Why I Love…Idlewild

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Why I Love… is a feature where I talk about the things I love – some bookish, some not – and why I love them. Today I’m talking about why I love my favourite band, Idlewild.

Discography:

Hope Is Important (1998)

100 Broken Windows (2000)

The Remote Part (2002)

Warnings/Promises (2005)

Make Another World (2007)

Post Electric Blues (2009)

Everything Ever Written (2015)

Idlewild is a Scottish rock band, taking its name from the book Anne of Green Gables. I first came across the band while I was up late one night when I was 15 or 16, watching Much Music (Canada’s music video / music TV station). The video for “Little Discourage” came on, and I loved the song. I grabbed a pen and paper, and when it came up on the screen, I wrote down the name of the band, the song, and the album. I went to one of the then-numerous CD stores in the mall to buy the album, which ended up costing me $26 dollars plus tax – astronomical! That’s when I learned, in those days before I had internet and before bands had Wikipedia pages and websites, that the CD was an import – hence the steep price.

I quickly fell in love with the album, replaying it constantly, and that’s how my love for my favourite band began. Idlewild’s music has been with me since that night in 2000 – a good 15 years! The music has seen me through high school (100 Broken Windows), university (The Remote Part, Warnings/Promises) and college (Make Another World), entering the job market (Post Electric Blues), and now going from renting to owning my first home (Everything Ever Written). (Confession: Hope Is Important is an album from which I only know a couple of songs. My life with Idlewild begins at 100 Broken Windows)

Each album evokes memories from those different periods in my life, and some of them are so vivid that when a certain song comes on, it brings me right back to that point in my life. And the wait between Post Electric Blues and Everything Ever Written was so long that I feared that I’d never experience a new Idlewild album again.

Thankfully, when the band began posting pictures on Instagram in the recording studio, I knew that something great was coming. And the wait was more than worth it! Everything Ever Written is one of my favourite albums of all time and I’ve been listening to it nearly non-stop since it was made available for purchase on iTunes Canada.

Each album has a different feel than the one that came before, but there is something intangibly Idlewild about them all. While their music has become more melodic over the years, the band has retained the harder edge of their earlier songs, and I love it all!

Idlewild’s music is a mix of rock, pop, punk, alternative, folk, and it all just works. Frontman Roddy Woomble doesn’t just sing; his voice growls and soars and has a hint of that glorious Scottish accent. When I listen to Idlewild on my iPod, the volume is turned up all the way. I want to hear every note of every voice, every instrument, every beat on every song.

If I were to try and put their albums (omitting Hope Is Important) in order of my personal favourites, the list might look like this:

The Remote Part

Everything Ever Written

100 Broken Windows

Post Electric Blues

Warnings/Promises

Make Another World

But I’m not 100% sure about that. Thinking about it now, I want to move Post Electric Blues up the list. And when I remember how much I love songs like “In Competition for the Worst Time” and “For Once In Your Life”, I want to move up Make Another World. And do I only love Everything Ever Written so much because it’s the most recent, and therefore the most frequently played right now? I don’t know. It’s so hard to try and rank these albums, because as I said earlier, they all have a different sound.

What is a little easier (but still not easy) for me to do is to list my favourite songs off each album:

100 Broken Windows

Actually It’s Darkness” – I don’t know how a person can listen to this song and not like it. This has to be one of my top favourite songs, ever. When this comes on, I want to crank up the volume and sing along at the top of my lungs. The acoustic version is great too.

Little Discourage” – the song that started it all!

The Remote Part (I could literally list every song on this album. It feels wrong to leave off “American English”, “You Held the World in Your Arms”, “I Am What I Am Not”, and the rest!)

A Modern Way of Letting Go

Stay the Same” – I love the guitar inro in this song

Out of Routine” – another fantastic guitar intro

In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction” – there’s something about this song that always takes my breath away. It’s so gentle and then by the end it rocks out so much. It’s beautiful.

Warnings/Promises

Love Steals Us From Loneliness” – the acoustic version of this is great too

Blame It On Obvious Ways

El Capitan

Make Another World

Once In Your Life” – I LOVE the guitar in this song

In Competition for the Worst Time

No Emotion

Hidden Ways

Post Electric Blues

Readers and Writers

All Over the Town

Circles in Stars

Take Me Back to the Islands

Everything Ever Written (Again, I could probably list every song on this album. It feels wrong to leave off songs like “So Many Things to Decide” and “Collect Yourself”)

Radium Girl

Come On Ghost

Use It If You Can Use It” – I think this is my favourite song on the album. I could listen to it over and over.

Every Little Means Trust” (video featuring fellow Canadian and Idlewild fan Jay Baruchel)

Nothing I Can Do About It

The brilliance of Everything Ever Written has me optimistic and excited for the future of the band, a band that I’ve loved for half of my life, and it’s made me realize that while I’ve been fortunate enough to see many bands that I enjoy live in concert, seeing Idlewild in concert is my major life goal.

Sadly, while the new album has them returning to the USA for the first time since, I think, The Remote Part, it doesn’t look like they’re planning to come play shows in Canada, meaning that the dream of seeing my favourite band play live will remain a dream.

I hope you check out some of their songs and fall in love with Idlewild too!

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