Here’s a transcription I made of the beginning of “Next Exit” that I completely forgot about.
I remember I made this transcription in 2007 as part of my proposal to write about Interpol’s music for my dissertation. A professor said that Interpol was too “underground” to serve as a dissertation topic; ironically, Interpol happened to be on the cover of Spin magazine that very week, a copy of which was on prominent display in the music library. Even more ironically, in that same professor’s class we’d been studying a rapper who was so “underground” that he’s now an accountant in Queens. Ah, academia.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m quite fond of Antics, though I know most Interpol fans dislike the album. Something about this opening song just really charms me. Here it was, 2004, two years after their first album, which had done incredibly well and established them in the media as “dark princes.” Well, I think all Interpol fans can agree that the media has never quite understood (nor really take the time to do so) Interpol’s music. True, there was something of the “dark prince” about their music, but it seemed to be the only aspect the media wanted to acknowledge (I applaud the band’s patience as they suffered through repeated comparisons to that other band [of whom I’m also a fan, for the record]).
So, with all these expectations of “darkness”, what do they use to open their second album? A lone, sustained C major chord, played with a Hammond B3-style setting on the synthesizer. What could be less “dark” than a C major chord (or a Hammond B3 for that matter)? And the song just stays squarely in C major throughout; Paul’s vocal line even has a jaunty little bounce to it. In a way, I hear Interpol’s use of C major in “Next Exit” as their way of thumbing their noses at all the people trying squeeze them into some kind of bleak-indie box.