66.) Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights (2002)
Interpol are annoying. What with their outfits and hair and Carols D and everything. But in 2002 they made a record. It was really, really great.
They were still annoying, but they managed to be annoying second and pretty awesome first. Living in New York I, of course, grew to eye roll when someone would bring Interpol up and I've had bouts of revisionist history where I've convinced myself that even Turn on the Bright Lights was an overrated record. It's not.
Some of my favorite bands are Joy Division and Echo and the Bunnymen and The Cure and The Psychedelic Furs - yes, I love 80's "new wave." I love it a lot. It didn't soundtrack my youth, but yes, it did. It's timeless teenage mope music. I bring this up because you couldn't read a sentence about Interpol in 2002 without stumbling across a Joy Division comparison. Do Interpol sound like Joy Division and the other bands I mentioned? Yes. But in a good way. And "Subway, she is a porno" so...
Turn on the Bright Lights is often talked about as being very "of a particular moment." I don't know what that means seeing as how this sound was very "of a particular moment" almost 20 years before Turn on the Bright Lights was even conceived. I will say this, listening to Turn on the Bright Lights brings me back to that specific time and place in my life more than most records, so maybe they're right.
It was 2002. I was 22. I had just graduated college and was teaching seventh grade and living back at home with my parents in Queens. On the weekends, I would head to the city and sleep on my friend Mike's couch. He lived on west 8th street, across the street from the Grey's Papaya. We were young. Had no real worries yet. It was a great time. Turn on the Bright Lights was one of the records that soundtracked that year. That these were New York guys singing about New York and hanging out in the same bars that I was added a bit to the mix, I'm sure.
My affection for Turn on the Bright Lights isn't only sentimental, I still happen to think it's a great record. Songs like "NYC", "PDA" and "Obstacle 1" are some of the best and most enduring of the decade. It may not be the most original record of the aughts, but whatever. If it was, I doubt I'd like it as much anyway.
Posted by Pat Driscoll