For Christians, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. For Britpop fans, it’s a day to celebrate one of Northern Ireland’s finest musical exports. Ash formed in 1992, and much to the chagrin of pretty much everyone, achieved chart success while they were still teenagers. More than 20 years later, the band continues to tour and release new music — but today we’ll look back at some of the most underrated Ash tunes as we celebrate Ash Wednesday!
“Jack Names the Planets”
Ash Wednesday 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the release of early Ash single “Jack Names the Planets.” In honor of this special occasion, the band re-recorded this old track and is offering it up on their official website for a free download. It’s a feel good, teenage pop-punk anthem.
The closer from 2001’s Free All Angels is a rocking pop-punk free-for-all with punching guitar riffs and a killer hook. Tim Wheeler boldly declares, “You know we don’t give a fuck how we’re meant to be / So gimme gimme gimme what belongs to me!” This is probably the most fun song ever written about taking over the world.
“Death Trip 21”
Ash released Nu-Clear Sounds in 1998. It was the band’s first studio album as a four-piece with the addition of guitarist Charlotte Hatherley. Nu-Clear Sounds was a departure from the lo-fi pop-punk of Ash’s earlier releases seeing the band adopt a more up-tempo pop sound. “Death Trip 21” is one of the record’s darker tracks.
Featured on Ash’s first “official” album 1977, “Innocent Smile” saw the band maturing from their punk roots. “Goldfinger’s” bratty younger sibling is an atmospheric, lo-fi epic (by Ash standards) about criminal teenage kicks.
“Day of the Triffids”
I’m a big fan of early Ash. The group’s earliest output reflected both their youth and interest in all things science fiction. “Day of the Triffids” is a nod to the 1951 novel (later adapted into film) of the same name. The track’s doo-wop influenced chorus provides a stark contrast to a song that is otherwise about the annihilation of planet Earth by alien lifeforms.