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London tube tunes for your inner anglophile

Graphic by Noemi Gonzalez.
Graphic by Noemi Gonzalez.


I studied abroad in London last year at the University of Westminster, although it kind of feels like that never happened. I’ll occasionally get these flashbacks of taking the tube to class, walking with wet cobblestones under my boot, or gazing up at wooden beams from the bottom part of my bunk bed (yes — bunk bed). Even while I was there, things felt a little surreal.

You’d categorize most major cities as visual, but some are strikingly more tangible than others with sounds and smells. The best part about England is that it’s this fusion of rich, historical elegance and painfully cool, modern edge. There are 19-year-olds in cheetah-printed platform sneakers and leather pants smoking cigarettes next to the gates of Buckingham Palace. The city itself is a landmark.

Not to mention, England has some great music. British rock has been close to my heart for a long time. I remember my dad introducing me to Arctic Monkeys back in 2006 with their hit, “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor.” To this day, they’re one of my all-time favorite artists. I went to a bar in Manchester that had house cocktails called things like “Pink Floyd” and “Sex Pistols.” The concoctions certainly lived up to their names. One of the biggest reasons I owe England part of my soul is The Vaccines. Posters promoting their most recent album “Come of Age” were plastered to walls of the tube. Songs like “If You Wanna” and “A Lack of Understanding” blasted through the speakers in Topshop as I looked at clothes I could never afford or pull off. Their music is significantly more pop-punk than what you’d throw into the indie rock category. There’s something youthful and nostalgic about it that will forever remind me of those platform-shoed kids I’ll never be as cool as.

Other favorites:

"Soap" by The Kabeedies

"Glimmer" by The Maccabees

"Blue Blood" by Foals

"Take A Fall For Me" by James Blake and RZA

Reach the blogger at or on Twitter @IsabelleNovak.

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