I remember a time when you’d search ‘The Walkmen’ on Google and become a fountain of knowledge on them. Did you know that since 1979, over 220 million units had been sold worldwide until the discontinuation occurred in 2010? Google had obviously assumed that I had meant to type ‘The Walkman’, Sony’s very popular portable cassette player.
Times have now changed and even when you do search ‘The Walkman’, you start to discover the brilliant music on offer from the New York five-piece. Despite around 4,490,000 search results, the band still don’t seem to be that well-known this side of the pond. (Unless your name’s Guy Garvey. Elbow’s lead singer has often spoken of his love of the band). Since the bands formation in 2000, they’ve released 7 studio albums. All of which showcase their talent, determination and hard work and I certainly can’t wait to see what they come out with on their eighth album. I absolutely love this band and really hope I manage to fulfil my wish of seeing them live soon. The really annoying thing is, the band once played to a handful of people at the Duke of Wellington pub in Lincoln years ago. It was probably during a time where I was listening to Steps, S Club 7 and Gina G but I’ve matured my musical tastes now so if any members of the band are reading this (doubtful), can you please return to Lincoln? Thank you.
Here’s 10 songs to kick-start your new-found appreciation for The Walkmen…
1. The Rat – From 2004’s Bows & Arrows. If you were to know one song by The Walkmen, I’m willing to bet a lot of money that it’s this one. With passion fuelled lyrics such as “You’ve got a nerve to be asking a favour, you’ve got a nerve to be calling my number” on top of one of the best drumbeat’s around. Accompanied by some perfectly compiled guitar riffs, this is a song for all occasions.
2. New Year’s Eve – From 2004’s Bows & Arrows. One of The Walkmen’s slower songs, the power and emotion in Hamilton Leithauser’s voice guides the piano heavy track along nicely.
3. Subterranean Homesick Blues (Bob Dylan Cover) – From 2006’s Pussy Cats featuring The Walkmen. This is one of my favourite Bob Dylan songs so it was obviously a delight when one of my favourite bands covered this on their very unique 2006 album. The album is a song by song cover of Harry Nilsson’s 1974 album, Pussy Cats which was produced by John Lennon.
4. Juveniles – From 2010’s Lisbon. In a pensive mood? Fancy just chilling out whilst listening to some songs? Make sure this is on your playlist.
5. In The New Year – From 2008’s You & Me. Yet another song about New Year! This time, the song tells the story of one of the strongest emotions we can experience, love.
6. Four Provinces – From 2008’s You & Me. This is lyrically, an amazing song. It features some of my favourite lyrics from The Walkmen’s large back catalogue. “Hey you, am I getting through? The candles in your eyes still burn”.
7. While I Shovel The Snow – From 2010’s Lisbon. Add this on to that chill out playlist I mentioned with track 4.
8. Emma, Get Me A Lemon – From 2006’s A Hundred Miles Off. A very weird choice of song title but don’t let that put you off this fantastic song which features a great build up to one of the best songs on this album.
9. Heaven – From 2012’s Heaven. Title track on the album is nothing but pure brilliance. Textbook The Walkmen with an added up-tempo beat.
10. What’s In It For Me – From 2004’s Bows & Arrows. What’s in it for me? may be the question on the bands lips in this song but I can answer what’s in it for you. Yet another textbook track by The Walkmen. Even more powerful vocals, guitar riffs and a real message emanating throughout.
Words by Robert Smith (@robertmsmith)