“‘74–’75” — The Connells

No Words, No Song
6 min readJun 27, 2019

The hardest feelings to create in a song are poignancy and wistfulness. It’s so easy to over-do, straying into self-obsession…or under-do, becoming tedious.

Tiny distinctions separate the sweet spot on poignancy-wistfulness spectrum from the self-obsessed and the tedious on either side. That’s what makes it so hard to create those feelings in your listeners’ minds when you write a song.

One band that got that tricky balance spot on are The Connells who had their one and only hit in 1995 with the poignant, wistful “‘74-’75”.

Bizarrely, a few seconds of “‘74-’75” is being used as the backing music for a TV commercial in the UK at the moment…a commercial for a DIY and home improvement store, of all things.

The bright pastel colours on the visuals and the sharp cuts of the commercial’s director somehow work well with the wistfulness of the backing track, but I’m not exactly sure how…

Away from the world of TV commercials, though, the concept behind both the song and the video for “‘74-’75” is brilliant. The video in particular is a work of awe-inspiring beauty, which we’ll get to in a moment…

“‘74-’75” was written in the mid-1990s, reflecting back on the lives of a group of students who had left high school 20 years earlier, as part of the 1974–1975 graduating class. This is a real high school with real former students, not actors, as you’ll see in the video.

A lot can happen in 20 years. People think back to what might have been…to the carefree innocence of their youth, when the world seemed welcoming and the possibilities seemed endless.

As anyone who has looked back 20 years knows, it’s not quite that simple.

A decision taken here…or not taken. An opportunity seized…or passed. A conversation started…or shyly avoided…

In a moment, our path through life can change forever and, 20 years later, we’re still living with the consequences.

Even if we think we’ve decided to stay as we are, the truth is that’s changed us too…but this time subconsciously…

In our minds, we’ve told ourselves we’re not brave enough to say “yes”…we’d never be good enough for the opportunity…we wouldn’t be interesting enough to start a conversation with someone we were desperate to get to know better.

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No Words, No Song

Without words, it’s just a nice tune. Add words — now you’ve got a song. And songs can change your world. I write about some that changed mine.