Paolo Nutini: Nothing bittersweet about the singer-songwriter’s return

By Sara Valle-Martínez

The Scottish boy with an Italian name is back!

After eight years of radio silence, Paolo Nutini announced he would be part of the line-up for different UK festivals like TRSNMT in Scotland and the legendary Knebworth, then he announced extra dates in Spain, Italy, France… And just a few days after a series of intimate shows was booked, he dropped two new songs.

That’s when people knew it: Paolo Nutini is back for good.

Photo by Sara Valle-Martínez

“It felt amazing seeing Paolo after such a long, long time. I’ve been following him since the age of seven, after being introduced by my parents,” said Jac Stoddard, 20, a full-time fashion promotion student living in London.

Tickets went on sale a few days before the concerts, which started in Sheffield before landing in London in 100 Club, right in the heart of Oxford Street.

100 Club is iconic – besides being the oldest independent venue worldwide, it is the spiritual home of the punk movement. It has hosted bands like the Sex PistolsOasis, or Muse

Now, Paolo Nutini fans will remember it as the place where they listened to his new songs for the very first time.

“The new album going to be amazing. It came as a surprise; all of a sudden!” said Tatiana Barone, 34, who works in marketing. “I already have a couple songs that I love, like the two new singles and one called Acid Eyes.”

Photo by Sara Valle-Martínez
Photo by Sara Valle-Martínez

The singer-songwriter’s fourth studio album comes out next July 1. Produced by Nutini himself, Dani Castelar, and Gavin FitzjohnLast Night in the Bittersweet is a 70-minute epic that spans the distance from classic rock to post-punk to hypnotic Krautrock, an experimental rock genre that developed in Germany.

Lose It, with its insistent Motorik rhythms raw beats, and Through the Echoes, which feels like an instant timeless classic, are the two first songs off the highly anticipated album. They are already available in all streaming platforms.

Acid Eyes, Afterneath, Petrified in Love, Radio, Desperation, Shine a Light and Writer are some of the new songs off the new album Nutini played for enthusiastic fans.

Nutini also played some of the oldies that fans have waited to experience live again: CandyPencil Full of Lead and Coming Up Easy, amongst other hits. The crowd sang the lyrics, he joked between songs, drinks came and went and song after song, the night came to a halt. All in all, he left people speechless all over again.

His vocal prowess and heartfelt lyrics are intact after all these years. Nutini can serenade a room full of people while looking like he’s alone in his bedroom, headphones on, makeshift microphone in hand, eyes closed, and vocal cords pulsating.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that he actually sings with his eyes closed, like he’s trying to forget people are staring and singing back; his soul on display as he gifts the audience a top-notch performance full of significance and good vibes.

“Like all his other music, I found it’s a perfect balance between sadness and happiness or a lot of energy and relaxation,” added Stoddard. “Overall, the experience was truly magical as you can hear how much the music means to Paolo in his voice and it could send a shiver down anyone’s spine.”

Photo by Sara Valle-Martínez

Over eight years have passed since Nutini released his critically acclaimed record, with gems like Iron Sky, a political song that features Charlie Chaplin’s speech from The Great Dictator; or Better Man, a ballad he wrote for his sister.

The new songs have a lot in store, with lyrics that feel like a private love letter; others that will inspire even those who were born with two left feet to dance, and melodies that are bound to become anthems like Candy did.

So, Paolo Nutini is back, fans are happy and the new record comes out next July 1. Who’s ready to Lose It for a little while?

Link to published story:

An ode to fangirls

By Sara Valle-Martínez

Being a fan is hard. As Caitlin Moran puts it in her book, How To Be Famous, there’s something incredibly intimate about consuming someone else’s art. The connection is even stronger when you’re a teenager exposed to any kind of stimuli.

It’s especially hard if you’re a girl. In an era where K-Pop has emerged leader of most fan groups, the diatribe of the “annoying fan” has come to life again and teenagers are alienated in judged because of their taste.

Photo by Vinu00edcius Caricatte on

“I think music is really important when you’re growing up,” said Katrin Ehrhardt, 34, a music fan who works as a chiropractor in Germany. “It can comfort you when you feel like no one else understands you.”

Music can help teenager define their place within society, as it provides a way to experience emotion in a non-confrontational way and to communicate feelings, as described by Musical U, an organisation that is fighting to chance musical training and understanding.

K-Pop band BTS, who have one of the biggest fanbases.

“Back [when I started listening to my favourite bands] I was a really shy girl and never wanted to stand out,” added Ms Ehrhardt, who now braves to go to concerts on her own. “I felt such comfort in their songs.”

Music can be a connection between the artists and the beholder. Oftentimes, this connection goes beyond that, and people find a safe haven on online chats, where they can discuss their feelings and views.

“I met a lot people through their music and I made some friends that I still have,” said Chiara Boccia, 30, a pub manager in London who met her best friend on a Simple Plan chat. “It was because of them that I started learning a different language and that’s why I live in England now.”

Deva Fernández, 30, was one of the users in the chat, too. They shared their love for eyeliner, Vans, and music. They felt the love Moran was talking about – the same that is supposed to be terribly wrong if you’re a teenage girl.

Ms Fernández’s seen her other favourite band, All Time Low, 41 times all over the world before she moved to Mexico a few years ago chasing her other love: film.

She said: “I listened to their music on repeat… My dream was to become friends with them.”

Fangirls are always ready to chant their favourite bands’ songs. Both Ms Fernández and Ms Boccia felt like these people whose photos hanged on their walls would understand their angst and pangs and moments of joy, too.

They helped them become who they are now. They don’t regret the money, the stress, the overnight queues, the places they’ve travelled to see their idols live and the friends they’ve made along the way.

“Boys love clever things cleverly, girls love foolish things foolishly,” ironically says Moran in her novel. 

“How awful it would be to love bands like teenage girls do? How awful it would be to be the wrong kind of fan? A girl.”

It’s time to change the narrative.

Be festival-ready in five

Festival season is nigh! Dust off your wellies, take your sunscreen, and ready those ears to see and listen to your favourite band this summer. From Glastonbury to Download, these tips will make sure you get all you need to take your experience to the max.

Almost 34 million people go to festivals in the UK every year, as published by London had the highest music tourists spending figures in 2019, just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. But most people wonder what to take with them when they go to a festival.

The stress of running from stage to stage to catch all the live acts possible, the expensive food, the heat and the sludgy mud can be complicated to navigate without any prior experience. But fear not, this is the ultimate festival guide.

Reusable bottle

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on

Glastonbury is one of many festivals that plague the country when the sun comes back out and the temperature allows mid-riff showing and burnt shoulders. Some consider it as royalty, as it’s the longest running festival in the UK.

Marta Lumbierres, 32, who works as a volunteer in Glastonbury every summer, said: “I think a refillable water bottle is key. Festival season is always in summer, so it comes in handy.”

Bum bag

Photo by Phenyo Deluxe on

Passport, keys, protection, phone… you name it, a bum bag can take it. Pickpocketters won’t have it as easy if you hang it over your chest.

“Some people hate them, but it’s the best way of keeping everything secure in one place,” said Ivo Amadeu Netto, 30, a sales coordinator who’s travelled all over the world, from Brazil to the US via Germany, for concerts.


Photo by Felipe Ferreira on

Even though the UK is not renowned for its tropical weather, sunglasses are a must.

“If we are lucky, to protect from the sun, or from someone you don’t want to make eye contact with,” added Mr Netto.


Photo by Thirdman on

“Those who don’t wear their wellies are going to regret it,” said Ms Lumbierres.

“It doesn’t really matter where the festival is. North, South… If you’re going to a festival in the UK, grab your wellies!” said Marina Arraez, 37, who works in human resources. “I’m going to Scotland for a festival later this year and it’s the first thing I’m going to pack.”


Photo by Kindel Media on

Some festivals, like Slam Dunk, are a one-day event. Some others, like Reading and Leeds, require you to spend big money in hotels that blow up their prices to benefit from the hordes of people marching to the same event. If you are a little bit thrifty, there’s always the chance to camp.

“I know it may sound weird, but earplugs are key! Especially if you’re going to camp there. You don’t want to hear people having sex in the middle of the night… or be woken up by a drunken person. Let’s face it, everyone goes a little wild in festivals!” joked Justin Oliver, 25, a sales representative based in London.

So, are you ready for festival season?

What a ball-sy throwback to childhood!

By Sara Valle-Martínez

You can practically find anything in London, even things that you never thought you needed. There’re cat cafés, a junkyard full of neon signs, a tattoo shop with a fortune wheel and… a ball pit for adults.

Ballie Ballerson is in the heart of East London. The quirky and trendy streets of Shoreditch, with walls plastered in graffiti, chic neighbours with coloured hair and reconverted shipping containers in its famous Boxpark, is the right fit for this cocktail-bar-turned-playground.

“The whole premise of Ballie Ballerson is to let go of any of your adult inhibitions and really have the chance to have proper fun, just like when you were a child and didn’t have to think about tax, work and London rent prices,” said Saoirse Sullivan, a spokesperson from the venue.

Visitor enjoying the ball pits @ Ballie Ballerson. Photo by Sara Valle-Martínez.

The dark high ceilings may fool you when you walk in, but as soon as you get your wristband, you’re ready to enter this immersive and drunken regression to childhood memories.

Two different ball pits are wedged between a VIP area full of brides-to-be and their bridesmaids and a bar where you can shake your hips and twirl around to the latest – and some of the greatest – hits.

“I think it’s a very cool place but if you really think about it, the club and the ball pit together is a stretch,” said Arnau Martinez, 25, trying to speak over the loud music. “Everyone’s drunk, so I can only imagine how many balls need replacing every week.”

Inside the ball pits, you can play your own scavenger’s game. You just need to wiggle in between the multicoloured spheres and rummage around. That’s if you survive the constant BPA-free plastic ball fight.

“I found a ring!” Mr Martinez said as he raised his hand to display the metal piece of jewellery. “Some other stuff, too – a pair of sunglasses, a shoe… Madness!”

But fear not! The balls are cleaned weekly by this teletubbiesque machine called Gobble Muffin – a perfect throwback to your childhood.

Visitor enjoying the ball pits @ Ballie Ballerson. Photo by Sara Valle-Martínez.

Security measures are also taken to ensure everyone’s safety. Security guards are planted all over the venue as well as at the entrance to the two ball pits – makeshift for impromptu photo sets.

The pastel colours of the smallest ball bit, covered in fake giant candy hearts with naughty messages and puns, is where most people make their debut as models. Drinks are not allowed inside the pits, but tipsy visitors prance like children, throwing the balls up in the air and raising their face towards the rainbow plastic rain.

“It’s great to feel like you are a child all over again. We’re adults, we have our jobs, but in places like this we can forget about everything,” said Gul Bozkart, 22, a salesperson who was celebrating her best friend’s birthday. Both held a cocktailed topped with cotton candy.

Tickets for Ballie Ballerson range between £5.50 to £17.50 on Saturdays and cocktails are around £10. Some of them are served in reusable and resealable plastic balls with blinking party lights inside.

OCD doesn’t stand for Organised and Calm, Dude!

By Sara Valle-Martínez

Stove is off. Touch it; make sure it’s not hot. Okay, that’s fine. And now the window. Just grab the handle. Shake it a little bit. Is it locked? Fine, let’s move on. Is the hair straightener off? Go upstairs; touch the plug. Yes. Okay, take pictures of it. One is not enough. Three – that’s better. Okay, and the front door?

“OCD, an acronym for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is a form of extreme anxiety, fear and emotional overwhelm and if untreated this can lead to panic attacks as well as intrusive thoughts that hijack the rational belief system and result in paranoia,” said Dipti Tait, a hypnotherapist and psychotherapist based in London.

Neil Hilborn’s poem on OCD for Button Poetry.

To this day, the causes to this mental illness that affects 1.2% of the population are unknown. Some of the hypotheses are a chemical imbalance in the brain, genetics and learnt behaviour, according to The Mayo Clinic, a non-profit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research.

Ellie Kime, the digital creator behind The Enthusiast, a shop, magazine and podcast that celebrates people and passions, said: “It’s very alienating and isolating. Although my OCD is relatively mild, it still alters the very fabric of my reality on a day-to-day basis. It angers and upsets me: if you can’t trust your own brain, what can you trust?”

There are several types of OCD. The most common ones are linked to organisation, contamination, intrusive thoughts, ruminations, and checking. That doesn’t mean they’re not interchangeable.

T-Shirt by Ellie Kime. Photo courtesy of the

“Sometimes you tell yourself: ‘You know? Prison can’t be worse than this,” said Alex Sergent, a life entrepreneur in his forties. “You feel like you’re paralysed. It becomes quite scary, and you get stressed because you’re doing it. The average day I’d lose one hour.”

Alex’s compulsions are unusual OCD traits. He jots down notes and sets reminders for himself to mitigate the anxiety and chain of compulsive thoughts caused by the mental illness

“It’s this overwhelming sensation that you cannot escape,” he added.

It’s a common gag to see people online joking about “being OCD” because they’re clean and tidy or merely because they marinate in the beauty of symmetry.

Photo by Angela Roma on

“Being tidy and overly organised is not a mental health disorder,” explained Dipti Tait. “The way to know when someone has an OCD problem is when they have lost control over the basic functionality of their lives and, subsequently, their relationships and livelihoods may be suffering because of this.”

Most people find help through private therapists instead of relying on the services of the NHS, which some consider regimented and prescriptive. But not everyone can afford therapy to get tips to lead normal lives with this anxiety-riddled disease.

Next time you marvel in harmony, consider how it would feel to obsess over it.

Crafting arts — crafting emotions

By Sara Valle-Martínez

Art is a means of communication to express feelings, thoughts, and even beliefs without words. In fact, it can help to understand others better. Sometimes that is especially helpful with children.

You may think children are simple and you know what they need and want. But are you really sure? After all, every person is different, and children are just grown-ups in the making.

The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art has its own educational program, which, in collaboration with schools, helps these – perhaps – artists in the making communicate better.

Jenny Pengilly in one of the educational programs by The Estorick. Photo courtesy of

Jenny Pengilly, the gallery’s educational coordinator, said: “We encourage open interpretation to get [children] to think about what they see and that it is valid instead of telling them what it is. It’s more about the imaginative interpretation.”

Ms Pengilly knows about the benefits of art, as she studied it herself. She has been part of the Estorick gallery’s team for seven years and working with children is one of her favourite things. 

The gallery is located in 39A Canonbury, in a restored Georgian town house, near Highbury and Islington station in North London. It holds the private collection of Eric and Salome Estorick,which includes artwork by different Italian artists. Umberto Boccioni’s Model Idol is a children’s favourite.

Modern Idol by Umberto Boccioni @ Estorick Collection gallery. Photo by Sara Valle-Martínez.

“Art is something that is encouraged every day in our school,” said Ismael López, 27, who works as a teacher in Oasis Academy Silverton in East London. “It improves children’s self-esteem, creativity and teamwork.”

As López said, art has proven to help children with self-expression and managing their feelings as well as improving their confidence, self-esteem, patience, concentration, and even motor and organisational skills.

The Estorick’s educational program has proved to be an enriching experience for children, with guided tours and workshops involving drawing lessons and games, as well as futurism, portraiture or still life.

Music by Luigi Russolo @ Estorick Collection gallery. Photo by Sara Valle-Martínez.

“I like using the artwork as a way to talk about different issues but also for them to talk about how they see things… It’s about sharing their voice through artwork,” added Ms Pengilly.

The gallery sometimes displays the children’s art – Pengilly said is one of the most common requests and “children love it”. They can see their artwork hanging in the same space as Music by Luigi Russolo, a painting with vivid colours that always catches their attention.

 “I think it’s key to make them feel we care about what they think and their creativity. I enjoy seeing my students doing that,” said Mr López.

When subtitles lead foreign lives

By Sara Valle-Martínez

Cinemas were left empty when the pandemic hit and, as news streaming services emerged, people forgot about the big screens.

As society is coming back to leading normal lives again and cinemas get full of hungry popcorn eaters and avid movie watchers, the question remains: are cinemas better than Netflix? Sometimes that’s down to the offers and, most importantly, to how they can accommodate guests.

Photo by John-Mark Smith on

When you move into the country, the cultural shock does include food, weather, and language amongst many others. Going out with the friends you make in your brand-new life can increase the feeling of living in a different reality if you can’t really talk to them.

Charita Phaengsakol, 25, a corporate receptionist living in London, experienced the language barrier issue. She moved to the UK from Thailand when she was a teenager. Making friends was hard and she recalls feeling isolated and thankful that she could rely on her family.

It is estimated that 1.5 billion people speak English worldwide, but only a third are native speakers. This means that, probably, the person sitting next to you in the cinema speaks more than one language. They may also struggle understanding the characters and plots.

Odeon Luxe @ Holloway Road, London. Photo by Sara Valle-Martínez.

London is a melting pot with inhabitants from all over the world. That’s why some cinemas like Odeon Luxe in Holloway Road, offer screenings with original subtitles. There’s no reason for feeling like captions are only for the brainy ones.

Odeon Luxe Holloway offers all their movie listings with open captions at least once a week. Many are not even aware that their local movie theatre does. Whilst open captions are aimed at hard-of-hearing or deaf audience, they also help those who are learning the language.

Alexandra Ferrera, 27, a credit controller working in London, had a similar experience. Her parents are Filipino, but she was born in Italy and moved to Spain when she was only a child. She remembers feeling like her brain was “scrambled” with all the languages mixed.

Alexandra Ferrera. Photo by Sara Valle-Martínez.

“I [struggled] when I was a child, because it was difficult to understand English,” said Ferrera, while she waited, clutching her popcorn. “Subtitles would be good even now, even if I speak the language though, to learn how they pronounce the words.

According to the House of Commons Library, the number of immigrants living in London is double to those living in other cities in the UK. Some of them have the chance to ready themselves before making the leap of faith. Some others, like Phaengsakol and Ferrera, learn on the go.

“I think it’s great that cinemas offer [subtitles]. It would have been super helpful.”

Almost all the cinemas in the Greater London area offer viewers the chance of watching their favourite movies with subtitles. Many are not even aware that their local movie theatre does. Websites like help people find the closest one.

An Ode to Fangirls

By Sara Valle-Martínez

Being a fan is hard. As Caitlin Moran puts it in her book, How To Be Famous, there’s something incredibly intimate about consuming someone else’s art. And the connection is even stronger when you’re a teenager exposed to any kind of stimuli.

It’s especially hard if you’re a girl.

Inevitably, being a teenager means feeling confused and being constantly bombarded with a raging burst of incontrollable hormones that drain you.

Like for most teenage girls, music was my companion.

“I think music is really important when you’re growing up,” said Katrin Ehrhardt, 34, one of the many people I’ve met through concerts. 

“It can comfort you when you feel like no one else understands you.”

Simple Plan were one of the many bands that walked beside me during my teenage years. They also strolled along many others, and we all met in this little world called the Internet. We shared our experiences and thoughts online, discussing lyrics like we were professional music critics.

Some of us met in Barcelona in 2008 for a show organised by a local radio. We headed to the airport prior to the show. After over an hour of frantically walking up and down the terminal, we welcomed the band and swooned, finally able to talk to them.

“I met a lot people through their music and I made some friends that I still have,” said Chiara Boccia, 30, one of my Simple Plan friends. “It was because of them that I started learning a different language and that’s why I live in England now.”

After Simple Plan came a lot of different bands that opened the gates and held their hands out. Most of them played in the now extinct Vans Warped Tour and made us dream about crossing the pond with our band T-shirts and Converse shoes.

We also had our own festivals in this part of the Atlantic. One of them was the I-Days Festival in Bologna: Simple Plan, Blink-182Sum 41 and All Time Low played in a green valley in 2010. Chiara and her friends were sweating on the first row while the rest of my friends and I chilled at the back, lying on the grass on one of the hottest days in the middle of Italy.

Deva Fernández, 30, was there too. We shared our love for eyeliner, Vans, and music. That same year, we travelled to different countries together, following another band called Boys Like Girls.They went on a hiatus in 2012 and broke all our hearts.

We felt the love Moran was talking about – the same that is supposed to be terribly wrong if you’re a teenage girl. Deva’s seen her favourite band, All Time Low, 41 times all over the world before she moved to Mexico a few years ago chasing her other love: film.

She said: “I listened to their music on repeat. I didn’t care about its members until one day I saw a video and I thought they were funny, so I wanted to know more. My dream was to become friends with them.”

We chanted their songs, we laughed at their jokes, we felt like they would understand our angst and pangs and moments of joy, too.

Posters with their faces hanged on our walls, their voices sounded in our ears while walking down the street, their birthdays were marked on our calendars… They helped us become who we are now.

“Back [when I started listening to Boys Like Girls] I was a really shy girl and never wanted to stand out,” said Katrin, from Germany, who now braves to go to concerts on her own. “I felt such comfort in their songs.”

Katrin and Martin Johnson, singer of Boys Like Girls. Photo courtesy of Katrin Ehrhardt.

But the good often came hand-in-hand with the ugly. That susceptibility can break you as easily as it shapes you.

Laura Rogg was a regular at Boys Like Girls’ concerts in the UK. She saved money and travelled in between cities to see the band. I remember seeing her bright red hair when we were queuing up in the cold London streets.

But she loved another band even more. She went to more than 100 The Summer Set shows over a three-year period, following them across the globe.

Laura and friends. Photo courtesy of Laura Rogg.

Laura said: “I reached a turning point in my life and chasing bands became no longer financially or emotionally viable to me. In many ways it completely took over my life… and after years of being so emotionally invested in [them], I had to take a break.”

At the end of the day, we were just a bunch of girls going to a bunch of concerts to see a bunch of men play. Our parents were probably unhappy, other men pushed us around in concerts and we were even judged because “we were probably there because Billie Joe is cute”, like a random guy told me at a Green Day show.

Could anyone really understand?

But Hayley WilliamsParamore’s singer, was a girl too – a teenage girl.

“The thing that made Paramore stand out is that their lead vocalist was a girl and that was not that common back then. I think that created this fondness inside me,” said Jessica Ferrerons, 32, who ran a Paramore fansite for years.

“Boys love clever things cleverly, girls love foolish things foolishly,” says Moran in her novel.

“How awful it would be to love bands like teenage girls do? How awful it would be to be the wrong kind of fan? A girl. How awful it would be to be a dumb, hysterical, screaming teenage girl? How amazing it is to be a dumb, hysterical, screaming teenage girl?”

I’ll always be proud I was a fangirl.

Link to published story:

Top 17 bands from the 2010s that changed our lives

By Sara Valle-Martínez

Green Day

Greeen Day’s Dookie marked a shift in many teenagers’ lives years after it was released. But it was the band’s American Idiot that made them accessible to teens with smeared eyeliner and Converse shoes.

It doesn’t matter if you were alive or not when Basket Case was released, it has proven to be a timeless anthem for those who followed Billie Joe Armstrong’s band.

Like Armstrong, some teenagers moved from the baggy trousers, striped or band T-shirts and worn out sneakers aesthetic to skinny jeans, creeper shoes and ties. But some others still kept their love for Vans, Dickies and brands like Volcom and Atticus.


The pop-punk California trio was still pretty much a thing until the very last day they spent together as a band before their big break-up in 2005. Their appearance in 2000s hit movies like American Pie brought them mainstream fame.

Some of the people listening to them didn’t have a clue what feeling like «nobody likes you when you’re 23» was like, but they for sure brought them closer together with a generation that did. Silly and carefree lyrics unite!

Sum 41

Very much like blink-182, Sum 41 are first-generation pop-punk-rockers – big tongue twister, I know! The Canadian band was proof that this whatever-it-was genre was here to stay – or at least to make a difference in the music scene that’s still incredibly influential nowadays.

Try going to a music festival without listening to one of their songs, especially if you go to Slam Dunk festival in the UK. It doesn’t matter if they’re actually playing or not.

Simple Plan

When Simple Plan released their first album, No Pads, No Helmets… Just Balls, it was obvious they already had a reserved spot in the scene. Mark Hoppus, singer of blink-182, was featured in their second single I’d Do Anything.

It helped that the song I’m Just a Kid was part of the soundtrack of the movie The New Guy.

For a lot of people, Simple Plan created a bridge between the old school pop-punk/pop-rock scene to the newest one. They were pals with other bands like Good Charlotte, but they also were quite close to up-and-coming musicians.

Good Charlotte

The Madden twins had people’s hearts by being complete opposites. Take Joel, the reject-made-cool-kid with baggy clothes and Benji, the goth kid — with a cheetah print dye job — that ended up marrying Cameron Diaz.

Tattooed angry guys who wanted to rebel against conventional society. Aspiration much?

Boys Like Girls

A shocker, but they co-headlined The Soundtrack of Your Summer tour with Good Charlotte and some of those angry kids decided they also liked sappy songs. All in all, the feeling of wanted to stay young and carefree dominated the scene.

The band has been on an indefinite hiatus for almost ten years, but we still want to «throw it away and forget yesterday» so we can go back to not having to pay bills.

All Time Low

If you were a fan of Boys Like Girls you probably knew about the band from Maryland. Both of them pretty much gained their fame from MySpace and playing at the Warped Tour.

For some, All Time Low was like a regression to the early 2000s when Sugar Ray, blink-182 and Sum 41 were all that played on the radio. That may be the reason why front man Alex Gaskarth teamed up with blink-182’s singer for a new band, Simple Creatures, a few years ago.

Jimmy Eat World

You can’t really talk about 2000s and 2010s music without mentioning Jimmy Eat World. Their song The Middle has become an anthem even for those who never listened to them.

Now, if you’ve never listened to this song you’ve definitely never been to a pop-rock music festival. It’s ironic that so many people jam to lyrics that were written about a lonely teenager that mailed front man Jim Adkins even before most of them were born.

My Chemical Romance

Okay, now you definitely cannot talk about 2010s music without joining the black parade. Who would’ve thought that these four chaps that decided to talk about death in some of their first singles would make it?

But skinny jeans and eyeliner connected with a side-swept fringe and emo was born. It’d be a sin to discuss emo culture without mentioning Gerard Way. Teenage angst all over again — but with a dark twist.

The Used

They came before My Chemical Romance, toured with them and became friends. Then the bromance between Way and The Used’s front man Bert McCracken broke and our hearts did too, all in the same beat.

If My Chemical Romance were angry, The Used were furious. Or at least so they seemed when screaming their lyrics.


Female representation, p-l-e-a-s-e. All 2010s females need to thank Hayley Williams for making them feel like there was a place for them, too. And Arctic Fox should send her a PR bill for making us all want to have red hair.

If you don’t remember opening MySpace and listening to this song, you were most probably not born yet.

New Found Glory

My Friends Over You — need I say more? The feeling of unity, the prevalence of friendship against all odds and finding your path all summed up in a playlist. 2010s teenagers set their record straight.

The All-American Rejects

If a band has the world «reject» in their name, then they’re probably trying to serenade teenagers all over the world and also comfort them. You are not alone.

Dare be quirky, all of us have dirty little secrets.

Bowling for Soup

They’re still present and trying to make concert-goers laugh. If you go to any music festival in the UK, just wait for them to be on the line-up. If they’re not, they’ll be. High school never ended for them.

Now, why did the When We Were Young festival not count them in when they’ve made us all want to be or have the girl all the bad guys want?

Cute Is What We Aim For

Shaant, the singer, had the fringe all the emo kids wanted. It doesn’t matter if they disappeared, they still hold a very dear place in our hearts.

Something Corporate / Jack’s Mannequin

Andrew McMahon, the front man of Something Corporate, knows what it is to jump from generation to generation with his piano. When he started the band Jack’s Mannequin after winning his battle with cancer, he decided he was here to stay.

Listening to this song is like watching the TV series One Tree Hill all over again.

The 1975

They may feel like intruders here, but they started back in 2013 and have swiftly moved between different genres to remain relevant. They’re bigger now than they were when they were shadowed by all these bands.

If you don’t know any of the previous bands, you most probably know this one.

Tumblr girl aesthetic – emo reborn?

By Sara Valle-Martínez (top image courtesy of Deva Fernández)

Back in the beginning of 2010, people moved from MySpace to Tumblr, a social media platform in the form of a blog that allowed users to post and reblog photos and texts of all kinds. With the death of MySpace, emo kids were left with nowhere to showcase their music preferences and their dark and gloomy style.

Even though Tumblr opened in 2007, it didn’t gain popularity until 2011. This entailed the creation of the 2014 Tumblr girl – that is, the emo girl reborn. And it’s happening again. 

The classic emo fringe may not be back, but the platform combat boots, band T-Shirts, skinny jeans, pleaded skirts, Converse and coloured hair are.

“I absolutely love it. I was a big fan, especially when I was younger. I grew up with it,” said Maria Majtyka, 21, a full-time student. “I think the [staples] vary, but it’s like a grunge vibe: denim jackets, fishnets, even bandanas at some point.”

The term “emo” comes from the word “emotional”. The urban tribe symbolised a shift in the way teenagers saw themselves, with a more self-aware and meaningful connection to music. Emo teens were all for validating their feelings and expressing their emotions.

“For me music was a big influence,” agreed Deva Fernandez, 30, a transportation coordinator who has a vast repertoire of rock and alternative concert experiences under her belt. “I still wear Vans and skinny jeans. For me, it’s still about the music because it’s what I like and the people I look up to.”

Music festivals like Vans Warped Tour in the USA or Reading and Leeds festivals in the UK were the perfect locations to spot Emos in the wilderness. Now, Ticketmaster is organising the When We Were Young Festival in Las Vegas. It’s a good reminder for people that “emo is not dead”.

Deva Fernández and her friends with All Time Low’s member Rian Dawson. Photo courtesy of Deva Fernández.

Planned performances include those from ParamoreMy Chemical RomanceThe UsedJimmy Eat World and Avril Lavigne amongst others. And thus, those who were teenagers back then, are dusting off their hair straighteners and ironing their skinny jeans. Hold the side-swept fringe.

Whilst some youngsters may sneer at these performers in confusion, some others consider these “oldies” relevant again. But is it really still about the music?

“I don’t think it’s about the music anymore. Most of the people who wear band T-shirts like Guns n’ Roses, Metallica and things like this, have never listened to their music,” added Fernandez. “It’s just fashion now.”

The celebrities that are bringing the style to the spotlight now are Megan Fox and even one of the Kardashians. Their connection to rock and alternative music because of their beaus, has pushed them to revamp their wardrobes. And so, the style is back in!

But the origin of the aesthetic does not date back to the 2010s. In fact, some argue that the 80s were a massive influence. Some emo girls and boys even backcombed their hair – hairspray was always at the top of the shopping list.

“It’s definitely regurgitated. I’m not into it, so I don’t really think it’s original. Why would you choose such a boring style? There’s so many other things much more interesting,” said Yong, store manager at Blue 77 vintage clothing.

“Usually trends repeat themselves. There’s a thing that’s like a twenty-year cycle but, as we are using social media more, everything is just much faster. So, all of that kind of gets thrown out of the window and we’re repeating things that happened less ten years ago,” said Ludo Monse, 19, a full-time student.

Ludo Monse’s style is based on Tumblr girl fashion. Photo by Sara Valle-Martínez.

Machine Gun KellyYungbludWillow Smith and Beabadoobee are some of the musical artists who also dress the part. Other performers like Charli XCX and Olivia Rodrigo have incorporated a more upbeat attitude to the aesthetic. So, with the reawakening of Tumblr girl fashion, is emo also coming back?

“That’s definitely going to come back,” said Monse. “You can’t have Tumblr without some melancholic thoughts.”

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