it, and it was a proper indie night classic when we were sneaking into pubs at 16. I’ll still belt this at a wedding when the moment comes. Not a massive fan of modern Arctic Monkeys, but the first two albums were unreal. Not sure that many people write better lyrics than Alex Turner. Songs about your mates, falling in love, about generally being little debaucherous wrong’uns, but underpinning it all, just a whole heap of real. 10/10 would listen to it with your nan.
The Clash – Complete Control
The Clash were a band I was introduced to early. I started out loving songs like ‘Janie Jones’ and ‘Wrong’ Em Boyo’, but as a teenager, I was listening to their first album on repeat. It was angry, it was raw, just what I was after. ‘Complete Control’ was a middle finger salute to the industry, labels, takers and posers, and as a kid that was constantly looking for something to kick off about and rail against, this song became a soundtrack to getting in trouble. The Clash are still on repeat in my house, and no band still has managed to capture the spirit and heart of rebellion like them.
The Members – Sound of the Suburbs
Another tune from the UK punk archives and discovered at around the same time for me as most of the late 70s bands; this is easily the best Member’s song in my eyes. The scratchy, twangy guitar sound and the immediacy of the lyrics and delivery had me hooked from the first listen. The reveille ‘bugle’ intro guitar line made me smile every time, and I still remember the feeling of it announcing the song lyrics like “the youth club group used to wanna be free, now they want anarchy” was bang on for me too as a teenager that even then couldn’t really understand how people were just alright to sit around, do nothing and listen to crap music. I wanted to burn it down, and the social commentary on this song made me want to have been there at the Marquee.
The Offspring – Bad Habit
‘Smash’, ‘Americana’, ‘Ixnay’ and ‘Conspiracy’ were angry, loud and sweary, the perfect mix for angsty teenagers. Apart from being one of the most disappointing gigs of my young life (enough said about that, the better), Offspring’s albums were constantly playing in my house and in the car. We used to pack the car with sleeping bags, a tent, all the family, and drive to France. The car would be so stacked that, as the youngest, I’d be sat in the middle seat, on top of a bunch of stuff, and the whole family would belt out the words to Smash. Which in itself was pretty amazing, but Bad Habit stuck out as the song that brought us the most joy. Mum would try and turn down the middle bit (“You stupid dumbsht goddamn motherfcker!”), but half the time would get it wrong, which meant we got to shout swear words at the top of our lungs. Mint.
Blink 182 – Every Time I Look For You
Pop-punk perfection. Every band I was in during secondary school (which was probably too many) covered this song; even if we never gigged, we used to smash Blink. The perfect blend of stupid, fun lyrics, catchy hooks and top harmonies meant Blink was a great place to start playing music and the songs, whilst being brilliantly written, were easy enough to access and learn. ‘Every Time I Look For You’ is a song that gets overlooked a lot in a great back catalogue, but it is definitely one of my favourite. I could’ve picked a bunch of Blink songs, but this one, again, probably made the most mix CDs.
Taken from the April 2023 issue of Upset. Bar Stool Preachers’ album ‘Above The Static’ is out 31st March.