Carl Barat’s Solo Album – In His Own Words

Carl Barat’s debut, self-titled album came out this week. It’s had a fairly rough ride, critically speaking, with our own Gavin Haynes giving it a 6/10 review.

But what do you make of the album? Post your thoughts below. Meanwhile, Carl Barat’s given us his own track-by-track explanation…

‘The Magus’
“I was going to call the album The Magus, but everyone kept asking me if I’d read the John Fowles book, and I haven’t. The Magus is basically like a soothsayer. It’s like the origin of magic itself and the song was kind of written from the perspective of living in occupied France. It’s like a religious song.”

Carl Barat

‘Je Regrette, Je Regrette’
“This is probably the lightest song on the album and it’s just kind of about women and relationships and, you know, just getting it all out there. It’s kind of tongue-in-cheek with a fair dose of salt. It’s lively. That all I have to say about that.”

‘She’s Something’
“It’s kind of ’60s, Scott Walker-y, but with a little bit of Ennio Morricone as well. Just playing with a load of rhythms. I worked on that with Findlay Brown, we wrote a few things together actually, but this is the only one we used.”

‘Carve My Name’
“This is definitely a departure from what I’ve done in the past. It’s all about soaring strings and melodies and it’s basically a confessional really, about a waster and a womaniser and whatnot. I don’t need to get all sad about it now, it’s all in the song.”

‘Run With The Boys’
“It’s basically closest to Dirty Pretty Things and Libertines in its subject matter. You know, it’s got that kind of bounce and shuffle. I think that’s the point where the music I used to make meets the music I do now.”

‘The Fall’
“This is the one that I did locked in Neil Hannon’s basement. It’s the story of the break-up of a love affair but it could be anything in your life that’s broken down and fallen apart. Started great, ended tragically.”

‘So Long, My Lover’
“An epic ballad sort of song which is a little bit Serge Gainsbourg and Leonard Cohen. I wanted to do a song with female backing vocals. Initially it started as a tragic break-up and again, I guess it’s some kind of catharsis.”

‘What Have I Done’
“I’m doffing my cap to a Velvet Underground hangover song on a Sunday morning when the sun comes up and the hangover’s not actually that bad. It’s got a kind of Belle & Sebastian melancholy to it as well, which is what I was after.”

‘Shadows Fall’
“It was a beyond-the-grave song that I wanted to write. I tried it in loads of different ways; I tried it with just white noise and fuzz but that went a bit artistic. Actually, it’s just slow, beautiful, and it’s got almost like a Portishead feeling.”

‘Ode To A Girl’
“I sampled a dramatic sound from A Clockwork Orange. Obviously, this wouldn’t have been possible without Andrew Wyatt. It’s a different kind of music for me really. It’s a celebration and about us all having some kind of light and inner beauty. At the end of the song, I sampled a baby’s heartbeat, so I’m going to end it there with the baby. It’s an uplifting ending.”

This article originally appeared in the September 25 issue of NME

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