I Meant To Listen To: Interpol, “Turn On The Bright Lights”

This album is basically the whole point of writing this blog and how clueless I can be.

I have heard about Interpol for years and I was aware that many people I know and many other people that I don’t know have told me that I need to listen to them. With some things of this nature, if I am told that I must listen to something I put it off and never listen to them.

Like, at all. I have never listened to a single song of theirs. I had just assumed that they were this avant-garde artsy British band and I just wouldn’t “get it”. I don’t know why, I just had that going on in my mind and was not going to inspect it any further.

Sometime in 2017, the critically acclaimed book “Meet Me In The Bathroom“, by Lizzy Goodman was released and that is where I discovered that Interpol are not only from New York City, but contemporaries of the Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. After this jaw-dropping revelation, I finally purchased Turn On The Bright Lights off of iTunes. While listening to the album when I was cooking dinner, my girlfriend kindly commented, “this is Interpol, right?” Not only did she know of them, but she actually used to listen to them. What rock was I living under?

This was truly the moment when I needed to realize that listening to more music means more than just “knowing about” bands. It became clear that I should document this journey.

I know I’m the last person to report this, but this album is absolutely incredible.

I am truly beating myself up over not bothering to listen to these guys sooner. From the album’s opener, “Untitled“, and how it steadily grows into this mesmerizing work of art, I was hooked instantly. In fact, after that song ended I played it again because I wanted to recreate that first feeling from four minutes ago.

In fact, there is so much influence of everything that I love listening to that there is no doubt Interpol would have been on of my favorite bands ever. I mean, I know they are still around and putting out albums, but at this point I am so late to the party I don’t deserve the right to call myself a fan. I was that out of touch with this.

Turn Out The Bright Lights has elements of U2, Joy Division, the Smiths, and even has flavors of Talking Heads on nearly every song. Interpol seem to experiment with expanding genres to its limits. Taking something dark and shoegaze-y and making it sound like it should fill a basketball arena filled with 20,000 people bouncing around is no easy feat and it’s done effortlessly here.

After listening to Turn Out The Bright Lights, I can see how pivotal this release was. You can hear its influence with groups such as the Killers and She Wants Revenge, two bands I had listened to endlessly when they first arrived. Additionally, if you’ve read “Meet Me In The Bathroom”, you’ll know how important the band and this album was in shaping the music scene in New York City post-9/11 along with other amazing bands.

I don’t know why there was a mental hurdle when it came to Interpol and why it took me over fifteen years to finally listen to Turn Off The Bright Lights, but I am incredibly happy to have listened to it.

Surprise. Sometimes will come around.

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