The Walkmen - The Rat


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“You’ve got a nerve to be asking a favour/ You’ve got a nerve to be calling my number.”

When I was younger, I was so much less aware of my taste. Head swaying to teen bands in a church basement; mixtapes on the free-house-party stereo – paint in an X at the end of a country driveway and there I would be, nodding along uncertain; sure that I didn’t quite ‘get’ the sound, not so sure I shouldn’t. I knew something was missing in all that sound, I just didn’t yet know that something was a tighter chord progression, or a vocal that didn’t stretch so far for the top notes, or better production, or less of it.

Now, the other extreme; my refined critic’s ear, with demanding taste to match. Now I won’t settle for filling my soundground with anything but the good stuff: “Another year and a decent producer,” I sigh, patronisingly over the sound of a baby band still forming their muscle. But maybe I’m missing something in the hyper-awareness – the same way there’s something wonderful in knowing only that you like the song, nevermind why.

Would have I appreciated this in the same way back then: undiscerning, instinctive, uninformed?

But how I relish having every critical instinct rewarded the way this does. The sheer ferocity of the sound is something to behold – from immediate reaction, from considered thought. The curve of crescendo, such irresistible swoop of chords and crash and crazed intensity. The inevitable haunt of nostalgia reminding you that you can never go home, because home doesn’t exist anymore for the person you’ve become. Maybe my joy would have been purer, but this appreciation – rolling the sound around inside my mind as if tasting wine – suits me just fine for now.

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Bonus: ‘Little House of Savages’
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2 Responses to “The Walkmen - The Rat”

  1. Anonymous Flora 

    This song is pure awesomeness.

  2. Anonymous Filip 

    You just made me dig out Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone which I put on in the kitchen while washing dishes. I was singing along at the top of my lungs while dropping dishes and glasses into the sink from slightly too far away. I think my heart almost popped. I got a promo copy of this single back in my University newspaper days but never got round to buying the album. The B Side Clementine is brilliant too. Oh, and you also made me finally post a comment on your continually wonderful blog.

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