Every country has a Glasgow.
Glasgow tends to exist in the shadow of Edinburgh. Just an hour’s drive to the east, Edinburgh is the wealthier city, the more popular tourist destination, the seat of Scottish government. Edinburgh’s natural setting is more beautiful, its buildings better maintained, its arts scene more well-known.
Even though Glasgow is slightly larger, and though it’s got plenty to be proud of, you get the sense that ever since the decline of its industry, it has become the “other child”; the one who didn’t finish school, didn’t get a great job, married someone the parents didn’t approve of.
But that’s why I love “Plastic” by Midnight Lion. It’s an anthem for the underdog, sung with pride by Glasgow native Stewart Brock.
What makes this a beautiful song:
1. You can hear his Scottish accent. Too often, non-American singers try to manufacture an American accent, and I’ve never understood why. I love the Celtic twist on the vowels in words like, “up”, “back”, and of course, “Glaswegian”.
2. You can sense his love for his city. He doesn’t deny Glasgow’s grittiness or post-industrial scars, but celebrates them in wonderful lines like, “I might just paint my soul the city/Full of colour, make it dark, and make it gritty/Sketch it out lest I forget/The rain town.”
3. You can feel the song about to explode. For the first three minutes, you’re just waiting for it to open up, and then it finally does. The rush of sound brings out the line, “Stood barefoot in my own little portion of the river”.
Recommended listening activity:
Accepting your shortcomings instead of blaming yourself for them.