I listened to both of the Libertines albums on my way into work, as well as to the first two tracks in my iTunes from my pre-order. Trying to narrow down a next favorite to post today was challenging, to say the least, but I think I landed on one (or in this case, two). I started with the first track off of Up the Bracket for day one. For day two I’m going for the final track off the band’s self-titled album, which includes a hidden track, too – What Became of the Likely Lads and France.
The self-titled album is heavy with emotion. A break-up album for a break-up that hadn’t happened quite yet, but was waiting just around the bend. I came to this band right at the brink of that (now temporary) ending, and listening to the album in full this morning hit me differently than it did when I was new to the band, and their music. Perhaps it is in the knowing that they reunited, or the life experiences, and loss, in my own life that have happened since I first heard these songs, but they hit hard to me, bringing up a stir of my own emotions, and, at times, bringing tears. The songs make me want to dance and jump around, too. Dancing through emotions, yes, one of the gifts that music can bring.
What Became of the Likely Lads?
“Please don’t get me wrong,
see I forgive you in a song ,
we’ll call the likely lads.
But if its left to you,
I know exactly what you’d do ,
with all the dreams we had.”
Last tracks are just as important to me, and significant, as opening songs. They are like book endings, or the final scene of a film. They leave you with that residue of emotion and reaction that you carry with you, taking it all in, and if you get it and it gets you, it sticks and stays. If the last song is good enough, true enough, and I guess “you” enough, you want to return to the start and play it all again.
The lyrics in this song (“What became of the dreams we had?“, “What became of forever?“) refer to the breakdown of the friendship between Pete Doherty and Carl Barât, and the subsequent collapse of the band (the break-up album before the break-up, as I mentioned before, and this the last track, or final words, to it all).
The song’s title (and the chorus’s lyrics) echo the title of a popular British situation comedy from the 1970’s, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?
Today, as I heard this song, I couldn’t help but think how hard this song must have been to perform back when everything was falling apart. I wonder it in the same way I question how Fleetwood Mac ever performed any of the songs off Rumors together, as they were all having their own break-ups. I wonder, as well, how it feels to perform it now. Is it just another track, a memory from the past, or does it still have a sting to it? I guess only they could say.
I do know it is one hell of a great song, and way to end an album.
The hidden track is a favorite of mine, France, and below is my absolute favorite version of it, with Carl Barât singing live for a Rolling Stone session. It is such a lovely version that I could listen to a million times over (and probably already have.
“See i remember your eyes,
in their dark shade of brown,
while these blue eyes of mine,
they stay closed.”