El Pintor

Gentlewomen and Gentlemen! A bonus post for you all, because reasons! Interpol is my favourite band ever. I'm not even going to be witty or clever about it. I love them, and they could literally read the Iliad and the Odyssey to me and I would love it. For... basically everyone because only a handful of people know, I have been forced by five different classes to read the Iliad and the Odyssey. All five classes required both books, and only one class did not require reading the whole damn thing of each. I invented the concept of the anti-heart to portray how I think hatred is stored, and nearly all of my anti-heart is space for the Iliad and the Odyssey to hang out and freaking die a slow, painful death. But enough of tainting this post with those foul creations.

Interpol. They put out a new album on September 8 (don't look at the man behind the curtain writing this the night of the 8th and pretending he's in the future), and I love it. Granted, I probably just threw away all my credibility as a music reviewer in that last paragraph (and royally enraged all classicists throughout history), but it's such a good album. I'll let you decide that for yourself, as you can purchase the album or find the music legally somewhere online–I will never endorse pirating music, but that's a topic for a different time. But I can tell you about them from my point of view.


I found them through Yahoo! Music back in eighth grade when I was using my Da's account to listen to/watch music videos while doing my math homework. I was chugging away on my Algebra when whatever insipid pop video ended and I heard the thumping, punchy bassline of "Evil" from Antics start playing. I looked up and proceeded to gaze in wonderment as humans rescued a muppet-esque man from a car accident, rushed him to the hospital where he nearly died, and then he danced his jerky, puppet-on-strings jitter on a gurney under fluorescent tube lights. That last scene has stuck in my mind to this day, and fourteen year-old me was totally enthralled. I looked them up by name in the Yahoo! music search bar–something I had never done–and watched all their videos. I may have failed that math assignment, but I fell in love that day.

So I bought a few of their songs to try them out and see if I liked their music as much without the videos. I did, so I ended up buying more of their music, but song by song rather than the complete album. I formed some sort of pseudo-obsession with their music as you can see by my current play count in the Top 25 Most Played playlist in my iTunes:

25, 4, 1 are my favourites as portrayed on this, my Wall of Listening Shame


So maybe pseudo-obsession was me trying to soften the blow. I really like "Obstacle 1" from Turn On the Bright Lights, as you can tell, but funny story: it's not my favourite song by them. Probably my third-favourite. Weird, right?

Anyway, fast forward to 2007 when Interpol released Our Love To Admire. I failed to pre-order it because I didn't have my own debit card to pay, but when I got it, I was in heaven listening to it on my slowly running-out-of-space iPod Mini (it was green, which I still believe is High King over all colors in this Thanedom. Awkward Skyrim jokes, AHOY!) Which makes sense, because all the songs on there deal with relationships, and I just started my long-distance relationship with my lady love whose family moved to England. So when we went to visit her, and we happened to pass by a little English record store, I popped in an bought my first-ever album on super-awesome 180 gram vinyl–what better reminder of the girl I loved than the newest album of my favourite band, bought while holding her hand? [Our Love To Admire is the one on the bottom left, with the taxidermy cover] I had no way of listening to it until I got home, but that didn't stop me from pulling it out and looking at the glorious circle of inscribed plastic and smiling like a twelve-colour fool.

I spent literal months listening to nothing else but Interpol's three albums. I'd put them on shuffle, then listen through each one individually, pick and choose my favourites, and start all over again. Now, a lot of people make fun of Interpol's lyrics–rather, Paul Banks', as to my knowledge, he writes all the lyrics. I totally understand, as his style is anywhere from PhD-in-English-Literature abstract (check "Not Even Jail" off Antics; my favourite being "I'm subtle like a lion's cage/such a cautious display") to bad middle school poetry (check "Roland" off Turn On the Bright Lights). But however intangible or flat out lame the lyrics are, every song has at least one line that resonates in my mind and makes my soul quiver. I feel Paul Banks is speaking those particular lines to me as some sort of aloof father-hero figure trying to impart his wisdom through cryptic truisms designed to only make sense once I've lived enough to be ready for their small enlightenments. Granted, I like some lines simply because Banks crafts a great metaphor, like "I'm timeless like a broken watch" from "Take You On a Cruise" from Antics.


By the time the self-titled Interpol dropped, I was in my sophomore year of college. The day it came out I skipped all my classes and just laid in bed listening to the album on repeat all day. I took breaks because–no matter what I may have said back in high school about being a cold, soulless robot–I am only human and I needed to eat and shower. "The Undoing," the last track on the album, caught me and haunts me to this day. It's on infinite repeat somewhere deep in my subconscious, and the strange interplay between the Spanish and English phrases always catch me off-guard. And only a few months after the release, I was able to see them in concert for the first time! I went to their Winter 2011 tour show on February 5, where I made a friend who turned out to be from one of my Freshman classes [can't we all hold hands/when we make new friends]. It was a great show, though I'm not always a fan of The Marquee as a venue, but it pales in comparison to the April 17 show at The Rialto during the Spring 2011 tour, because Paul Banks, Daniel Kessler and Samuel Fogarino played for me on my birthday–and I bought all the merch there. My one regret is that I am not the guy who was forcibly removed from the show after leaping onstage to hug and kiss Paul Banks on the cheek...

That brings us to today. I'm listening to El Pintor on repeat: iTunes says I've been through it six times already, though because "All the Rage Back Home" was a pre-order pre-release it's at 88 times and counting. Anyway, I love the new album, and you're probably done listening to my ramblings about how much affection I have for Interpol. Go check them out and let me know what you think!


tl;dr Cutter loves Interpol. Check out their music and discuss it with me.