Has a music album ever inspired a life-changing decision? For Jenessa Williams, a music journalist and PhD researcher who writes about pop culture, feminism and race for the likes of NME, The Guardian, and Gal-dem, the answer is a wholehearted yes. The album? Arctic Monkeys’ Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not.
A devoted fan of McFly growing up, Jenessa first came across Arctic Monkeys at the tender age of 12 when they beat McFly to number one on the charts with their debut album. Her initial disappointment gave way to instant infatuation with the band and their thought provoking lyrics, becoming the gateway from boyband fandom to a fascination with indie music and the art of lyricism at large. From the powerful drums and the double guitar trade-off in “The View From The Afternoon”, to the lyrics from “A Certain Romance” that echoed with her experience growing up as a Noughties kid, Jenessa’s passion for Arctic Monkeys’ first album was genuinely life-changing.
Channelling the feeling of listening to Arctic Monkeys into an essay for her A-Levels proved to be the formative moment that shaped Jenessa’s subsequent music writing career, as well as her later move north to be closer to the scene where it all began.
Watch the video to hear how one album catalysed her journalism career, opened her perspectives on social issues, and the importance of digging into the lyrics.
What moment of sound changed your life? In our Sounds That Made Me series, we drop in on journalists, researchers, and sound connoisseurs to ask them this very question. What we hear sheds light on the depth of music’s personal and cultural impact…