From early days to OLTA

“I’d love to hear your thoughts on early stuff such as Precipitate and maybe their growth to now. –Josh”

– Before getting to Josh’s question, I’d like to briefly address the idea of musical form. Most songs are of course made up of verse and chorus (repeated cyclically: vs1-ch-vs2-ch, etc.), but with a band like Interpol, we hear a lot more sections in any particular song’s form than just verse and chorus. This in fact was one of the challenges for me in my NARC paper, what to call the individual sections of the song.

– Little did I realize at the time that NARC actually has a relatively (very relatively) simple song form when compared to many of Interpol’s songs. In particular NARC is fairly cyclical, in that the sections of the form re-cycle in the order in which they first appeared: verse 1, pre-chorus, chorus, verse 2, pre-chorus, chorus, after which point we get into less easy-to-designate territory (which I ended up for ease’s sake calling verse 3 and coda).

– Listening to early songs like “Precipitate” or “Specialist,” I’m struck by how “creative” I have to get in order to designate the sections of each song’s form, and also by how non-cyclical their forms are. “Precipitate” starts off with a version of the standard cyclical verse 1, chorus, verse 2, chorus, but this only takes up half of the song, the rest of which traverses on without repeating sections. This type of song form is one that we hear more often in Turn on the Bright Lights (“Stella,” and “The New,” for example) and in Our Love to Admire (“Pioneer to the Falls”) and less often in Antics, one of the reasons I’m guessing that some fans hear OLTA as a (often termed welcome) return to TOTBL.

– So, to answer Josh more directly: the preference of (please forgive me) “peregrinated” song forms over cyclical song forms is one of the ways that I hear Interpol’s earlier work as differentiated from Antics, and also one of the ways that I hear OLTA as harkening back to that earlier work. Even in Antics, however, Interpol’s songs stretch the norms of song form.

Thanks for the question, Josh. There’s a lot more to say on this, so I’ll be dedicating a few blogs in February to my findings on form and other musical parameters in songs from all of Interpol’s “eras.”

Until then,
Much love from,

P.S. Just to quickly answer this question from Ian:

“Did you discover the notes/chords on your own or did you use a “TAB”? –Ian”

– I transcribed the music into standard musical notation using the program Sibelius; I tried to be as true to what I heard as possible and managed to get the voice, guitars, bass, and keyboard down, but not the drums (haven’t quite learned how to do that yet, though I definitely want to include them in my transcriptions eventually). Once I get it turned into a PDF I’ll be making it available to any who’d like to see it. Thanks for the question!


~ by megwilhoite on January 29, 2008.

One Response to “From early days to OLTA”

  1. Thanks for answering my question!


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