2018 marks ten years since English rockers You Me At Six released their debut studio album, ‘Take Off Your Colours‘. The project began what has (so far) been an illustrious career for the Surrey band, and that looks set to continue as they gear up to release new album ‘VI‘ in November this year. ‘Take Off Your Colours‘ is an album that has aged terrifically, being revered by fans and critics alike over the years, the band have themselves acknowledged the importance of the record and are celebrating it’s momentous anniversary by playing the project in it’s entirety at a few dates also in November. A few of us here at BG are fans who have grown up on You Me at Six and have fond memories associated with this particular project, so we took the time to reminisce about the tracks and what they mean to us!
‘The Truth Is A Terrible Thing’: One of my favourite things about YMAS is that their accents don’t fade when they sing. It adds a little something extra to the songs. And with the lack of polish Josh Franceschi’s voice has in the early album, the slightly tremulous edge adds a layer that belies the riffy guitar and the drums to soften songs. ‘The Truth Is A Terrible Thing’ exemplifies this with the sound being underlined by almost apologetic vocals. Whilst they lyrics aren’t complex the voice singing them is different and exciting enough that you almost don’t care. – JC
‘Gossip‘: Being the second track on the album, you’d forgive ‘Gossip‘ if it wanted to chill out a bit and ease the listener in, but it does nothing of the sort.
‘Gossip‘ is a messy mix of crashing cymbals, chants of “Sh–sh-shake it” and Franchesci’s long drawn-out notes, that he has since perfected in his ballads. It is raw and promising and almost seems like a mashup of two songs, which is part of the reason why it is still so exciting to listen to.
While ‘Gossip‘ has a narrative infidelity and forgiveness that is admittedly quite hard to keep up with, this makes it the perfect time capsule. As isn’t that the perfect example of young love? – AD
‘Call That A Comeback’ was the first track I heard from the album and the one that, for me, encompasses their old sound and really got me into their sound. Having been brought up listening to Il Divo and Westlife the guitar, drums and voice that wasn’t honed to technical perfection blew me. Slightly rockier than the other more pop-punk sounds on the album, there’s an intensity in parts of the vocals and the subtle backing vocals. Lyrically, melodically and in terms of overall composition this song is, in my opinion, flawless. – JC
‘Jealous Minds Think Alike’: The one thing I’ve always admired about You Me At Six is Josh Franceschi’s ability to weave a chorus that’s insatiably catchy albeit poetically beautiful and utterly realistic. The first time I truly got hit with this was Jealous Minds. It’s dark and brooding, a sudden and abrupt departure from the cut-and-run pop-punk of the preceding tracks. AND THEN THAT CHORUS HITS. “You can be the ghost in my hall, you can be the smile I don’t want” – thirteen years of age and I was shook by that single line. As I’ve grown up with the band, at twenty-three years of age, Jealous Minds, like much of TOYC, is as relatable now as it was back then. It’s when Josh hauntingly croons “jealous minds they think alike, you’re a damn, damn tie; you’re wasting all my time, you are in love” that the American-fuelled teenage dream is all a lie and the confidence that You Me At Six kicks into you sinks. That, and it’s a killer tune, simple as. – JP
‘Save It For The Bedroom‘: One day when all the memories we have of our alternative youth are badly lit, blurry high angle pictures, collections of gig tickets and faded band shirts, there will still be a few song intros that trigger that same need to scream and kick with excitement.
The opening G note of ‘The Black Parade‘, the cough at the beginning of ‘Dear Maria‘, and among them stands the iconic guitar strums at the beginning of ‘Save It For The Bedroom‘.
‘SIFTB‘ didn’t just kick-start YMA6’s careers, it gave us all a new anthem. It gave us new lyrics to memorise and sing at ourselves in the mirror, it gave us a new reason to shout the word ‘whore’ and feel like true rebels. It gave us one of the best call and response sections of all time. (Save it for, save it for the bedroom, SAVE IT FOR, SAVE IT FOR THE BEDROOM.)
‘SIFTB‘ managed to wangle at least five different emotions from us, just by repeating the same five words over and over again. ‘SIFTB‘ will go down in history, long after other songs from the same era have lost their magic. – AD
‘Take off Your Colours‘: The title track and charismatic anthem not only encapsulates the dynamic strengths of You Me At Six, but entails the various directions they can take a track. While delivering some of the easier to catch lyrics Josh pronounces from the project, the supporting instrumentation is lively and wraps a warm blanket of accessible expression around the words. In many ways this is quite the quintessential You Me at Six track, it is highly replay-able and packs a lot into three minutes. – AS
‘You’ve Made Your Bed (So Sleep In It)‘: Kinda similarly to what ‘Kiss and Tell‘ would do, this was a song that would always serve to reassure me, that certain people were just not worth the space afforded in my head. The structure of the song and exuding pop-punk fleshed out here particularly is one of the tipping points for me beginning to really shun chart music and delve further into alternative music. I always also found Josh‘s vocals a point of interest, as the pronunciation made a lot of words sound hard to determine, leading the lyric look-up a funny revelation, haha! – AS
‘If You Run‘: Leaning more into the post-rock sound, almost even breaching hardcore borders instrumentally at times, ‘If You Run‘ exemplified how well the band could switch up into a slightly heavier gear. Further proving their versatility and craft at songwriting, as while this song is notably weightier than many moments on the project, it is still obviously identifiable as You Me at Six. This is a song that served to help establish the sound the band are associated with, and wouldn’t sound out of place on their at times bruising 2011 record ‘Sinners Never Sleep‘. – AS
‘Tigers and Sharks’ is an emotive song that, to steal a phrase from today’s youth, ‘puts you in your feelings.’ The song starts slow and soft but builds and with lyrics edged with sadness and a little desperation its hard not to feel for the band. The composition is impressive for a debut album and the sheer amount of vulnerability and honesty carries on through to other songs on the album and other albums. To me, this song is almost timeless. – JC
‘If I Were In Your Shoes‘: The track that started it all! There was no better track to introduce the world to You Me At Six then this classic anthem from their debut album.
Blending in the pop punk and emo pop music that was popular at the time, the songs catchy riffs and Josh’s familiar vocals pull the listener in to the world of You Me At Six that we now have been experiencing in the last decade. – HUH
‘Always Attract‘: I don’t think it would be a lie to say that ‘Always Attract‘ was the big first YMA6 ballad.
Well before ‘Crash‘ there was ‘Always Attract‘.
I think this is one of the stand-out tracks on the album for me. It is hard to forget hearing it for the first time, after the hype of other tracks on the album, it is almost like being hit by a huge wave of feelings. It is six minutes of musical art, and I am yet to feel something as strongly from YMA6 like I have with this song.
While I was definitely too young to have experienced a real heartbreak at the time, the lyrics “That night I slept on your side of the bed, So it was ready when you got home” managed to make me mourn the loss of a love I hadn’t had yet. – AD
‘Nasty Habits’: Looking back, TOYC is an exquisite example of British pop-punk before British pop-punk was really a thing. Before Neck Deep, As It Is, ROAM, and WSTR started making their mark with their Blink-182 worshipping pop-punk, You Me At Six wrote a very British rule book. Nasty Habits is, by far, one of the albums most underrated tracks simply because it’s a jam; nothing more, nothing less. At it’s core, that’s what makes TOYC such a classic album – every single track is a banger, even its ballads. It’s the singular insignificant moments that make these songs such bangers. THAT guitar line as the chorus kicks in during Nasty Habits literally hits you for six (pardon the pun). THAT adolescent deliverance of ironic sarcasm when Josh sings “you’re the best kept secret rolling off my tongue.” THAT vibe. Those pure house party vibes. That, to me, is TOYC. – JP
‘The Rumour‘: A perfect blend of the band focusing on the guitar and allowing that to progress the song and it is showcased in this amazing track.
Intertwining between an acoustic and electric and with Josh’s vocals the song is a perfect standout. Plus that scream that is unleashed at the very end cements it as one of the bands more underrated gems. – HUH
‘Kiss and Tell‘: Takes me back to what in many lights were simpler times; the latter days of secondary school. Simpler in the sense of lesser worries about life and none of the adult stresses that become prime factors as we grow up, however back then you don’t know that, plus the anxieties of sociality and school can seem huge when they’re surrounding you. Especially those worries about early loves and relationships you wish to happen but maybe are just too shy to say anything or worried to do anything about. This song always reminds me of a girl who was in a lot of my classes but I never really spoke to her much despite huge desires to strike up a conversation about literally anything, just to be talking to her, who I got dismayed about after hearing stories of her quickly getting in and out of a multitude of relationships with my friends and classmates I was subsequently jealous of. Listening to this song felt so damn relatable and always made me feel better and rationalise such anxieties and feelings – for that I thank it, and embrace being in a position now where I can enjoy the song purely for it’s sound and reminisce positively, not be asking anymore of the song / ‘going to it for help’. – AS
‘Finders Keepers‘: If you had to list the best music videos of the band, then this has to be on the top 3 at least. The song is a classic and one of the songs that really put the band into the hearts of many.
The music video which shows the band performing along with a narrative of a relationship turning sour the band was able to not only perfectly capture a moment in their music, but was able to for many fans to relate to their lyrics of lost love and how things used to be. – HUH
‘Sweet Feet‘: Easing in with a riff extremely reminiscent of Sum-41 style early 2000s pop-punk, the band detail how a sought after female can have a man wrapped around her finger, “on the tip of your toes“. Fusing the punky guitar that hops up and down with poppy vocals and song structure, it is yet another emotive cut from ‘Take Off Your Colours‘ that doesn’t leave your head easily. – AS
‘All Your Fault’: Whilst potentially one of the least complex songs on the album ‘All Your Fault’ is lyrically strong – its metaphors and messaged are vivid and would make this song one of the best if they weren’t lost in the repetition that makes this song feel a bit of a blur. – JC
‘Blue Eyes Don’t Lie’: “Cowards are golden, and I know the words hurt; bones we can fix, the lessons we’ll learn.” Fuck me, now that’s a lyric that hits you in the head and the heart. Blue Eyes Don’t Lie has the awfully arduous task of topping an entire deluxe edition’s worth of bangers as the definitive finale of TOYC. For an album concerned almost entirely with teenage lust, infidelity, and partying; Blue Eyes is pure pop-punk but with a maturing sensitivity they’d display further far later on Sinners Never Sleep and Cavalier Youth. It’s the same subject matter, it’s just projected differently…well, sort of. It’s grandiose at its best, an aura of golden light rising up in your mind as the band backs Josh’s ‘Cowards are golden’ ambush of the songs lyrical front. It’s a song that as I’ve grown older, I’ve become far more accustomed to believing in; when Josh sings “why say something safe when I can blow you away; it’s a game only liars play, stop swinging above your weight” I really, really felt that. In fact, I felt every second of TOYC and always will. – JP