Is Wet Leg Perhaps the Best Thing to Come Out of 2022?

We live in a time where the music charts are filled to the brim with dull pop songs, lousy rappers that deliver their bars in the overused triplet flow style, and the same five EPA-dunk “bangers” that replace each other’s chart positions endlessly. Needless to say, there is not much that tops the charts nowadays…

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We live in a time where the music charts are filled to the brim with dull pop songs, lousy rappers that deliver their bars in the overused triplet flow style, and the same five EPA-dunk “bangers” that replace each other’s chart positions endlessly. Needless to say, there is not much that tops the charts nowadays that catches my attention. But amidst this homogenous abyss of dull chart listings, that, more often than not, fall into oblivion, there was a beacon of hope. This beacon of hope came in the form of the Isle of Wight-based band Wet Leg. With their cocky attitude, heavy guitar riffs and overall loud sound, I was spellbound. Okay fine, I might be biassed since this is in tune with my taste in music. And all I’ve said above is of course based on my personal opinions. But hear me out, this is the best thing that’s happened to the global music scene in a long time, and if you’ll let me have a few minutes of your time, I’ll explain why:

Wet Leg was founded by Rhian Tesdale and Hester Chambers on the British island Isle of Wight in 2019. Their debut, to say the least, has been nothing short of a success. Their debut single was the loud “Chaise Longue” released in June 2021 and with its nonsensical lyrics, references to Mean Girls and minimalistic drum and bass line, it went viral and became an instant hit on the indie rock scene. This of course amped up the anticipation for the release of their full length album. Luckily, they delivered and the self-titled album that was released in April of 2022, has been praised over and over again. The album topped the charts in the UK and Australia and reached top ten in Belgium, The Netherlands and Ireland, to mention a few. Besides the excellent chart listings and praise from fans, they also won a Grammy for Best Alternative Performance for the song ‘Chaise Longue’ and won two Brit Awards, one for Best New Artist and one for Group of the Year. Considering the fact that several already critically acclaimed bands were nominated in the last category, such as Arctic Monkeys and The 1975, it’s not a small feat.

Now that I’ve explained the background behind Wet Leg and their success, you might still be perplexed as to how I can suggest that this is the best thing to come out of 2022. Of course I might be exaggerating a bit. Music is somewhat trivial in comparison to, for example, science and the revelations that we, as the human species, have made in those areas. Such discoveries might be more groundbreaking, and impacting, than a groovy indie rock band making it big. But that doesn’t mean that this isn’t important! What Wet Leg has done is groundbreaking in the way that they’ve managed to breathe new life into the indie rock scene, and perhaps even the rock scene as a whole. The genre that’s been on its deathbed for the last 10-15 years. In a time when there are very few new bands surfacing in this genre, and where many of the bands that initially made it big via this genre has gone over to sluggish pop, they proved that an album that sounds like it came out during the great garage/indie/alternative rock wave of the 2000’s, can succeed today as well. Now that’s truly not a small feat!

If you are a fan of rock and do happen to keep track of the rock scene in general, you might think it’s outlandish of me to claim that the genre is, or has been, on its deathbed. Especially since here in our narrow, long country of Sweden, branches of the genre such as the heavy metal one, have been blooming for a while now. Perhaps we’re even dominant on the global scale with expressions such as “The Gothenburg Sound” being known in heavy metal circles around the world. And even within the indie/alternative rock branch, bands such as The Strokes, The Killers and Arctic Monkeys are still active, even though many of them have gone more towards the pop-sound. And yes, there are even relatively new bands active on the global rock scene that keep their heavy sound intact, such as Parquet Courts, Bass Drum of Death and Måneskin. I’m aware that claiming the genre to be dead is a bit much, but you’re missing my point. These new bands, with a few exceptions, are still somewhat niche, and this music scene doesn’t often top the charts. At least not in comparison to the mid 90’s and 2000’s where bands such as The Kooks, Oasis, The White Stripes, The Libertines, Blur and so on, frequented the charts on a regular basis. Even the relatively small country of Sweden had huge bands on this scene that occasionally topped the charts, such as The Hives, Mando Diao and Caesars.

Why Wet Leg’s success is a big deal is because they, as an indie/alternative rock band, made it big, and not only within the indie/alternative rock circles, but on the global scene as a whole. When a band like that can succeed on today’s charts, it means that more bands in this genre can as well. This increases the profitability of these bands, which in turn increases the incentive among music labels to sign more of them, which eventually means that the genre, most likely, has a bright future. 

Thus, Wet Leg’s success is great news for us that enjoy the rock genre, and hopefully we will get flooded with great new music that we can dig into, instead of re-listening to Oasis ‘Definitely Maybe’ for the 1000th time and being labelled as nostalgic and reminiscent of the past. Okay, at least something new to listen to in between re-listening to ‘Defintitely Maybe’ for the 1000th time, after all it’s a great album. And for those of you that claim that you don’t enjoy this genre and couldn’t care less about my point regarding Wet Leg’s success, cut me some slack. I see you at the dancefloor screaming along to The Killers “Mr Brightside” or at a football game chanting to the tunes of The White Stripes “Seven Nation Army”. Perhaps, what this at the very least could mean to you, is that you get a new song to chant along to when supporting your favourite football team, and that wouldn’t hurt, would it?

About Nådiga Lundtan

Founded in 1948 and has since been an important part of student life in the economics program at Lund University. Nådiga Lundtan covers a wide range of topics related to economics, society, and politics, as well as careers, entrepreneurship, and innovation. It is a platform for students to share their ideas and opinions on economics and related fields.

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