The Rat – The Walkmen

The fury in this tune once worked for me as a piece of pure catharsis.

I was on my second year of marriage and my third work placement in eight months when the boss called me into his office. The company I was working for for the last 10 weeks had just lost their biggest contract. That meant their order book would decrease by 60% almost immediately. We were a small firm and I’d just recently been hired to help build up the manufacturing arm as they moved towards their planned growth.

Boss Man was sorry, but I was the first permanent new hire in five years. And the growth plan had just gone up in smoke. They’d pay me to the end of the week but that was it. For the third time in that calendar year I’d have to go home to my new(-ish) Wife and tell her I was out of work.

I headed out to my car with the customary cardboard box of personal possessions and looked at the three CD’s sitting there on the passenger seat. Velvet Revolver’s Contraband, Franz Ferdinand’s debut album or The Walkmen. I turned the key, slipped Bows and Arrows into the car stereo and pulled out of the industrial estate the factory sat on.

After the customary lengthy disc search the P.O.S stereo put me through every time I changed discs on it, the machine found the disc. ‘Whirrr whirrr whirr’ then… Track one. As I headed down the avenue that relentless guitar rang out. By the time I was on the slip road to the dual carriageway the vocals were spitting out of the Cavalier’s speakers

“You’ve got a nerve to be calling my number, you’ve got a nerve to be asking a favour”

While the lyrics did not directly reflect or reference my exact situation, the venom, the bile and the fury seemed and ideal mood cloud of my impending state of mind.

How the hell did this keep happening? What the hell did I have to do to get a role in a business that could pay it’s staff every month? How the hell was I going to explain to Mrs ForTheDeaf we were back on the rocks so soon?

“I know we’ve been through this before, can’t you hear me, I’m calling out your name Can’t you see me, I’m pounding on your door?”

I raged along the road for the length of the song. Hollering my throat until sore. Then I turned around at the next exit and went back to the town my old job was in. With my blood up and a head full of righteous indignation I went to see the same agency that had put me in the current role 10 weeks earlier.

We had a great meeting about a position that had just come up. One where they’d thought of me and my CV and wished they hadn’t just placed me somewhere else.

I ended up in a better job which lasted me almost 5 years. I’m not saying it was The Walkmen that did it. But I am saying hollering with rage can help you clear your head.

The rest of Bows and Arrows I can take or leave these days. But The Rat. That looms large in my legend.


7 thoughts on “The Rat – The Walkmen

  1. Man. I can relate to this. I would sing that one real loud myself to let off steam or whatever. Love it. They captured lightning in a bottle with this one. I don’t think I’ve experienced anything as visceral as that tune live either. Crowd caught up in it and that Hamilton chap tearing it up.

    I don’t listen to the album much myself anymore, but I absolutely love visiting Lisbon. That album is quite brilliant. In fact, their last three albums are exceptional. In my opinion, of course.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Definitely worth checking out. It’s all a bit more balanced and measured, I guess. Hamilton’s solo album is good, too – you got me revisiting that one.

        Liked by 1 person

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