Revised: NARC Analysis (Part 3)

Happy New Year, everyone!  Here’s Part 3:

Verse 2:

However, the original guitar hook returns in m. 45, and the protagonist regains his footing as he returns to his robotic demands.  In the secure, static sonic world of the hook and B aeolian, he tells his lover exactly how she should treat him, declaring that her “history’s like fire from a busted gun,” i.e. her past experiences and knowledge have as much effect as a bullet from a broken gun; only he knows the right way to proceed.

Pre-Chorus 2 and Chorus 2:

The drama intensifies once more as the bass pulls the music back to B phrygian (m. 61), but is cut four bars short this time, returning to the chorus after the demand “don’t give up your lover tonight.”  The chorus returns and brings back with it harmonic ambiguity and cryptic statements in the lyrics.  This time, however, the desperate confusion of the end of the chorus shifts abruptly into the bridge.


Here the guitars move the song into a new world with an E-minor hook on beats 2 and 4.  The bass re-enters in m. 84 and establishes E aeolian.  This is in preparation for Verse 3, whose lyrics seem to indicate that the protagonist and his lover are finally making physical contact.  Four bars before the vocals come in, the rhythm guitar plays a swirling 4-note repeated pattern that gradually pans from the left channel in m. 89 all the way to the right channel in m. 92.  The movement of this pattern from ear to ear is slightly disorienting, and this disoriented feeling is further highlighted by the synth sound in mm. 91-92.

Until next time,


~ by megwilhoite on January 4, 2010.

3 Responses to “Revised: NARC Analysis (Part 3)”

  1. Hi Meghann, thanks for the in-depth look at Narc. Definitely one of my favorites off Antics. Have you heard any news about their next studio album?

  2. Hi, I enjoy reading these reviews and analyses 🙂

    Just my two cents: you seem to be considering that the instrumental part of Interpol songs is “highlighting” Paul Banks’ lyrics. However I heard many times the band saying that the lyrics came after all the guitar, drums, bass and keys work. Somehow the lyrics would come and fit the instrumentation that is already there, of course with some fixes to make it sound more cohesive, not the contrary.

    Thanks again for your work 🙂

    • Yes, since writing that post, I’ve heard that, too! Someday I’ll rework my analysis to reverse it: *Paul* was reacting to the *music* with his lyrics (which I find fascinating!) 🙂

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