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The Libertines – The Libertines (2004)

September 27, 2017

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Magnificent logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

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[Album 569/1001]

“The T-shirt is everything.”
– Jason Lee, as the lead singer in the film Almost Famous

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When I visited Camden Market in 2004, I giddily stocked up on band Ts that were unavailable in Canada.

Alas, I didn’t become a fan of The Libertines until 2005.

But I thought, who knows, maybe they’ll have a Libertines shirt at the local mall music store.

I ask the store employee, “do you have any Libertines t-shirts?”

The reply: “do you mean Silverstein?”

I think that was her way of saying no.

But I found it quite amusing that someone would go to a store to purchase a band t-shirt for a group name that they couldn’t quite remember!

The t-shirt is everything, even if you can’t remember the band name you seek.

So after striking out at the mall, I made my first ever online clothing purchase.

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Ryans24Bday 021Celebrating my friend Ryan’s birthday in 2006

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Bonus marks if you can name ‘the other guys‘ in The Libertines.

They’re potentially my favourite ‘new’ band (with the qualifier ‘new’ meaning the debut album was released after the year 2000).

That being said, apparently I’m not the well-read superfan of groups that I once was.

In this case, I might have gotten the drummer’s first name, but that’s about it.

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P1010435

Chatting with Holly in 2010

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Perhaps I can be forgiven for not being more informed about the drummer & bassist here.

At least in Almost Famous, the other band members may have been relegated to the background (and out of focus), but they were still in the picture.220px-Libertines-album.jpg

With The Libertines, the rhythm section is nowhere in sight (and I imagine they were similarly banished from this album’s accompanying t-shirts).

But fortunately for us, the listeners, the t-shirt wasn’t everything to the rhythm section.

Despite the lack of recognition, each certainly makes valuable contributions to The Libertines, specifically on The Libertines.

So my sincere congratulations if you remembered the other Boys in the Band, Gary Powell & John Hassall.

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P1090084

Multitasking with Becca in 2014

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Instead, it’s clear from the cover, this would be the Carl Barât and Pete Doherty show.

Not being from the UK, I was likely fortunate to have missed out on most of the hype surrounding the group (not to mention the off-stage shenanigans).

But as a sucker for the dual lead singer format, regardless of how poorly they work together in person, these likely lads sound terrific together here.

When singing independently, each is in fine form; Music When the Lights Go Out is among Doherty’s stronger compositions & Barât’s tip of the hat to Dorian Gray, Narcissist, is as toe-tapping as it gets.

Although it’s perhaps the jointly sung bookends, with the call & response vocals, that are the most revealing and as a result, the most significant.

Can’t Stand Me Now opens the album, musically upbeat, but lyrically grim, acknowledging the current, less-than-optimal, state of the Barât/Doherty relationship.

The closer, What Became of the Likely Lads, summarizes their unfulfilled potential, “what became of the dreams we had…now we’ll never know”

And in my case, what became of the likely T-shirt?

Well, it’s hanging on.

But maybe not holding up quite as well as the music does here.

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Having a quick staring contest with Rachel in 2017

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Verbalize the Positive

Happy belated birthday to my friend Ryan Lang, who I can only assume was the inspiration for the What Katie Did lyric on this album, “shoop-shoop-shoop-de-Lang-a-Lang!”

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From → 2000s

20 Comments
  1. One of my all time favourite bands. I listened to this album 33 times in a row with no other cds interrupting it when it first came out. I used to cover to of their songs when I was a teenager and Gary is one of my favourite drummer ever. Posters on my wall for years. Listening to every little demo and b side and ‘session.’ On all the fan websites and forums at the time.

    I had tickets to see em live this month but the venue cancelled the gig on me until December 😦

    I saw Babyshambles live but its not the same.

    • A fine choice for an all timer Jimmy!
      It’s funny, I’ve heard this album dozens of times (maybe not 33 in a row!) but this was the first time I’d paid much attention to the drums. Especially on tunes like the last post on the bugle, the drums drive the track!

      • He’s such a good drummer, like on live bootlegs where he adds in drum solos and extra double kick drums and stuff onto tracks.

  2. Gotta love those T shirt rock pics taken with the kids!
    Awesome!
    I do it all the time with the girls and I’m almost 50! hahaha

    • Cheers Deke! It’s been funny looking back at photos as the kids age. My rock Ts that looked new when the girls were born are starting to fade and get holes as the girls age!

  3. Verbalize The Positive:
    I love the band T-shirt pics.

  4. Really not a fan of this album. It’s a big bowl of “meh” to me

    • Not to worry Andy – I think it’s appeared on more than one ‘most overrated’ album lists, so I imagine you’re not alone!

  5. I love how faded the t-shirt’s gotten over the years!

    • It was an eye opener for me seeing that 2006 photo – wow, that’s what the shirt once looked like!

  6. jprobichaud permalink

    1. Looking at your band T photos made me nostalgic for my collection of concert T-shirts that have all now sadly been worn through and thrown out.
    2. The Libertines never stuck with me when I first checked them out but your post has me thinking about giving them another go.
    3. Great post!

    • 1. I have trouble throwing out the band Ts – usually they’ll get relegated to the ‘paint clothes’ box, it’s only in severe cases (my Smiths Meat is Murder was basically more holes than shirt) where I finally admit defeat and toss them!
      2. They’ll never be accused of being a polished band but I think the sloppiness, especially during the interplay of the guitar parts, works well for them.
      3. My thanks JP!

  7. You summed it up in the opener and closing tracks Geoff. They had all the potential in the world, but knew they were never going to be around long enough to fulfill it.

    • Cheers Geoff – did you ever explore their post-Libertines projects (Dirty Pretty Things &/or Babyshambles)? Both good, at times very good, especially Babyshambles Shotter’s Nation, but there was a synergy here between the 2 singers that I think is missing on them

      • Exactly! Dirty Pretty Things were okay too, but that dual dynamic was definitely missing.

  8. Great post Geoff, love the t-shirt pics with all the kids.

    As you know I got this CD at work a while back. I gave it a cursory listen during a workout and my overriding thought was ‘this sounds like the Strokes. Maybe a bit of Jet.” Which is probably completely unfair to all involved and so (thanks to this post) I intend to give it another spin with the good headphones on and zero distractions (like weights trying to crush my chest if I don’t push them off me!). That ought to give me a better impression!

    • My thanks Aaron!
      I don’t think the comparison’s entirely unfair (they’re not dissimilar), I just prefer these guys!

  9. Man, I love seeing the T-Shirt and how it’s been part of important moments over the years… made me nostalgic about My own Ts and what they’ve been through!

    As for the band, being in the UK, the hype was unavoidable and it didn’t help that I just didn’t really dig them.

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