Turn On the Bright Lights

Last updated

Turn On the Bright Lights
Interpol - Turn On The Bright Lights.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 20, 2002
RecordedNovember 2001
StudioTarquin (Bridgeport, Connecticut)
Genre
Length49:02
Label Matador
Producer
Interpol chronology
Interpol
(2002)
Turn On the Bright Lights
(2002)
The Black EP
(2003)
Singles from Turn On the Bright Lights
  1. "PDA"
    Released: August 22, 2002
  2. "Obstacle 1"
    Released: November 11, 2002
  3. "Say Hello to the Angels" / "NYC"
    Released: April 14, 2003

Turn On the Bright Lights is the debut studio album by American rock band Interpol, released on August 20, 2002. [1] The album was recorded in November 2001 at Tarquin Studios in Connecticut, and was co-produced, mixed and engineered by Peter Katis and Gareth Jones. It was released on August 19, 2002 in the United Kingdom and August 20 in the United States, through independent record label Matador Records.

Contents

Upon release, the record peaked at number 101 on the UK Albums Chart. It reached number 158 on the Billboard 200 in the United States, as well as spending 73 weeks on the Billboard Independent Albums chart, peaking at number five. The songs "PDA", "Obstacle 1" and the double a-side single "Say Hello to the Angels" / "NYC" were released as singles, with music videos being shot for all except "Say Hello to the Angels".

Music

In a brief interview about the fifteenth anniversary of Turn On the Bright Lights, guitarist Daniel Kessler stated the album's opening track, "Untitled" was written specifically to open the band's live shows. This leads into why the song is named "Untitled" because the band see the song as the intro song. Lead singer Paul Banks described the riff from the song as "signature Daniel". [2]

Promotion and release

The release of Turn On the Bright Lights was preceded by the marketing of the band's self-titled EP Interpol in June 2002, their first release for Matador. The EP contained three tracks: radio single "PDA", future single "NYC", and "Specialist". All three tracks later appeared on the album, with "Specialist" included as a bonus track in Australian and Japanese editions. Further promotion continued at the beginning of the following year, when the band played the 2003 NME Awards Tour alongside the Datsuns, the Polyphonic Spree and the Thrills. [3] The song "PDA" is featured as a playable track in 2008 video game Rock Band 2 . [4]

10th Anniversary Edition

A remastered version of the album was released in 2012 to commemorate its tenth anniversary. It featured additional material including demo recordings of several tracks, the bonus songs previously available on international releases and a DVD of live performances and music videos. [5] Many of the demo recording tracks had been previously released however the 10th Anniversary Edition also contains five unreleased demo tracks from what is dubbed "Third Demo". [6]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic 81/100 [7]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [8]
Entertainment Weekly A− [9]
Houston Chronicle Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [10]
Los Angeles Times Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [11]
NME 8/10 [12]
Pitchfork 9.5/10 [13]
Record Collector Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [14]
Rolling Stone Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [15]
Slant Magazine Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [16]
The Village Voice C+ [17]

Turn On the Bright Lights was released to critical acclaim. The album holds a score of 81 out of 100 from the aggregate site Metacritic based on 21 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim". [7] Contemporary reviews of the album often noted Interpol's influences and drew comparisons to several other acts. [5] Michael Chamy of The Austin Chronicle cited "melodic Peter Hook-like basslines; the divine shoegazer textures of My Bloody Valentine and Ride; a peppy, Strokes-like bounce; and a singer who's a dead ringer for Ian Curtis." [18] "It's almost as if Ian Curtis never hanged himself," began Blender 's review, with critic Jonah Weiner adding that Paul Banks' vocals channeled Curtis' "gloomy moan." [19] NME 's Victoria Segal called Joy Division comparisons "obvious and unmistakable, airbourne in the ashen atmospherics," while praising Interpol's take on the "grey-skinned British past". [12] Billboard wrote that Interpol had created an "homage to their particular vision of the '80s that stands proudly alongside the best of its idols." [20] Scott Seward, writing in The Village Voice , remarked: "If I like them because they remind me of eating bad bathtub mescaline in the woods and listening to Cure singles, well, that'll do. You might like them for completely different reasons." [21]

Noel Murray of The A.V. Club opined that Interpol's virtue "lies in the way its music unfurls from pinched openings to wide-open codas", [22] while Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone wrote that their "sleek, melancholy sound is a thing of glacial beauty". [15] Eric Carr of Pitchfork argued that the band had forged their own distinct sound, "a grander, more theatrical atmosphere with lush production that counters their frustrated bombast", praising Turn On the Bright Lights as "one of the most strikingly passionate records I've heard this year." [13] However, The Village Voice's Robert Christgau, naming it "Dud of the Month" in his Consumer Guide column, felt that Interpol "exemplify and counsel disengagement, self-seeking, a luxurious cynicism," downplaying Joy Division comparisons as "too kind". [17] Q 's lukewarm assessment of the album described it as "predictably claustrophobic listening". [23]

At the end of the year, Turn On the Bright Lights featured on several publications' lists of the best albums of 2002, including those of Pitchfork, who named it the year's best album, [24] NME, who ranked it at number ten, [25] and Stylus Magazine , who ranked it at number five. [26] The album placed at number 15 on The Village Voice's year-end Pazz & Jop critics' poll. [27]

Legacy

Hailed as a seminal album of the 2000s, [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] Turn On the Bright Lights has been cited as an influence on many indie rock bands, including the Killers, [33] Editors, [34] [35] the xx, [36] the Organ, [37] She Wants Revenge, [38] and others to the extent that many of these bands have been disparagingly referred to as "Interpol clones". [39] Closely associated with 9/11-era New York City, [40] the album has been seen as helping define 2000s indie rock, and Interpol have been cited as helping usher in the New York-born post-punk revival scene, along with contemporaries such as the Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and TV on the Radio. [41] Summing up the album's impact in a review of its 2012 re-issue, Matt LeMay of Pitchfork wrote: "Suggesting that this album is simply a product of its time and place is no less naive than suggesting that anyone who has ever been in love could easily write, arrange and record an amazing love song. There were a lot of good bands in New York in 2002, but only one band made this record." [5] In 2017, the band embarked on a worldwide tour to celebrate its 15th anniversary. [42]

In a 2018 interview with Vice, Paul Banks stated: "as far as ease of making it, we had years to write these songs. The longest writing period of any of your records is your debut. We formed in 1997, so it’s five years, and three-and-a-half/four of playing shows and trying out that material. So it went down smoothly in the studio, and then you have all the excitement of it being your first album. It was a good time in our lives." [43] Drummer Sam Fogarino reflected on the album by saying: "we were very naïve, we didn’t know how to make a record together, and we were lucky to have a good snapshot taken of who we were at the time. And we got a little more confident with every record." [44]

At the end of the decade, the album has been featured on numerous lists:

PublicationAccoladeRank
Pitchfork 'Top 100 albums 2000-2004'3 [45]
Pitchfork'Top 200 albums of the 2000s'20 [46]
Stylus 'Top 50 Albums 2000-2005'6 [47]
Stylus'Top 100 Albums of the 2000s'20 [48]
NME '100 Greatest Albums of the Decade'8 [49]
NME'500 Greatest Albums of All Time'130 [50]
Rolling Stone '100 Best Albums of the Decade'59 [51]
Under the Radar 'Top 200 Albums of the Decade'3 [52]
Beats Per Minute 'Top 100 Albums of the Decade'7 [53]
eMusic '100 Best Albums of the Decade'9
Lost At Sea '2000-2009: Albums of the Decade'13 [54]
The Irish Times 'Top 20 Albums of the Decade'10 [55]
Consequence of Sound 'Top 100 Albums of the Decade'35 [56]
musicOMH '21 Best Albums of the 2000s'12
The Guardian '100 Best Albums of the 21st Century'50 [57]

Track listing

All tracks are written by Paul Banks, Daniel Kessler, Carlos Dengler and Sam Fogarino.

No.TitleLength
1."Untitled"3:56
2."Obstacle 1"4:11
3."NYC"4:20
4."PDA"4:59
5."Say Hello to the Angels"4:28
6."Hands Away"3:05
7."Obstacle 2"3:47
8."Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down"6:28
9."Roland"3:35
10."The New"6:07
11."Leif Erikson"4:00
Total length:48:56
Tenth Anniversary Edition bonus disc
No.TitleLength
1."Interlude"1:01
2."Specialist"6:40
3."PDA" (First Demo)4:44
4."Roland" (First Demo)3:44
5."Get the Girls/Song 5" (First Demo)3:47
6."Precipitate" (Second Demo)5:33
7."Song Seven" (Second Demo)4:43
8."A Time to Be So Small" (Second Demo)5:47
9."Untitled" (Third Demo)4:13
10."Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down" (Third Demo)6:40
11."NYC" (Third Demo)4:27
12."Leif Erikson" (Third Demo)4:27
13."Gavilan/Cubed" (Third Demo) (alternatively known as "Mascara")6:49
14."Obstacle 2" (Peel Session)3:54
15."Hands Away" (Peel Session)3:10
16."The New" (Peel Session)5:59
17."NYC" (Peel Session)4:17

Bonus track on Australian edition

Bonus tracks on Japanese edition Two different versions exist. One version has the following bonus tracks:

The other version has the following bonus tracks:

Bonus tracks on Mexican edition

Personnel

Interpol
Audio Engineers

Charts

Chart performance for Turn On the Bright Lights
Chart (2002–03)Peak
position
French Albums (SNEP) [58] 62
Scottish Albums (OCC) [59] 78
UK Albums (OCC) [60] 101
UK Independent Albums (OCC) [61] 11
US Billboard 200 [62] 158
US Independent Albums (Billboard) [63] 5

Certifications and sales

RegionCertification Certified units/sales
Mexico20,000 [64]
United Kingdom (BPI) [65] Gold100,000^
United States (RIAA) [66] Gold522,000 [67]
Summaries
Worldwide1,000,000 [68]

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also

Related Research Articles

Interpol (band) American rock band

Interpol is an American rock band from Manhattan, New York. Formed in 1997, their original line-up consisted of Paul Banks, Daniel Kessler, Carlos Dengler, and Greg Drudy (drums). Drudy left the band in 2000 and was replaced by Sam Fogarino. Dengler left to pursue other projects in 2010, with Banks taking on the additional role of bassist instead of hiring a new one.

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Paul Banks (American musician) Interpol member

Paul Julian Banks is an American–British musician, singer, songwriter, and DJ. He is best known as the lead vocalist, lyricist, and guitarist of the rock band Interpol. He released a solo album called Julian Plenti is... Skyscraper in 2009 under the name Julian Plenti, though his solo material is now recorded under his real name. As a singer, his voice lies in the baritone range.

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<i>Interpol</i> (EP) 2002 EP by Interpol

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Say Hello to the Angels / NYC 2003 single by Interpol

"Say Hello to the Angels" and "NYC" are two songs by American rock band Interpol. Both songs were released as a double A-side 7" single on April 14, 2003, acting as the third single from their debut studio album, Turn on the Bright Lights (2002). The single peaked at number 65 on the UK Singles Chart.

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<i>A Fine Mess</i> (EP) 2019 EP by Interpol

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"PDA" is a song by American rock band Interpol. It was released as the first single from their debut studio album, Turn on the Bright Lights, on August 22, 2002. The music video for "PDA" was directed by Christopher Mills. Unlike the two singles that followed; "Obstacle 1" and "Say Hello to the Angels" / "NYC", "PDA" did not chart anywhere.

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