Tracks of the Decade: “NYC” by Interpol

interpol_hattem_1“NYC”
by Interpol
from TURN ON THE BRIGHT LIGHTS (2002)

With New York City increasingly figuring as the all-encompassing and transcendent symbol of the modern world, it seems truly appropriate that the best song about the City of Man this decade was not Ryan Adams’ bouncy city-as-girl ode “New York, New York” but Interpol’s wounded hymn “NYC.” The Shelleyian aesthetic lumbers awkwardly forward in the swirling, echo-laden guitars and in Paul Banks’ paranoid croon, the atmosphere created serving to bring to life the nature of the city that never sleeps. Lyrically and melodically, it hints at the urban-lonesome work of Simon & Garfunkel songs like “The Boxer” and, appropriately, “The Only Living Boy in New York.” Banks sounds decisively lost in a world that is simultaneously spell-binding and terrifying. It’s as if Gershwin’s musical kaleidoscope has devolved into cold black and white hues. “New York cares” Banks howls. But for whom?