A Little Reminder That I’ll Never Forget: The Legacy of Lostprophets

By on Tuesday, 8th October 2013 at 11:00 am
 

In the past 6 months, I’ve lost two cornerstones of my teenage identity. No I haven’t lost my virginity aged 21, nor have I misplaced my GCSE certificates. I’ve lost Lostprophets and My Chemical Romance. Two bands that I directly relate to my discovery of rock music – gone under two sets of completely incomparable circumstances, but gone nonetheless and hardly likely to be doing any reunion tours, ala Fall Out Boy anytime soon. So how did my love affair with the two juggernauts of emo start?

I still remember innocently flicking onto Kerrang! on Sky at my parents’ house in Guernsey when I was 14 years old, and the video to ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’ was in full flow, Gerard Way leading his macabre marching band. However, at that time I was none the wiser to who it was, but I became utterly obsessed with it. I was relatively unfamiliar with popular music at that time, other than what I listened to on the island’s commercial radio station Island FM as my Mum drove me to school. I was subjected to an eclectic mix of all that was popular around the 1970ss mixed with about every Robbie Williams track ever recorded, played at least once every hour. And Dido. But I fucking loved Dido. (Actually, I still do.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDWgsQhbaqU[/youtube]

So as I played ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’ constantly on the home computer, I got deeply engrossed in the lyrics and the music and suddenly I decided I was rock and roll. I was cool, I got to hang out with the kids with long hair and listen to music that was draped in darkness. I allowed myself to grow an identity that was defined by music that other people called ‘emo’ and ‘goth’ and I bloody loved it. It was a sense of identity that I, along with any teenager at that point in their life, yearned for which My Chemical Romance and later Lostprophets fuelled.

Alongside my obsession with ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’, I discovered Lostprophets’ ‘Liberation Transmission’, another album that I still remember around this massive juncture in my life. Okay, so I wasn’t standing on a rooftop screaming my heart out, however much this is painting me to be a dreadfully folorn figure at just 14. In fact, life was pretty cosy, but if it helps to visualise me as a deeply depressed loner in the playground than feel free. Although no visualising me with glasses. In their music I found an identity, which as I mentioned set me apart from the Radio 1/Island FM dogma. I wanted to use that identity so that girls would think I was a bit quirky, a bit edgy, not just that spotty curly-haired gimp that was pretty good at maths.

However, there was this whole stigma sticking around these bands, MCR especially. That they were the problem behind suicide cults, a stigma that I as a news-blind 14-year old was completely unaware of. Was I interested in that side of the story? Was I? Fuck. I just wanted to at least try and be cool and this music was my stepping board, my way of bizarrely expressing MY individualism through such uber-creative mediums as MySpace and Bebo. (Warning: do not search for my MySpace or Bebo page, they may cause cringe-induced comas.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z5FWlUN1go[/youtube]

Now, in 2013, as both of these bands have packed up their eye-liner, binned the horrendously tight skinny–jeans/marching band gear (delete as appropriate) and done away with the lyrics about death and slashed wrists, there’s a juncture for any fan of this age. I’m sure I’m not the only one who stumbled upon the videos to ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’, ‘Rooftops’, etc. and now feels rather upset that undeniably a bit of their childhood which defined them now as adults has disappeared, probably forever.

With Lostprophets, it is walking on uneasy grounds. Grounds which as a news-focused journalist in my day job I am extremely legally terrified of touching – so I won’t, I’ll instead focus on the musical legacy left by the Pontypridd rockers. It is a legacy somewhat tainted by the relative inadequacy of their most recent two records, ‘The Betrayed’ and ‘Weapons’. Two pieces of work that in comparison to the band’s earlier efforts really just stunk of a yearning to make another ‘Liberation Transmission’, or even another ‘Start Something’, but which tragically fell short. In their pre-2007 career, Lostprophets were part of a small group which defined the very genre that they were part of. Creating experimental rhythms and beats, slapping it on top of a chugging bass line with a chorus catchier than the flu – Songs like ‘Burn Burn’, ‘Rooftops’ and ‘Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja’ were utterly fantastic rock songs and have arguably inspired a generation of new bands to follow suit.

To name but a few, their countrymen The Blackout, pop-rockers You Me at Six and more, in fact you’ll struggle to find a band of that ilk who wouldn’t cite Lostprophets as one of the reasons that they donned the skinnies and started jumping up and down with their legs together whilst screaming at the top of their voice. It’s a generation of bands who now live on past the legacy that Lostprophets, in my opinion, set.

Over the past few years the band may have fallen flat, but the generations of teenagers and musicians which they inspired live on, through the music. They’re a band who sung about making their mark, who sung about how they’ve always tried. Well, they did leave a legacy, one which I hope people will remember, above the controversy no matter what happens.

They’re gone, but not forgotten. They really did ‘Start Something’.

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