Interpol
Turn on the Bright Lights


5.0
classic

Review

by Adam Downer STAFF
October 27th, 2005 | 101 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist


Over time, I've listened to some albums that have really made an incredible difference in my life. This was the first. Turn on the Bright Lights, Interpol's debut album is among my all time favorite albums, and with good reason. It's style, sleek feel, and excellent execution creates an album full of emotion, despite emotionless vocals. The debut from Interpol is 50 minutes of consistently solid, sometimes fantastic, sometimes breathtaking genius work.

Turn On The Bright Lights begins with the nearly all-instrumental Untitled and takes off from there. Untitled is a great song that plays with your emotions and soul like most Interpol songs do. Paul comes in about a minute and a half in and mumbles the dark "Surprise/ Sometime will come around" line and the tone is set. Untitled is followed by the awesome Obstacle 1. Obstacle 1 is a harder rocking song than Untitled and Paul's mad cries that reach into the upper reaches of his range. The chorus of "You Go Stabbing" boom boom "Yourself In" Boom Boom "The Neck". Another thing going for Obstacle 1 is Paul using his falsetto in almost a-dare I say-Coldplayish manner? It's truly a remarkable song, incorporating everything Interpol has going for them. All chaos ensues at the bridge where the drumming rolls all over the place and Paul's spiraling spits truly capture the essence of the swirl that is madness. This song leads into the absolutely beautiful in a strange deranged way NYC. It's an ode to -you guessed it- New York City. But it's not the home loving shit you would find on a Tim Mcgraw record. This is a dark, satirical ballad filled with New York questioning lyrics and sees the city for what it really is. A dirty slimeball that is 2 streets of glamour and the rest filled with homeless people and grime. (Subway, She Is A Porno/And The Pavements They are a mess) I know. I live an hour away. It's bridge with the hopeless "Oh It's up to me now/Turn On The Bright Lights mixed with the "New York Cares (Got to be some more change in my life)" is a truly beautiful gut wrenching line. NYC is a magnificent song. Excellent work.

NYC is followed by the big single, and in my opinion the worst song on the album, PDA. It starts with a kicking drum beat that gets your feet tapping and your head bobbing. The mumbled verses fail to deliver however, and this becomes a fairly mediocre song. The catchy chorus of "Sleep Tight/Grim Right/We have 200 couches where you can sleep tonight" makes up for that, as does the 3 minute jam session at the end with some truly sad bass in the background. The sighs come in to conclude the song. I wouldn't call it the best choice for the single. I would give that to Say Hello To The Angels. Say Hello To The Angels is another kick ass track filled with madness that so many bands have tried to grab but have missed and become just suicide obsessed crap. It's 1-2 beat and mellowed chorus makes one pause to really analyze this song. The words almost are in fact christian rock, as one could probably guess by the title. Or it's about suicide. Never quite distinguished the two. Anyway, it has an amazing bass solo that pounds in your ears and gets you filled with emotion and other forms of twists and turns in your head. It's a truly great song, the song that really got me into Interpol.

The album gets into it's lowest point (If it can even be called one) here, with the two solid songs Hands Away, which I think, but I'm not sure is about a guy, and Obstacle 2. Hands Away starts with some mumbles, but Paul's trademark hopeless cries show up over some cool 16th note drumming. It's sort of like Untitled in that is mostly instrumental. However it's shorter and far less fun. Not going to be your favorite but a cool intermission. Obstacle 2 is pretty good, incorporating Paul's falsetto for the first time since -gasp!- Obstacle 1. It begins with a vocal riff that sounds like Antics. It's sliding guitar gives the song a nice edge. However, the love ballad Stella was a Diver and She Was Always Down brings in the maddening confusion of suicide that I mentioned before. This song shows Interpol's obsession with the sea that would be found in almost all of Antics. It's a very deep song with some marvelous basswork. Paul's depressing day-ay-heys in the beginning are very emotional, along with the chorus describing Stella's death at sea. I love the breakdown where the band just jams for the final two minutes. Here Paul mumbles "Well She Was Mine, Catatonic Sex Toy, Lovesick Diver". Another excellent track.

Roland is a cool track. It's a "rocker" with some jumpy guitar and drumming. The building intro is cool, but the verses are weird with lines like "My best friend's from Poland and umm, He Has a Beard, Hey Look It Stopped Snowing!" These ADD filled immaturities really detract from the song that is instrumentally top-notch. I'm forgoing The New for a moment to talk about Leif Erikson (Don't worry; I'll get there.) The album finisher, Leif Erikson has more mumble verses, but the sound of Paul's voice enthralls you. It's all about emotion's invoked by the listener with Interpol. Erikson's an effectively simple song that has a standard rock beat and some journeying guitar. The bridge of "It's like learning a new language/As we catch up on my mind" is another dark swirling emotion diddy. Interpol doesn't ask for it, but they get my sympathy every time they sound like their on the edge of breaking down.

All of this leaves us with The New. The New is a strange song, probably the most melodic one there. It begins with a dark guitar riff and moves on to some depressing but beautiful lyrics. It's my favorite song on the album. The verses search for and find some beauty in Paul's lower range. It's "I can't pretend, I need to defend, It's a part of me" line is one of my favorite lines vocally of all time. This song has that solo I mentioned in the intro of my review. It's completely strange in a twisted Tim Burton kind of way, with it's completely out of tune guitar riding over nothing but bass and drums. The bass work behind this deranged monster is wonderful. So after some of this insanity, Carlos comes in with the absolutely maddening "You're looking alright tonight, I think we should go". This is the absolute best song on the album once you acquire your taste for Interpol. Everything you love about them is in here. A jam session at the end of the song, absolutely on the edge lyrics and crazy emotion. It's a true classic.

OVERALL

You need a taste for Interpol. But once you get it, it's impossible to deny their charms. This an absolute must have for a fan of music. It's all about trying something new. I tried it and was positively enthralled with their deranged mix of Indie and Alt Rock with some things I can't even classify. You need to buy the record with an open mind, and when you listen to it once, you can't put it down.

Recommended Tracks:

Obstacle 1
NYC
Say Hello To The Angels
Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down
The New

Pros:

Really underrated drum work
Paul's voice in just about everything
Great basswork
No song is terrible

Cons:

Not a damn thing



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user ratings (1645)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Jawaharal
October 27th 2005


1832 Comments


They're not weird at all.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2005


15740 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Well in comparison to my music tastes, they are quite strange.

Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

innerdark
October 27th 2005


749 Comments


i've been considering getting this but i havn't heard anything to make me sit up and notice

but if it's like antics i'll be getting it


by the way musicoffical, how much of a green day fan are you??
just out of curiousity
This Message Edited On 10.27.05

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2005


15740 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Like the biggest in the history of the world. lol. I have every one of their albums. But I'm actually not what one might call a fanboy.

innerdark
October 27th 2005


749 Comments


hmm....well i have a little trivia question for fanboys (and you) in my IS review...have fun


Scott Herren
October 27th 2005


192 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

haven't listened to this in a long while, but it is a good album probably a 4.5/5 for me.

Cross Out The Eyes
October 27th 2005


42 Comments


Tis true "Obstacle 1" is pure genius
good review This Message Edited On 10.27.05

Zebra
Moderator
October 27th 2005


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album is awesome, but not a 5/5. "NYC" is my favorite track off here.

Nice review, very detailed.

BigRoachy
October 27th 2005


50 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I personally love this album.
"Untitled" is the one that did it for me on it. But I'd give it a 4/5.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2005


15740 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I knew this would get a little bit bashed for it's rating, but this truly blew my mind. I'm not changing this one.

Med57
Moderator
October 27th 2005


1001 Comments


Very good review. I don't really like Interpol, so disagree with a lot of what you said, but it's still very well written. Interpol just bore me after any more than a few songs, and even that tends not to be too great.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2005


15740 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Your opinion Med. A lot of people find that with Coldplay, but I love Coldplay. It's all about your tastes.

Med57
Moderator
October 27th 2005


1001 Comments


Yeah. On a side note, this is clearly better than Antics in my opinion. I don't particularly like this, but Antics really annoyed me as an album actually. It's a shame, as I think they've got potential to do something very good within the genre, but they'll have to do something pretty special for their next release if I'm going to carry on thinking that.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2005


15740 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Yeah Antics was a disappointment and more pop-friendly. It doesn't sound anything like this. I'd give it a 3

sgrevs
October 28th 2005


698 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

shit what an awesome album i love it tons. very wicked indeed, i must say i tihnk i prefer antics though, dont know why exactly, just listen to it more.

LongDistanceRabbit
October 28th 2005


11 Comments


sounds really good. i thought they were one of those "angular" "post-punk" bands a la Franz and all their franz-a-likes, but they acyually sound good. i might go buy this. if you like weird things now, you should maybe try Explosions in the Sky or Sigur Ros (well over 6 minutes of instrumental per song).
whoever cheeto-t is, they're very right. nothing's weird after Kid A.

team_racket
October 28th 2005


13 Comments


woot woot explosions in the sky ^

this is the best interpol album.good review but more of a 4 than a 5 .

Zebra
Moderator
October 28th 2005


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Explosions In The Sky is not weird, it's ambient.

Scott Herren
October 28th 2005


192 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

antics sounds very much like this, and usually that is the beef people have with it.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2005


15740 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Antics is more pop-driven. Evil is a marvelous song, but it's geared specifically for MTV I think.

This Message Edited On 12.22.07



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