Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights (2002)
Interpol’s 2002 debut Turn on the Bright Lights stands out the most to me from all the albums that came out that year. Maybe that’s because it showed so much potential for a band that could never quite live up to this monolithic release. Maybe it’s because I’ve already written enough on A Rush of Blood to the Head (it’s good) and Sea Change (it’s the best). Conversely, maybe it’s because I don’t want to write about Yoshimi or Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Or maybe it’s because I end up listening to Turn on the Bright Lights all the time. It seems to be installed in my head, like The Manchurian Candidate, I can go off at any moment and find myself compelled to turn on those lights myself.
I find it amusing that a band called Interpol is such a product of one specific place: New York City. These guys know exactly where they are from and it has influenced them in a profound way. Turn on the Bright Lights feels like it’s dedicated to the streets and buildings that turned them into the people they were then and are now. There is a certain emotionality to the album; despite its cool exterior, their is warmth here.
I guess the Joy Division comparisons are unavoidable if you are familiar if that band, but I’m not, so let’s move along. Bright Lights is an album that pulls you in with some pretty amazing songs placed right at the beginning. “Untitled,” “Obstacle 1” and “NYC” all show you exactly what Interpol is about and the best of what they can do. I used to feel like the album got less interesting as it went on, but if you stop and listen to any track on its own, you’ll find that there’s something to respect there. There’s a reason it ended up on so many top ten lists eight years ago.
Anyway, I’m pretty sure everybody’s spent some time with this album before. I volunteered to post a CAT today but couldn’t put in the time to come up with something really creative. And as we careen forward towards the modern day, I know I, just like all of you, will be excited to see where, exactly, these yearly CAT posts stop. Until the next time, remember to be safe with in-ear headphones. Bleeding ears are never cool.
Favorite Tracks: “Untitled,” “Obstacle 1,” “PDA”
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