Thanks for all the input on last week’s post. You guys were lovely as always and very helpful! For now, The Tune Up is staying put on Tuesdays.
Sometimes, I discover music in very odd ways – it just comes with the territory of being a fan. The Libertines may be in my top five unique pathways to an artist/band. I’ve been a pop culture junkie since I was little. I loved being a little kid and thumbing through my Grandma’s newspaper rags and giggling at all the outrageous stories. As a teenager when the first boom of gossip sites came around I was hooked. Some of the first major fodder for the online tabs was Pete Doherty. I kept reading articles about his antics and seeing pictures of being being a hot mess express. All I knew about him was his serious drug addiction, his on and off relationship with Kate Moss, and his drug induced friendship with Amy Winehouse. You didn’t go more than a few days without seeing his name. I kept wondering how was this guy famous? It couldn’t be for just these sketch stories right?
I did my research. Turns out Doherty was a British musician who just had a penchant for winding up in bullsh*t. I had never heard of either of his bands, The Libertines and The Babyshambles, so I gave them a listen. I actually really dug their sound. Since that moment I’ve been a pretty big fan, but I never thought I’d get anymore tunes. Until the internet started buzzing with rumors of a Libertines reunion in early 2015.
For the first time in eleven years The Libertines are back and announced their third album Anthems for Doomed Youth was slated for release this fall. Making an appearance on BBC Radio 1, the quartet debuted the first single “Gunga Din” after the Rudyard Kipling poem of the same name. Now, this IS NOT a song for everybody. It is pure chaotic Brit-rock at it’s finest. A younger sibling of The Clash.
Many fans wondered if The Libertines would still have the spark that made them unique. The same factor that led to such a meteoric rise and fall from fame. “Gunga Din” proves that baseline chemistry is still is vital. The song is full of ska like riffs and choppy bass lines in the best possible way. It’s rambunctious, but contained. The band still understands how to properly frazzle the listener, but in a polished production. Doherty and Barât pass the control of vocals back and forth to match the percussion. It doesn’t seem like it’s been eleven years since the band’s last release.
One of the only things giving away the time lapse before “Gunga Din” is hidden in the lyrics. The Libertines were always a band that could be self aware and biting in what they penned. Without head on addressing events of the past decade, the band hints at them in talks about demons and mirrors. It all comes barreling to a climax with a few loud and well timed expletives.
“Gunga Din” is not a nostalgic farce. The Libertines still have it and Anthems for Doomed Youth might wind up being required listening in 2015.
Here’s to hoping the band can keep it all together and stay afloat.
What’s the oddest way you’ve discovered new music? What are you listening to right now?
P.S. – Enjoy Brit-rock, but The Libertines a little too brash for your tastes? Give my rec of The Kooks a hand.
Until next time,