“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” - Bill Vaughn
The festive season is over, and while a shiny new year may have dawned, you may well be suffering from a fresh dose of those good old January blues.
Now, while that may be the case, as we all know, the dreaded January slump doesn't last that long (around four weeks to be vaguely precise). But, if you're already tired of feeling blue, perhaps these five mod tunes will help put a spring in your step or little lead in your pencil.
Mod was a rebellious subculture renowned for its striking fashion, scooters, young ideals, dancing, partying, fighting and wide-eyed optimism - and in many ways, the music reflected that, contributing to a soundtrack that defined an era.
With that in mind, here is our pick of five mod songs that, for one reason or another, will help you shed those January blues and get into gear for this year.
Tin Solder - The Small Faces
1960's Carnaby Street icons, The Small Faces, took the American R&B influences of their contemporaries and added an almost garage rock edge to their sound, softer than the 'barking dog' style of The Kinks but harder than the melodic rumblings of Manfred Mann.
Offering up a dreamy organ-driven introduction lathered in Steve Marriott sensuality, the song gets louder and hits harder the more it rolls on, and if you're looking for a kick up the backside with a forgiving edge this January, this is the tune for you.
Fun fact: The Small Faces got their name as all four members were small in stature and they were London-based mod 'faces' (the top of the tree; the ones to be seen with).
The Spencer Davis Group - Keep On Running
Fronted by the unmistakably soulful Steve Winwood and led by masterful string man Spencer Davis (hence the name), this Birmingham-based (well, originally) band produced some of the finest English mod - American soul crossover tracks of the 1960s. And although the group was fairly short-lived in the grand scheme of things, boy did they pack a big punch.
'Keep on Running', driven by a pounding soul rhythm and fortified by a bass and drum arrangement that is as tight as a duck's backside, oozes style, class, and boasts an unmistakable urgency that will have you singing along, trotting around your lounge by the first chorus. Get it in your ears right now!
Fun fact: The band got their first breakthrough with their cover of 'Dimples' by John Lee Hooker. After releasing a few singles, 'Keep on Running became' the group's first number one hit in 1965.
The High Numbers - I’m the Face
A 1964 English mod staple, these four London lads known as The High Numbers sported a quintessentially blue-eyed mod sound lathered in catchy hooks, foot tapping time signatures and scintillating harmonica licks.
Although the band was incredibly short-lived (all will be explained soon), these four supreme musicians released an incredible selection of songs and 'I'm the Face' - a true mod anthem - is perhaps the finest. Listening to this will make you feel cool, especially if you're swaggering down a high street or driving your car. What January blues?
Fun fact: And the big reveal...The High Numbers were actually The Who. The band changed their name to The High Numbers in 1964 before deciding to revert back to The Who.
The Yardbirds - For Your Love
The Yardbirds were somewhat of a supergroup, with Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck all playing in the band at one point or another, crossing over to the harder end of the blues-rock spectrum while maintaining mod kudos throughout their years of operation.
This manic mod classic, although not particularly upbeat by nature, will sweep you off your feet and send you into a righteous trance with its head-turning guitar progression and quirky arrangement. Chances are you'll end up playing it on loop - but that's certainly not a bad thing - no sir.
Fun fact: In 1963, The Yardbirds became the house band at the famous Crawdaddy Club in London, replacing none other than The Rolling Stones.
The Kinks - Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy
Muswell Hill's greatest ever musical export, The Kinks were one of the most sonically original bands of their generation, testing the waters of a variety of different genres and giving their signature 'barking dog' sound a peppering of alt-genius.
Before their late-60s migration into the world of psychedelic folk-rock, The Kinks were totally mod, promoting the R&B-inspired garage rock of the British modernist movement - and this particular song (as the title suggests) will make you happy, oh so happy.
Fun fact: In 1969, The Kinks wrote one of the first ever rock operas: Arthur, or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire. It came out the same year as the Who's more successful Tommy; as a result, it's been forgotten by many.
We hope these essential mod songs have got you all revved and ready for this New Year, and for more inspiration check out how you can rock a supreme retro look for the rest of this winter.
Which mod tune is your favourite? Let us know in the comments section!