• Mark Mathews

The Greatest Gomez Songs 1998 - 2011


Ever since their debut, Bring it on, was released in 1998 I've been a huge fan of the Southport indie band, Gomez. I would actually go as far to say that they are one of the fundamental bands that shaped my songwriting and style and would be mentioned in the same breath as The Beatles, Small Faces and Oasis as being seminal in their impact on me as an early songwriter.

The thing about Gomez is that they have sound tracked my life and consistently release albums that reverberate and resonate with me. I find them truly uplifting, comforting and continually interesting - whether that be how they go about utilising the vocal mixes of the three singers, Ben Ottewell, Ian Ball and Tom Gray or their juxtaposition of organic, acoustic instruments with electronic sounds and samples. Put simply, they are a wonderful band.

So, I thought I would go back over their main studio albums and choose a song from each one that I particularly love and share them with you guys. You're very welcome!

SONG: FREE TO RUN

ALBUM: BRING IT ON

YEAR: 1998

The first album, Bring it on, won the Mercury Music Prize back in 1998 and is one of the most complete albums of the decade, if not the past twenty years - in my humble opinion. It would be almost impossible to choose just one track from it, but luckily for me this album has one of my all time favourite songs on! Free to run is a truly euphoric tune, that sings and speaks to me like no other. Even after all those years this tune never fails to mean something to me and speaks to the wandering troubadour within!

SONG: RHYTHM & BLUES ALIBI

ALBUM: LIQUID SKIN

YEAR: 1999

A year later, Liquid Skin, was released which was another smash hit, going Platinum. And rightly so I say, as this collection of songs are down right incredible. So incredible that I really struggled with choosing just one song but after lots of deliberation I opted to go for the first single released from this album, Rhythm & Blues Alibi. This was their piss take of the then current trend of rehashed R&B pop tunes dominating the charts. I chose this mainly for it being loaded with memories for me more than anything else, but it is still an ace tune.

SONG: SOUND OF SOUNDS

ALBUM: IN OUR GUN

YEAR: 2002

The third Gomez album moved a little further away from the acoustic instruments and was a little more experimental using a lot more samples and machines to make some really quite heavy sounding music. So, the song, Sound of Sounds, comes in as a lovely respite mid way through the album and it's strength is the mix of the three vocalists - melding their individual tones to make a thing of utter beauty.

SONG: WE DON'T KNOW WHERE WE'RE GOING

ALBUM: SPLIT THE DIFFERENCE

YEAR: 2004

Gomez had so far self produced the previous albums but decided to bring a Producer in on 2004's Split the difference record in the shape of Tchad Blake who had worked with Pearl Jam and Crowded House. This decision to bring in help added yet another layer to the bands songwriting with a collection of songs that were sometimes lush and spirited and at others deep, dark and heavy. This track, We don't know where we're going, is very much the latter!

SONG: CHASING GHOSTS WITH ALCOHOL

ALBUM: HOW TO OPERATE

YEAR: 2006

The band decided to keep with bringing in a Producer for this, their fifth studio album, and choose Gil Norton who has worked with The Pixies and Foo Fighters. However, contrary to the sound of those two rock bands, this album was a return to a much lighter and minimalist sound which originally attracted their fan base. Chasing ghosts with alcohol, is a good example of this approach: a low-fi, subtle affair with slide guitar, glorious harmonies and a sentiment that relates, creates atmosphere and ignites a deep feeling.

SONG: AIRSTREAM DRIVER

ALBUM: A NEW TIDE

YEAR: 2009

At this point in the bands career the members were spread across two continents with some being in the United States and others back in England. This meant their songwriting was happening online in a virtual fashion, with ideas and demos being shared around and worked on from their respective homes. The approach this time round to writing was to become experimental again, but with the idea of making the tunes work on the live scene too - Just a side note, if you get the chance to see Gomez live, go! They are immense! - Possibly down to this disconnected songwriting process, A New Tide, has a variety of different influences and styles on the album but I choose the song, Airstream Driver , as an example of their search for a more experimental sound that would work live.

SONG: JUST AS LOST AS YOU

ALBUM: WHATEVER'S ON YOUR MIND

YEAR: 2011

This album, Whatever's on your mind, is up there with their very best in my opinion. It is a familiar sound that is at the same time new. I find the sentiments of the song and the music to be very reminiscent of their first two albums - uplifting, beautiful, poetic and glorious. Just as lost as you, in particular is a song that connects with me, makes me feel joyful and also has a certain melancholy underlying it. It's everything a pop song should strive to be. Just as lost as you, makes me feel the same way that many of Gomez's songs on their debut album made me feel - a true love for music and songwriting and a spiritual connection to sounds that I can't, and don't want to, explain.

Picking just one song from each album was truly a difficult task for me. I love Gomez and they have so many ace songs that to just pick one from each album is outrageously stressful! However, if you've enjoyed these I cannot impress on you enough to get all the albums and take that musical journey from start to finish. You will not regret it. Gomez were fundamental in me making music and writing songs and that is something I am forever grateful for and feel blessed to have been around since their incarnation. True Story!

Should I have chosen any other Gomez songs? Let me know in the comments below!

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