To say I’m excited for the upcoming album by The Libertines is putting it mildly. A band that stole my heart in the early aughts, a band who broke my heart a few times since, and who I never thought would make another album, have proved me wrong and stole my heart right back again (well, they never really lose it, even when they broke it). The songs I’ve heard, so far, are amazing, raw, raucous, emotional, literate, catchy, lyrically strong, and that special kind of magical something that I have never been able to fully describe, but absolutely love. Anyways, to celebrate, and to give myself a space to be ridiculously giddy in anticipation, I’m going to post a favorite song of mine, or two, every day until I can review the album in its entirety this coming Friday. For those of you who love the “boys in the band” like I do, you may enjoy these posts. For those who have never heard their music before, maybe you’ll take a moment to indulge me and have a listen. And, for those of you who do not care for them, feel free to skip or look away. The Libertines are one of those artists/bands that came along and changed my life, and I will be forever grateful for what they’ve meant to me.
So, here’s to them – Carl, Pete, Gary and John – cheers to your reunion, your music and this upcoming album!
My first track of the day is from their debut album, Up the Bracket.
“The rapture of vertigo,
and letting go.
I was never sure.
Was it the liquor,
or was it my soul?“
Opening tracks are so important to me. They set the stage for an album, and like the first few pages of a book, they can grab you or leave you dangling in indecision, or worse yet, disinterest. But this opening track, Vertigo, grabbed hold of me from its opening lyrics and guitar progressions. I love Carl Barât’s voice, the way his accent swirls around in the song’s delivery, and I adore the lyrics, the wit, the rhyme, the poetry of the streets in the song, and the way the sound of it all, a quick two minutes and thirty-eight seconds, is so damn catchy and addictive. A little garage rock, a little punk rock, and a whole lot of what The Libertines means to me. The song leaves me dizzy in the best possible way.
Vertigo pays a bit of a tribute to Tony Hancock, and the Hancock Half Hour (Tony gets name checked in later songs, too), with the lyric “Lead pipes, Your fortune’s made”.
For me, the song always felt like the chaos of falling for someone quickly, the thrill and the fear that rushes in, that clouds your eyes and makes you feel upside down and inside out. Or maybe it was just the booze in your bloodstream, the way you feel alive around that someone. Or maybe that someone is just a dream realized, the energy of being with your best friends, or playing in a band. The way it makes you feel like your chest might explode if you don’t dance and scream and sing.
The Libertines have been playing many live shows the last few weeks, and though I cannot be there physically, I’ve been following along as best I can, and am definitely there in spirit, singing-a-long and dancing up a storm. Here’s a live version of Vertigo from the Leeds Festival, from last weekend.