When I started this series, I wrote down ~25 songs that I thought would be good to write about. As time went on, I threw some ideas out while some appeared spontaneously. With only a few posts left, I started to run out of songs that I had a lot of thoughts attached to. A few days ago I asked Quinn for a song suggestion, and he requested an Interpol tune. I thought it would be a fun challenge to start with a somewhat unfamiliar song and work backwards so, here we go.
Along with bands like the Strokes, Interpol is one of the fore-fathers of the early indie rock scene of NYC. They signed with Matador records (the label which served as the launchpad for some other artists in this series; Julien Baker, Modest Mouse, in 2002.
Interpol has a distinctly dark and brooding flavor to their music, and their album art is no more up-lifting. When Quinn requested Interpol, I knew exactly which track I could wedge a portion of my recent thoughts and observations into.
All The Rage Back Home is sung from the perspective of someone who is feeling pushed into a commitment by expectation; expectation of his partner and of his culture. We aren’t told exactly what kind of commitment his partner wants from him, but I think it’s reasonable to assume that it’s marriage. The singer sees all of his friends and family getting married, sees his partner enthusiasm for the idea, but for some reason can’t find the same enthusiasm within himself.
The straight-rhythms, consistently edgy bass, and soaring, tremolo-picked guitars are part of Interpol’s trademark sound. The song expresses a feeling that borders panic and frustration with self.
Is there something wrong with me? Why aren’t my feelings falling in line?
To me, the phrase All The Rage Back Home denotes that the singer is feeling pressured by friends, family, and societal norms to feel or behave in a certain way. In the way that everyone else does. Adhere to the formula.
One thing I’ve observed about my own behavior is that the more I learn about my own motivations, the more I realize how complicated they are. I think I’m pursuing something for one reason, but later start to see more subversive factors that were shaded under the blanket of surface generalities. I’ve learned a lot about the dangers of making choices based on winning the approval of others; that is to say, it’s dangerous if you’re unaware of it. I think it’s a good lesson, but I now find myself constantly calling what appear to be my motivators into question.
I’m not saying that anyone should stop being kind to those around them or encouraging anyone to abandon the pursuit of friendship. But, I think there’s a pretty fine line between acting in the interest of a relationship and acting in the interest of attempting to simply win someone’s approval. The desire of approval from other people is another one of those bottomless pits; one that I believe only yields feelings of inadequacy.