The Rapture: House of Jealous Lovers
The Rapture’s Echoes might’ve disappointed a lot of people, but listening to “House of Jealous Lovers,” it occurs to me that no one could’ve had their expectations totally met with this song as the lead single. And put in the center of the album—the exact midpoint, in fact, with this part of the song approximately dividing the album perfectly in half—the point becomes ever clearer. The whole album leads up to it and then falls back from it. It’s the apex of The Rapture’s career. They’ll never top or even meet this again.
Much as I love the well-hyped discopunk scene of the last couple years, I think that The Rapture are the only ones of the class of ’03 that really are true discopunk. Electric 6 is glam nonesense, !!! are more or less a funk band, LCD Soundsystem is something else entirely (but you can’t have punk with no guitars!). Even Radio 4 and The Liars were basically just punk groups who happened to know how to get down. The Rapture are the only one who split exactly down the middle, especially on this song—the exact perfect balance between punk and disco, a glorious middle ground.
So now I’m dancing. I have to dance to this song. There’s no way not to. Maybe it has something to do with the indie politics of dancing, but I don’t think so. Maybe it’s because the punk half gives the disco half enough cred that I think its OK to dance to it, but I don’t think so. Being at a Rapture concert wasn’t as much of a hipster dancing bonding point as I expected—only a handful of people were really getting into it. Maybe it’s not as disgustingly trendy as some people want to make it out to be.
Four guys, all playing their instruments as if they were leads. It doesn’t work very often, but goddamn does it work here. Nobody’s been able to pull this off so well since Joy Division. And they didn’t even have a cowbell.
The cowbell. It’s not a joke anymore, it’s an instrument, and that’s in large part due to these bands. “Yeah,” “Mr. You’re on Fire Mr.,” “Me and Giuliani Down By the Schoolyard”—the success of these songs is as tied to their use of the cowbell as with any other instrument in the band. None more true than with “House,” though—it’s as clumsily passionate as Bobby Gillespie hammering on the drums on Psychocandy, or Paul Westerberg shrieking his way through Let it Be, or The Ramones making total messes out of their guitars on the first album. And it keeps on getting louder. And harder. And faster. And louder.
I’m dancing harder than I ever have before in my life. Does that make me an indie fuck, that I enjoy dancing to this more than “real” dance music? No. It doesn’t matter who says it’s OK to like it, this is still as “real” as any other dance music out there. This is one of the greatest dance songs of all-time. This is it.
Gang of Four. Duran Duran. Happy Mondays. Public Image Ltd. Yeah, they’re all there. Reference points don’t even matter, though. Anybody who says that The Rapture is nothing more than a rip-off band must be too jaded to be excited by music anymore. This is music for right now and not any other point in history. This is music for me. This is my band. This is my song.
OH MY FUCKING GOD IS THAT COWBELL EVER GOING TO STOP?!?!?!!