“But if you’ve lost your faith in love and music the end wont be long/ because if it’s gone for you then I too may lose it and that would be wrong.”
– The Libertines, “The Good Old Days”
The Libertines’ “The Good Old Days” captures the running theme that one can hear throughout all of The Libertines’ songs-living for the moment. Just like another popular and influential UK band, The Stone Roses, sang on their very own debut album, “The past was yours/ but the future’s mine/ you’re all out of time.”
The Libertines gladly took over where The Roses left off, in spirit more so than in sound, and where Oasis mostly failed. Pete Doherty and Carl Barât created mainstream music that was layered with not only the post modern British rock styling’s so missing from the UK scene, but they had the magic ingredient-the substance and underground flavor that lifted The Libertines to automatic iconic status. The Libertines didn’t care about fame they played for the love of the music.
“The Good Old Days”‘ message is simple, the music of the past was prologue, and we, as The Libertines, are here to write the new, to create the music that will change the world. The Libertines were that band. As it is, Doherty and Barât were making quite an impact on the state of modern rock when they disbanded a few years ago. They were the last white hope to save rock and roll. You can hear it in this song. “And it chars my heart to always hear you calling/ calling for the good old days/because there were no good old days/ these are the good old days.”
That line reminds me of the old-timers whiling away in pubs, wishing for the glory of the past. But what The Libertines are really singing about is the splendor and brilliance of today. The band practiced what they preached by living for the moment, for better or for worse, as we know have learned and it is captured so brilliantly in this one timeless song.
The Libertines’ musical sentiment for tearing up the past by exploring the beauty of the present is one of the reason, to this day I hold this band close to my heart. They refused to be just another Brit Pop band. They came and they conquered. Their lyrics and music spoke to us. The Libertines serenaded us. Everyone-rich, poor, men and women everywhere in the world could relate to The Libertines, just as they could relate to our struggles, our highs and lows-The Libertines were you and me.
Just listen; The Libertines were not just another UK band that rocked for the sake of rocking. There are layers throughout “The Good Old Days.” The song starts soft, with Carl’s hushed vocal, before kicking in with that amazing guitar riff and the harmonies. They were the masters of capturing the sound, loud and lovely. The sweetness of the introduction merges into a ferocious finale where the band kicks it into gear along with their eloquent harmonies. The banging of the drums and the building of the guitars in dramatic unison announce the coming and arrival of The Libertines.
It’s a shame that the legacy of one of my favorite bands ended before fulfilling the promise as felt in songs like “The Good Old Days.” The band had the mantle in their sights and just as soon as they appeared, they quickly disbanded, but are not forgotten. The Libertines had the lyrical eloquence of The Smiths matched with the artistic intensity of The Clash. Who will pick up the torch and rewrite the rules like The Libertines? I suppose only time well tell.
Will Doherty and Barât even live up to the pride they created as The Libertines in their later projects? That my friend is the ironic thing; many fans want to go back and relive the glory and the wishful days when Albion, Doherty’s dream of utopian Britain, was still alive and in the sights and sounds of their beloved Libertines.
Until then, we can always hear their brilliance and promise over and over again, falling in love with The Libertines music that still touches us and remind us that these, indeed, are the good old days.