Commute Song of the Week 1/9/15: Interpol “NYC”

Its a new year and a new iPhone.  My trusty commute companion of several years, the iPhone 4s was showing some signs of age, mainly that it didn’t want to play nice with my car stereo system.  So I drank the kool aide and accepted the latest Apple offering, getting a iPhone 6 with 64GB of room.  Its already half full with music and new songs to fill my drive time.

This song came up on a Thursday commute.  This week was quite hellish at work, and it made me yearn for the days of what now seems rather carefree youth roaming the dirty streets of 1980s New York City.   While its relative safety can be questioned, the city of my early twenties had character and grit, which I miss in the newer incarnations of the City that Never Sleeps.

NYC by Interpol evokes this city of my memories, and I can almost smell the metallic grime of the streets and hear the screech of subways grinding to a halt at Astor Place (ah the number 6!, I spent many a day on your route!).  It was a city where you could invent yourself over and over again, and be alone and yes, sometimes lonely in crowds of thousands.  And when those bright lights hit, it was up to you, whether you were ready or not.   Change was possible, even demanded.

Interpol is one of those bands that people tend to either love or hate.   One can argue, that lyrically Paul Bank owes a bit of his melancholy word play to Morrissey and the alt-rock angst of the 1980s and not always in the best of ways. Even Style Magazine did an article once on the Top Ten Worst Lines in Interpol songs, but in NYC, the spare lyric lines against the almost early morning dream-like music just works on so many levels.

Like looking at photos of the Village and the lower East Side of the 1980s, this song makes me homesick for a place that no longer exists.

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