Some Challengers Talkin’

So……We've been working hard on all the extra tracks for the BEGN/Executive Edition of Challengers, the new album by my band The New Pornographers. Let me tell you about them. They are sounding really good I think. I'm kind of bummed that they didn't make the album but they will be available to all the people who splurge on the Exec. Edition. They are:

Silent Systems: This one was troubling me as a demo but then we decided that we should give it a Fleetwood Mac "Second Hand News" feel, and it fell together nicely.

The Speed Of Luxury: Scott Walker sang about luxuriating like planets in one verse from "The Girls From The Streets" and this entire song is about luxuriating like a planet. That is its literal meaning, it doesn't go any deeper really. This song is for the people who think that there aren't enough "rock" songs on Challengers. When we were working on it, Blaine suggested that it be the first song on the album, but it sadly ended up getting cut. It DOES pain me that we had to leave these songs off the record. I really like all of them. It's just not right, though, to put out a 65 minute long record. That is the kind of excess that is killing our society. Killing music. And yet, 4 CD Executive Editions are totally right-on. Because that is a choice.

Fortune: It was a shocker when this one ended up getting cut, like when Melinda Doolittle got voted off AI. This song is about my old neighborhood, Carroll Gardens, and the girl that I fell in love with there, much like the songs Challengers, Unguided and Go Places. Actually the song starts off in Greenwood Cemetery and then ends up in Carroll Gardens. Same difference.

Fugue State: As we mixed this, Josh said that it reminded him of Love. Nice of him to say, since they are my favorite band ever, but I don't believe it. I'm not sure how to describe Fugue State which is probably a good thing. Probably, I said.

Go Places (alternate mix): Usually I think alternate mixes are bullshit but I really like this one. It strips the song down to just the pretty instruments, no drums, bass or electric guitar, to a very nice effect I think. It's a little more reverbed out. If someone told me that they liked this version better, I would say "You have a valid opinion there."

I really want to add a few more extra songs for the Exec. Edition, but I can't talk out loud about them right now. I have to convince the band to learn and record them first. Yes, it's weird that the album is already available as a stream, and that I am still thinking about what songs to put on the Exec. Ed., but those are the times that we live in. Just know that we're trying to make your Challengers experience as pleasant as possible, and that this album, like your heart, is an open book.

Now I have to practice with the New Ps, then we fly to London for three club shows and Glastonbury, and we're also going to play a couple of songs at David Cross, Todd Barry and Eugene Mirman's comedy night at the 100 Club. Basically the London version of Tinkle. Tinkle, the comedy show. Both the Sex Pistols AND The Stingrays played the 100 Club. The Stingrays ruled. You should all go buy whatever Stingrays records that you can find. There is a CD retrospective called "From The Kitchen Sink" that is quite awesome. Do not be fooled by the other shitty bands that have called themselves The Stingrays. Only one of them ruled. Should be a fun little UK vacation.

You know who else was awesome? Opal. And Francoise Hardy.

That is all.

8 thoughts on “Some Challengers Talkin’”

  1. Carl is the man. This is a phenomenal record. I don’t know if “Unguided” earns all of its six-plus minutes, but, y’know, small quibbles. “Myriad Harbor” is brilliant. Dan is the man, too. And Neko would be the man, if she were a man, and thank Christ she’s not. I think I’m in love with “Go Places.” Oh yes. Very good work.

  2. Kathryn is also the man. Adventures in Solitude is the best thing on Challengers, and rivalling Bleeding Heart Show for my favourite song from the last two albums.

    I suspect there’s going to be a lot more comments like bvkevin’s. I felt that way the first time I heard “My Rights…”. By the third listen, I was totally hooked. I had exactly the same reaction to most of the other songs on the album, but I already prefer Challengers to Twin Cinema.

    But people will certainly complain that it’s not Mass Romantic/Electric Versiony enough. And yet, the weakest track on the album (by a long way) is clearly the one designed to be a sop to the traditionalists. I’d have much preferred it if ATTTGTMHAE had been left off the record, to be honest.

    But that’s the only serious complaint. The rest of it is wonderful. It’s not what many fans will WANT from a New Pornographers album, (i.e. more of the same) but that’s not a criticism, just an illustration of what fans are like.

    Really looking forward to the “Executive” material. I may even wear a tie to listen to it 🙂

    Many thanks, New Pornographers! See you at 93 Feet East on Wednesday.

  3. Upon first hearing “My Rights vs. Yours” I admit I thought it was drastically different and would take some getting used to. That was three weeks ago and since then the song has burned a permanent groove in my brain, just like the NP songs of yore. The same thing happened with the first listen of the new album – I debated if it measured up to Twin Cinema. But you can’t prevent great songs from getting under your skin, and once again these guys prove they are the guinea worms of contemporary song crafters. Each day a different Challengers track rotates as my favorite, and, while I agree with dermoth that the “traditional” songs don’t sound as fresh, I still love “All Of The Things That Go To Make Heaven And Earth” and think it’s great on the album.
    The Executive Edition seems like a great deal and I’m looking forward to bonus stuff and hope the advance ticket feature assures my wife and I a spot at (I assume) the 9:30 Club come this fall. How about throwing the old B-sides on there as well, since I have yet to find a studio version of “Graceland” anywhere?

  4. I WAS SO FRIGGIN’ WRONG!!!!!! (please IGNORE or delete previous post!)

    After having it with me for a few weeks now – I LOVE THE NEW CD!!!!! – AND IT IS BECAUSE GREAT SONGS ARE GREAT SONGS AND THEY WILL BURN INTO YOUR SOUL!!!!

    Also love the

    BEAUTIFUL STUFF (and when I really wanna rock out – I will play Twin Cinemas – ONLY LOUDER!)

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