Thoughts on the NARC remix by Paul Banks

Greetings to all,

I’d like to begin today with an observation:

“I think Paul’s remix adds another aspect to ‘NARC.’…I’ve never thought of the remix though as a precursor to ‘The Lighthouse,’ but I would see how it would- the element of isolation, pensiveness, maybe even a little bit defeat, and acceptance of a certain fate/path” – Pallid Urchin

– Firstly, I agree with the opening comment regarding Paul’s remix of NARC—I hear the remix as revealing more of the true inner landscape of the protagonist portrayed in this song. I think it is significant that the remix ends before the protagonist has a chance to enter into what I call, in my extended analysis, his “fantasy” key: in the original version of NARC, the music moves to a new key just as Banks’ protagonist sings of entering his space with his lover (“we steps into my bedroom”…). The fact that Paul’s remix ends before this occurs underscores for me the “fantasy” of this moment. Eventually undermined in the original version with the onset of the final part of the song, this fantasy is altogether removed in Banks’ more intimate and sparse remix of the song.

– Secondly, I like the connection made between Paul’s NARC remix and “The Lighthouse,” as I also hear the two as resembling each other, especially in their textural character. When speaking of texture in music, I am trying to qualify feelings of “richness” or “sparseness” (or any other textural attribute) by drawing a metaphoric connection between these extra-musical attributes and a musical work’s instrumentation and production. I hear the “isolation” and “pensiveness” mentioned by Pallid Urchin as being a result, in both songs, of the instrumentation (mostly guitar, with other instruments added as quiet accompaniment), and also as a result of the production (the vocals sound as if they are echoing from a distance).

– Lastly, in “The Lighthouse,” I hear the “acceptance of a certain fate” particularly in the final section of the song, as the texture is filled out with bass and drums, and the tremolo guitar line becomes a short melody that is repeated four times; the rest of the band has shown up to draw the song to a definite close. Further, the final guitar melody itself sounds resolved to fate, as it begins with the interval of a perfect 4th (interval referring to the “distance” between two notes—the spatialization of sound is crucial to Western music theory, though it does not intuitively work for everyone), which has symbolized throughout Western tonal music a sense of arrival, or finality.

– It is my hope that by (all too briefly) expounding upon comments like Pallid Urchin’s, we can discover together ways of thinking about Interpol’s music that elucidate our reactions to their songs. As always, your comments, thoughts, and/or questions are welcomed and encouraged – and for those of you who have already contributed to these, thank you, and look to the near future for your thoughts to be addressed here!

Love from,


P.S. I also want to answer quickly another question from Pallid Urchin:

“Are you planning on analyzing any other songs at some point? If so, which ones?” – Pallid Urchin

– As of yet, I’ve only studied NARC in depth—I prefer to make transcriptions of the songs before I interpret them, and these scores take me a few days of fairly intense concentration to produce—but I have ideas and observations regarding several of Interpol’s songs that I plan on putting to paper at some point in the near future. In particular, “Take You on a Cruise” and “Rest My Chemistry,” are high on my list. Thanks for asking!


~ by megwilhoite on November 16, 2007.

4 Responses to “Thoughts on the NARC remix by Paul Banks”

  1. I’d love an analysis on Take You on A Cruise.


    Also i’d love to read your theses on Narc etc. Is there an easy way for me to give you my e-mail address without posting it unnecessarily on the internet.

    thanks Meg.


  2. thats really great, cause narc is one of my favorite songs that I play over and over again on my guitar, even made several remixes and improvisations myself. Go on and keep us updated.

  3. I am also looking forward to your take on TYOAC. It’s a masterpiece.

  4. […] temporary diversion from the “norm” for the song heard in these seconds reminds me of the “fantasy” section I wrote about in my NARC paper, in which a section of the song (like “Pioneer,” found about three-quarter’s […]

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