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.
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.
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.
Say Hello To The Angels
Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down
Really underrated drum work
Paul's voice in just about everything
No song is terrible
Not a damn thing