Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights (Cover Artwork)


Interpol: Turn on the Bright LightsTurn on the Bright Lights (2002)
Matador Records

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:

Contributed by: waste_elitewaste_elite
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Whoa... That was the only reaction I could muster when this disc finished spinning in my CD player. Few albums have given me this stupified reaction over the years, very few. You know the type, they suck you in from the first minute to the last and render you useless in complete and total e.
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That was the only reaction I could muster when this disc finished spinning in my CD player.

Few albums have given me this stupified reaction over the years, very few. You know the type, they suck you in from the first minute to the last and render you useless in complete and total entrancement. You get up afterwards feeling like you've just had some sort of bizarre spiritual experience and wonder if you could even handle another listen. Yeah, this is that kind of album.

If you've already read a review of Turn on the Bright Lights, chances are Joy Division was mentioned at least once. Understandably so, the similarities are most certainly there. Interpol manages to evoke the same cold, somber atmosphere of Joy Division and vocalist Paul Cook sounds very similar, in both voice and delivery, to Ian Curtis. It's easy to see Interpol as a modern day version of said band, which is a compliment of the highest regards, yet there is much more going on here. Interpol's soundscapes are at times lush and evocative (as opposed to the stark minimalism of Joy Division), displaying similarities to latter day Radiohead. Paul Cook's strong grasp of unusual and abstract melody brings to mind that of Thom Yorke's as well.

This is sad music. No, not in the contrived, angsty sense that is emo. This is the sound of disconnection and melancholy filtered through desperation. Depressing? Yes, this is not something you're going to throw on when you go out on the town. This is music to think and reflect to.

Well, enough of my feeble attempts at trying to capture the sound and mood of Interpol in writing, this is something that needs to be heard to be appreciated. Turn on the Bright Lights is one the most refreshing, moving, and downright powerful albums I've heard in years.

Highly, very highly, recommended...


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
thurstonXwhore (February 13, 2007)

So what. It's Joy Division meets Pixies. Big deal. This album couldn't be any more boring and uninspired.


thurstonXwhore (February 13, 2007)

So what. It's Joy Division meets Pixies. Big deal. This album couldn't be any more boring and uninspired.


totalstranga (July 26, 2006)

mightve been rated higher but if that Carlos guy really is a creep like that then fuck him. and before anyone asks, no thats never happened to me but I'd be fucking pissed too. at him and what would be my ex. and they do sound like joy Division but not nearly as good

Anonymous (August 8, 2005)

I LOVE Interpol. They are so great. I listen to this CD so much. Love, love, love, this album.

pdcrak (July 15, 2005)

"i don't get this, it just bores me. give me some sum 41."

Through reading this melvyl characters comments I have come to realize a few things about him...

1. Hes 7 years old.
2. Hes an idiot.
3. Hes never actually heard this entire alblum, thus his comments are irrelavant.

The score is for the alblum, which rocks my socks off, and can do the same for you.

Anonymous (November 13, 2004)

I would like Interpol except the bassist Carlos fucked my girlfriend when they were on tour!! Kinda sick old man she was 17.

slippy (June 21, 2004)


alkalinetrio0087 (June 16, 2004)

Interpol would have been amazing circa 1980. But since it's the 21st century they just sound like a half-assed Joy Division cover band. But "Stella Was A Diver..." is such an amazing song that I have to think that they've got some potential to do something original.

Anonymous (January 31, 2003)

A rip off. Not a cheap one. Joy D is one of the greatest bands ever. Period. Listen to "New Pleasures" and you'll never pick this up again. I mean, yes, there are diferences. Especially in the guitaring. But the bass lines and the vocalists voice are really pushing it. The lyrics all sound like shallow versions of an old Joy Division song. I'll give it a 4 for being better than most of the bands out there right now. Nothing to celebrate, though.

waste_elite (January 14, 2003)

i don't see it, i can see the influence (course i can see influences in every band) but it doesn't even sound remotely like a "cheap" ripoff. like i said, i love joy division and i would be the first one up in arms if someone plagiarized one of my favorite bands, but i don't see interpol doing that at all.

this reminds me of the whole strokes/velvet underground debate...

Anonymous (January 14, 2003)

dude, all i have to say is:

go back and listen to PDA and tell me that song doesn't sound like a cheaper version of an old upbeat joy division or warsaw song.

i can almost see ian curtis convulsing on stage singing "this is the only reason that i'm..." or whatever.

of course they don't sound INDENTICALLY. that would be impossible...they're different people, recording with different technology...however, i really think if this band had been around in 1980, and had recorded the same songs...everyone would have written them off as a shitty joy division rip off.

also, of course you like interpol if joy division is one of your favorite bands. duh.

waste_elite (January 14, 2003)

ok, i'm gonna come out and say that Joy Division is one of my favorite bands EVER. while i can certainly see that Interpol was strongly influenced by the band, they aren't ripping them off at all. seriously, listen to Unknown Pleasures and Closer than listen to Turn on the Bright Lights, if you think they sound identical then there is something wrong with your ears.

first of all, the lyrics don't resemble ian's in the slightest, nor do the song titles (NYC, PDA, Stella was a diver and she's always down, Leif Erikson, Roland, these are not Ian Curtis song titles). their style isn't even the same, Joy Division was always controlled, mechanical, and icy while Interpol isn't afraid to show some humanity. the artwork? maybe, buy who hasn't gone the minimalist route before huh?

that is all, i love both bands and it's a shame interpol has to catch the shit that they do. seriously, if paul banks didn't sound like ian curtis, the name Joy Division would never be brought up when speaking of the band. you know it's true.

Anonymous (January 14, 2003)

this band IS joy division. except not as good. i always love listerning to people say "it's just the vocals...they don't REALLY rip off joy division...". dude, fuck that...if you think that you clearly haven't listened closely to joy division OR interpol.

think about it...his voice...the melodies...the guitar lines...the bass lines...the drum beats...fuck, even the artwork...the photos...the style...the lyrics....the fucking SONG TITLES (obstacle 1??? um...ok ian).

i was hanging out with someone who'd never even heard of joy division but LOVES interpol the other day when "love will tear us apart" came on the radio...she thought it was the new interpol single. ENOUGH SAID.

if you want to play post-punk, that's fucking cool with me. but please, don't come to the party dressed up as your one and only favorite band... that's just silly.

copperandstars (January 13, 2003)

i really fucking like this.. they were really good live, too

Anonymous (January 13, 2003)

only fair, and HIGHLY, i stress again HIGHLY overrated

Anonymous (January 13, 2003)

Good review. Waste should review Second Edition by PiL.

Anonymous (January 13, 2003)

" pinkerton, slanted and enchanted, areoplane over the sea, diary, I heard they suck live, yankee hotel foxtrot, and the soft bulletin" classics? i think not. yawn

Anonymous (January 13, 2003)

hype ruins good bands. hype seems to breed hate. plenty of good bands get killed by it. sad really. this "return of rock" is raping good (and bad) bands. rock never went anywhere but i guess its the return of rock to the mainstream. but dont worry kids this'll all go away quicker then ska. oh yeah. this album is less then classic

waste_elite (January 13, 2003)

yeah, i fucked up, it's paul banks

Anonymous (January 13, 2003)

paul banks, not cook

Anonymous (January 13, 2003)

There's a name for people who will forget about this album in three months and move on to the next cool, hip, or buzz thing, they are called scenesters. Unfortunately there are a real lot of them out there, but once you get beyond that, to the people that acutally listen to to the music for the music they will remember this album. Not to sound trite and cliche but I think this album is a modern classic, one that won't easliy be forgotten, up there with the likes of pinkerton, slanted and enchanted, areoplane over the sea, diary, I heard they suck live, yankee hotel foxtrot, and the soft bulletin

Scotty (January 13, 2003)

Apparently this is on sale at Best Buy for $6.99. I shall pick it up for that price, even though I've never heard them.

waste_elite (January 12, 2003)

hype or no hype, regardless if this band is forgotten in a month or not, the fact remains that this is a damn good album and well worth the 8 dollars it cost me. unfortunately, it seems that a lot of young bands that burst onto the scene with something truly impressive, while collecting a lot of critical praise in the process, get the awful "hype band" label. maybe interpol should have released a bunch of shitty albums before this so they could have established some sort of "cred"...

if you don't like this band because you think they are dull and boring, fine. i think you're insane, but fine, everyone is entitled to their own taste in music. if you don't like this band simply because you think they are just another hype band, you are shallow.

Anonymous (January 12, 2003)

boring and dull, just the way i like it. next!

Anonymous (January 12, 2003)

I dunno what it is about this band. They just aren't very interesting. Like the first time I heard the album, I thought it was pretty good, so I downloaded it to see if it was worth buying. 2 weeks later, I'd come to my decision that, no, it wasn't good enough to buy. It wasn't really even mindblowing enough to take up space on my computer.

It IS flat and dull. Don't fucking call me closed minded. I gave it more than it's fair share of chances.

They ARE a buzz band. Maybe you and I have different ideas of what is "Hype" and what isn't. The truth is, in a couple months, the great majority of people that were all excited about this album will move on to the next big indie cred flavor of the month. Interpol will be forgotten.

So yeah. That may end up reading a bit more pissed off than I meant it to be. Basically, it isn't as good as it's hype makes it out to be, and if I hear one more scenester tell me I HAVE TO HEAR THIS BAND, I'm flipping the switch.

Anonymous (January 12, 2003)

I went to see interpol at the factory in columbus, ohio on friday. i really anticipated seeing them since i had heard only positive reviews. what a bland experience. they were ok, but their set didn't culminate into anything. i was boring, after the longest setup ever and a shitty opening band, i was ready for anything at all... this was so disappointing. don't spend more than six bucks to see this band. their album might be good, but they have nothing to back it up with. they sounded like joy division, the smiths, bowie, so so so many others it was pathetic. i know that there is a shift back to the roots of indie, but please.

waste_elite (January 12, 2003)

it is not flat and dull! they might not write minute-long, ultra-fast punk songs, but i thought the album was completely dynamic and engaging from start to finish.

everything that can possibly be said about this band has been said, so i don't know what it'll take to convince you. just listen to the album, if you can't get into it than that's your loss.

Melvyl (January 12, 2003)

and the line about me wanting to get more punk rock cred...

i said i liked sum 41 more than this band. isn't that self-explaining?

it's just boring music..

for the fourth time, tell me what's so good about this cd and i'll pop it in again.

Melvyl (January 12, 2003)

why doesn't anyone understand what i'm saying?

i've asked like 3 times what's so great about this band. because i just find them flat and dull. and you just like them because they are hip to like. face it, you won't remember this cd in 3 months.

Anonymous (January 12, 2003)

So a bunch of indie rock nerds like this album, that's not really a great reason not to like it. You can not like it beacuse you don't like the music, that's ok. It's just that by not liking something because you think a lot other people like it doesn't make you some kind of more credible punk rocker, it makes you stupid. In general bands that get the kind of props interpol does are great, bands like modest mouse, wilco, pavement, flamming lips, spoon, sonic youth and many more are all widely praised by critics and indie nerds everywhere and those are some of the best bands out there right.

Anonymous (January 12, 2003)

this album is as good as you've heard it is. end of story.

Melvyl (January 12, 2003)

maybe hype was the wrong word, i'm retarded and swedish, that's my excuse.

but it still doesn't change the fact that everyone who's into indie and all the critics on every fucking site/zine loves it and praises as hell.

Well, i think borders shouldn't sell this crap, no wonder everyone is so boring these days, the music is so flat and dull.

Anonymous (January 12, 2003)

I was in borders looking for this album the week it came out last august and the clerk in the music section told me that, once awhile back the store had like one copy of an ep by the band but acording to their market research the album did not fit their demographics or some bull shit. Sufice to say I immedately left the store in utter shock and dismay. Last week I'm back in that very same borders trying to use some christmas gift certifactes on their scant selection of good music, and what do I find but three fucking copies of this album. To me that pretty much says it all about this stupid hype arguement, no one but pitchfork had heard of this band last august so borders WASN'T EVEN GOING TO CARRY IT, but then those jerks in suits that decides what borders sells, when they realized that people were buying this album, then they caught on and started selling it. Not because some shmucks from RCA planted some stories about how they are going to save rock and roll or some garbage a la the strokes. Come on people, I mean this band is on Matador

Anonymous (January 12, 2003)

I think it's good. The "almost acoustic sounding, but still rockin'" sound mixed with the haunting vocals reminds me strongly of The Doors, except without the cool use of eastern instruments.

waste_elite (January 11, 2003)

"dude like more than half of every "best of 2002 list" i've checked has them in the top 3. and every critic is talking about them and giving them full score"

praise does not consititute hype. by those standards every album that receives a good review has been "hyped".

i don't recall any serious buzz around this album before it was released, i don't remember anyone calling this band the saviour of rock n roll, i never even saw promotion for this album.

the band earned all of this attention and critical praise by putting out a great fucking album.

simple as that.

Anonymous (January 11, 2003)

This is the last place I thought I would see a good review of this boring and outright pretentious pile of over-rated crap.

Melvyl (January 11, 2003)


dude like more than half of every "best of 2002 list" i've checked has them in the top 3.

and every critic is talking about them and giving them full score

this, is hyping.

In my ears it's just boring, what's so good about them?

Anonymous (January 11, 2003)

That was a great review for a great album...

I still think the new Flaming Lips and the new Wilco were the two best releases of last year though...

This ranks right up there...

Sum 41 on the other hand, do not...


waste_elite (January 11, 2003)

no, different paul cook

Anonymous (January 11, 2003)

Is this the Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols?

waste_elite (January 11, 2003)

i was pleased to see that pitchfork picked this as the best album of the year (nice to know that i'm not crazy here).

read their review:

http://pitchforkmedia.com/record-reviews/i/interpol/tu rn-on-the-bright-lights.shtml

Anonymous (January 11, 2003)

Good stuff...the guy's voice sounds like a mix between Jim Morrison and Dave Vanian.

waste_elite (January 11, 2003)

"Interpol will be forgotten in a month. (and if not, they're still boring)"

you've got to be kidding me. anyone with an attention span of more than a minute and a half and an ear for good music can tell that this stuff is quality.

this band is NOT hype. actually, there was little to no hype surrounding this release at all. and was that a slam at bob dylan i saw down below?

the kids are getting dumber...

Anonymous (January 11, 2003)

the vines are pathetic, wannabe garage rock. Gimme the stooges, not that tripe. This stuff is good.....but there are some great new albums coming out.

Melvyl (January 11, 2003)

yeah, can someone tell me what's so great about this band? if someone can do that, i will read it, and listen to the cd again, i doubt it will be better, but i just need to know what's so great.

can someone say the vines?

Interpol will be forgotten in a month. (and if not, they're still boring)

viceroymonarch (January 11, 2003)

"just because i don't like your favourite band doesn't mean i'm not open minded."

thank god someone finally had the balls to say that in one of these 'non-punk' reviews. Whenever someone says they don't like Interpol, or System of a Down, or Bob Dylan, or whatever else, people always call them closed-minded. People are allowed to like whatever they want, and if they don't like a band you like that doesn't mean they didn't give them a chance, it just means that they don't like them. get over it.

Anonymous (January 11, 2003)

good stuff....unexpectedly good.

Melvyl (January 11, 2003)

well it was not a joke, actually it's true, and yeah, i'm open minded, i tried listening to this but it's so flat and dull.

just because i don't like your favourite band doesn't mean i'm not open minded.

Anonymous (January 11, 2003)

This is indeed a great album. I do agree that the similarities lie primarily in the vocal delivery, but at times their bass playing does reveal their strong Joy Division influence. You only have to go so far as "Love Will Tear Us Apart" to see Joy Division's tendency to include. relatively high-pitched melodies, often that mirror or provide a countermelody for the vocals. Interpol does this from time to time, "Obstacle 1" being the song that immediately comes to mind. So yeah.

Anonymous (January 11, 2003)

This is a wonderful album...but the Joy Division comparison is only in the haunting vocals. That is it.

Anonymous (January 10, 2003)

Is this the Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols?

Anonymous (January 10, 2003)

Whatever happened to Sum 1-40, anyhow?

soulbleed (January 10, 2003)

it was about time for joy division to make it's 3rd runaround :P

Anonymous (January 10, 2003)


Anonymous (January 10, 2003)

even a little damned.

Anonymous (January 10, 2003)

interesting....sounds a bit like Joy d and maybe even a little doors and fugazi.

Anonymous (January 10, 2003)

i laughed.

Anonymous (January 10, 2003)

Melvyl, i pity you if you're not more openminded than that...
If it was a joke: you're not funny


Melvyl (January 10, 2003)

i don't get this, it just bores me. give me some sum 41.

Anonymous (January 10, 2003)

Brilliant record; my third fave of 2002. This band has enormous potential to be great.

evilmidget2 (January 10, 2003)

finally a good band gets reviewed on this site.

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