The Libertines’ New Track ‘Glasgow Coma Scale Blues’ Is Their Most Starkly Autobiographical Song Ever

Much of The Libertines’ comeback album ‘Anthems For Doomed Youth’ sounds like they’ve moved on from where they were in 2004. But ‘Glasgow Coma Scale Blues’ – one of two new tracks the band have shared today – could fit easily on that year’s self-titled second album.

In the verses, it’s pure ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’. Pete Doherty and Carl Barat trade barbed lines like “You think it’s easy with a best friend who deceives me?” and “Yeah I see you – in fact I’m looking straight through you” like they’re spoiling for a fight. The deception Pete sings of is presumably Carl, bassist John Hassall and drummer Gary Powell continuing on with the band’s engagements once he’d been kicked out of the group.

Later, Carl sings wryly, “The only thing that kept it going on was lust for companionship, whiskey and song/How could it go wrong?”. A beat later, and there’s a sarcastic sneer to acknowledge the naivety of that line: “Seriously?!

When the chorus hits, a torrid thrash of scratchy guitars followed by a helter-skelter solo, it’s like an update of ‘What Became Of The Likely Lads?’ This time, though, they’re questioning their feelings: “What happened of the joy in the hearts of the boys/At the start of the part of the scene?” There’s a far more dramatic reference to dreams faling about than that in ‘…Likely Lads’’ chorus, too, Pete and Carl noting a “dream shared and pulled apart/One dream broken by two Libertines.” They seem to be sharing the blame for their demise this time round, rather than pointing the finger, and maybe that’s the key to the positivity surrounding their reunion.