The Libertines will always have a special place in my heart. Their first two albums were a key part of the soundtrack to my early twenties. Today looking back on this work I still find something that is missing from a lot of modern main stream rock music, It sacrificed production polish to keep a raw live sound.
This is something that since Punk has been lacking from rock music and it’s no surprise that The Clash guitarist Mick Jones was producer on their first two albums. What you loose in sound perfection is more than made up for in the energy of the recordings. You can hear that this is a band playing together and it connects you as a listener to something real. It sounds like you are in the room with the band recording together rather than in some virtual space unconnected from reality and with that comes a connection that is lost on a lot of more modern production.
That connection has always been prominent in The Libertines from the beginning. Both in live shows and on record. They had a fascinating shambolic lifestyle that was reflected in their music and their lyrics which is exemplified in Music When The Lights Go Out.
The self titled album this track came from can be seen as a break up album for the band and only got toured briefly before they split up. And this track perfectly summarises the tumultuous feelings in the band at the time with an honesty and fragility that still resonates to this day: