This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song #500 and going until I reach Song #1. When you see the song title listed as something like: Song #XXX (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song #xxx (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #486: P.D.A. by Interpol
I have to begin by saying that I am pleased with the reaction I am getting to these music posts so far. As a writer, it is always a pleasure to hear back from those who are reading my work. Interactivity is a key component to what I am doing and I want to give everyone a huge shout-out for your contributions to this endeavour. It means a lot to know that what I write has some meaning for you, too. So, thank you, everyone.
Music is my preferred vehicle for storytelling. When the world seems too busy and I wish to escape into the comfort of my own thoughts, my tendency is to reach for my headphones, block out the extraneous noise from the outside world and allow the void to fill with the words, melodies and ideas found in song. The songs I listen to most are those with a story to share. I am grateful to all of the musical artists I listen to for building whole worlds out of mere notes and words. Today’s group and song fall into this category.
Interpol is a worldwide police agency but, it is , also, the name of a band that was formed in NYC just after Y2K. Along with contemporaries like The Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol burst on to the Indie scene in New York with their debut single called, “PDA”. As you may or may not know, PDA stands for public displays of affection. What would we do if musicians weren’t allowed to write songs about relationships? Luckily, the pursuit of love and sex and companionship is fairly universal across cultures so there is no shortage of good material out there. Sometimes, in these songs there is a “happily ever after” and sometimes the opposite is true. Such is life. Such are songs.
“PDA” was written about a breakup. Specifically, it is about that moment when one partner comes to realize that what initially attracted them to their current partner really isn’t enough to sustain the relationship any further. What makes “PDA” stand out from the legion of similarly-themed songs is the storytelling skill involved. There is an equal measure of sadness and relief and disgust all incorporated in a song that encourages one partner to sleep in “200 beds” if she wants because the singer’s feelings have grown cold to the point of numbness. The musical structure reminds me of bands such as Joy Division, with the staccato-style guitars interwoven into the tapestry of their sound. The song plays fast but, the story it tells unfolds in subtle phrasings that require some concentration to fully appreciate their implications.
While not the most well-known band in the world, Interpol has, none-the-less, sold over two million albums over the course of a career. They may be a band that can best be described as having a “cult following”. But, as I always maintain, a well-crafted story as told in song is a gift to be treasured. Consequently, any artist with the ability to create a well-crafted story through song, is an artist worth knowing. With that having been said, here is “PDA” by Interpol. Enjoy. *PS: The intro to this live version of PDA goes on until approx. 1:15 and then the band launches into the song at that point.
Interpol have a wicked website that is well-worth checking out. The link to their website can be found here.
Thanks KEXP for helping to inspire me to create today’s post. The link to their website can be found here.
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