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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 20 November 2004
At a first listen I thought this could never live up to 'Up the Bracket' - which had been my favourite album of all time. Now it's changed: when I'm happy 'Up the Bracket' is my favourite album, when I'm sad 'The Libertines' is.
The Libertines is heartbreaking if you know the story of Pete and Carl. It is a history of the libertines, songs that in demos used to be happy and uplifting such as "Music when the Lights go Out" and "What Katie Did" are tear-jerking, especially the former. The album makes me want to cry sometimes, but I've always thought that's a good thing in music. Anything that can evoke such a strong emotion in me is fantastic. 'Can't Stand me now' and 'What Became of the Likely Lads' are Pete and Carl's story, and 'The Saga' shows how Pete's drug addiction is spiralling out of control. He sings "i ain't got a problem - it's you with the problem!". The following track Road to Ruin is Carl's response to that, trying to make him see that "all you can be, is right here in your hands".
I highly recommend this album to anyone.
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on 23 August 2004
The first single from this album seemed to sum up the fractured state of the libertines as they appeared to be falling apart at the seams but this album would be a sad end if it were their last. Returning to what must be the most brutally honest production ever, the songs remain as vibrant and alive the fiftieth time you hear them. Even the initially dull "Don't be shy", which sounds like little more than a demo of a jam takes on a new life after repeated listens. "Music when the lights go out" is one of the most evocative "end of the night" songs I've ever played as a D.J. and there are storming rock 'n' roll chunks in the likes of "Tomblands" (particularly notable for what the Libs do best i.e. blur the lines between archaic music and lyrics and a cynical view of the state of the nation). It's not quite as punchy as the first but shows the first few steps towards progression. I only hope for us all that they continue to use the blueprint of Clash/Smiths and deliver on their potential. They have finally proven worthy of being more than just the london strokes and if Pete can make it through they could produce a canon of work to rival any English band.
Buy it, if only to encourage them to keep going.
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on 16 July 2004
On first listen I, like many other Libertines fans I feel, was slightly disapointed. Admittedly it's brilliance does not smack you in the face with the same velocity as their superb debut "Up the Bracket" did. However on repeated listens it is clear that this is a far more subtle and ultimately moving album.
While almost every track on "Up the bracket" brings a smile to your face and has you singing along (other than the bizarely bland radio america), tracks such as "Music when the lights go out", "What became of the likely lads" and the sublime "Can't stand me now" send a shiver down your spine.
The band have had a hard year with frontman Pete Doherty's problems being well documented, and the band are not afraid to shy away from topics such as this which many bands would prefer to sweep under the rug. The honesty exhibited in this album is enough to bring you to tears at some moments.
A minority of fans have complained that the general sound of the album is simply not the sound of the Libertines, but surely any band's aim should be to experiment and progress, rather stick with the same sound for 10 years A la Oasis. That said though there are still some tunes that would sound completely at home on "Up the Bracket", most notably "Arbeit Macht Frei", "The ha ha wall" and "Tomblands".
It was always going to be difficult to top arguably the best debut album ever. When the Libertines released "Up the Bracket" they set the bar for quality control impossibly high. In my humble opinion they have not quite managed to top their debut, but have shown that they are not a one trick pony and possess the talent, If Pete cleans up, to become the greatest band of all time.
To summarise this is destined to be a classic album and gets better every listen. The Albion is nearing its destination.
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on 11 July 2006
The Libertines prove they are possibly the best band of the 21st century. This album is inspiring. There is no other word for it. While often quieter than Up the Bracket, the Libertines is an album that you can listen to again and again, without tiring of it.

It starts with the modern classic `Can't Stand Me Now', a great song until you realise that it's about the band's troubled relationship, when it becomes a brilliant song. The lyrics are to the point yet full of emotion, and the harmonica solo at the end is inspired.

Another potential classic is `Music When the Lights Go Out', which is one of the finest acoustic songs I have ever heard. The song has a bittersweet, catchy tune and Barat's electric guitar accompaniment complements Doherty's strumming perfectly. This is followed by `Narcissist', which has a completely different upbeat cockney working class feel to it.

The album is concluded ironically with `What Became of the Likely Lads', a tale of forgiveness between the two frontmen, which could quite easily bring a tear to the eye of the knowledgeable music fan. It leaves you wondering whether they knew the end was soon.

An album unique, not just in its music, but in the heart and emotion which has been poured into it. In a world filled with sometimes seemingly pointless love songs, this album is a refreshing change that should be treasured.
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on 6 August 2004
That I have managed to give this album four stars is testament to the strength of the libertines true qualities. Pete Doherty and Carl Barat possess a rare and precious songwriting talent. Coupling sublime melodies with alternately witty and heartfelt lyrics the sound of the Libertines is infectious, it makes you wonder why everyone doesn't write songs this way.
A main factor in the band's sound is the love/hate dynamic between the two co-frontmen. Anyone who has seen the Libertines live will have witnessed the amazing energy the two have, when they are feeding off one another. The problem on their second album is that one part of the partnership is not pulling his weight, namely Pete Doherty. Having grown to love a lot of the songs on the album after hearing them live or in demo form, it was a massive disappointment when I first heard the album versions.
Doherty slurs his way through "Don't be shy", robbing it of the urgency that made it so appealing at first. "Music when the lights go out" was wonderful in demo form, mainly down to a 1940s-style cello part. On the album version this has been removed and the pace has been quickened, giving the song an anodyne feel. When I first heard "Can't stand me now" I thought it was the best thing they'd ever done, but the slapdash way in which it has been produced fails to portray the subtle changes in melody and the charm of the vocal sparring between Doherty and Barat. Why Mick Jones was given production duties rather than Bernard Butler, who presided over "What a waster" and "Don't look back into the sun" is beyond me.
The album is still leaps and bounds ahead of pretty much everything else around at the moment. You can still hear the quality at the core of the songs, even though the production and Doherty's unfortunate state of health have had a detrimental effect over the album as a whole. On a positive note, the album portrays the rise in confidence of Carl Barat. Primarily a guitarist on the first record, Barat really finds his voice on The Libertines. In the songs with both on vocals, Barat often seems to be carrying his friend. In fact most of the stand out songs on the album are fronted by Barat; the turbo-charged "narcissist" and the anthemic "road to ruin" to name but two.
The real high point, and the song that sums up the whole Libertines pantomime is the magnificent "What became of the likely lads?" Fittingly, perhaps,the question is rhetorical.
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on 7 August 2004
anyone who likes the more melodic style of the new album should know that this is pete's influence. I was delighted to hear more of an influence from the babyshambles work permeating the libertines new songs.
The album brought to life some of the fantastic songs (e.g. what katie did and especially the lively but haunting can't stand me now) of which I had only previously heard dodgy demos and bootlegs.
As a fan since early 2002 i think its brilliant that a band as troubled as the libertines can still kick out breathtaking music like this album.
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on 24 July 2004
This album grows on you everytime you listen to it and it is possibly even better than Up The Bracket! The Libertines have matured not only in their music but also as people since the release of their debut album. Cant Stand Me, their first single off the album is catchy and in the classic libertines style and it is about the spiky relationship between Peter and Carl ("You shut me out and you blamed it on the brown") which is what most of this album is about with songs such as Campaign of Hate, What Became of the Likely Lads and The Saga. What Katie Did is one of the catchiest pop tunes i have ever heard but it is full of heartache as it is based on a girl who got lost in drugs, which has lots of references in this album, as it did in Up the Bracket.
Im just glad that Pete and Carl managed to put their problems behind them to finish this amazing album!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 October 2013
The Libertines' self entitled second and final album was an excellent follow up to 'Up The Bracket', I'm still not sure if it is superior, despite being more successful, but it's definitely five star worthy.

The album instantly reached the top spot in the UK and contains the band's biggest hit 'Can't Stand Me Now' and their final single 'What Became of the Likely Lads'. There is quite a sadness to this album which the debut didn't really have, as most of the songs tell the story of the volatile relationship between the band's singer/guitarist front men Carl Barât and Pete Doherty. The lyrics are obviously then more heartfelt, some tracks have a much more melodic style, but a lot of the songs remain as catchy as ever, notably 'What Katie Did'.

'What Became Of The Likely Lads' is one of The Libertines' best songs, and the perfect way to close the album out. The track is most fitting, essentially it's a happy tune, upbeat and jolly, but when you concentrate on the lyrics, you'll realise how touching it is considering the back story. The nostalgic lyrics are filled with moments of bitterness and sadness, and refer to the breakdown of the friendship between Pete and Carl, and the subsequent collapse of The Libertines.

I think that this album was certainly a grower (for me at least), it was after all going to be hard to make an album of the same standard as the debut, but with 'The Libertines', I think they just about succeeded. Whilst it's a shame that only two albums were made, this influential band made some of the best indie music of the day, and started the whole revival of the British rock scene. A great achievement!
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'Up the Bracket' being the first. But this self-titled sequal is not far off. Another immense piece of work by the best band in the world. Once again, each song is drenched in passion, emotion and pure rock'n'roll. It really is a quite unbelievable piece of work, and is truly inspirational.

In comparison to 'Up the Bracket' this is a tiny bit slower, but that's not always a bad thing. And of course, it does contain one of the best songs of all time - 'Can't Stand Me Now'.

So, kicking off with 'Can't Stand Me Now'. What can I say? For those who have never heard this incredible song you need to hear this song before you die. Enough said.

'Last Post On The Bugle' is sort of soulful rock'n'roll. The drumming is top quality, and riff is unbelievably catchy.

'Don't Be Shy' is one of those songs that it seems the band just had fun with. Everthing is faultless and the lyrics are wonderfully quirky.

'The Man Who Would Be King' is the sequel to 'Tell The King' off the previous album. It's pretty impossible to equal 'Tell The King' because, in my opinion, it is one of the best songs of all time. But this is a fantastic sequel, and whilst not troubling it's predecessor, it is still amazing. The lead guitar is just too sexy for words.

'Music When The Lights Go Out'. What a song. Definitely one of the Libs' best ever. The lyrics are beautiful and will almost certainly make you cry at some point. The acoustic guitar, combined with the riff of the lead guitar is quite incredible.

'Narcissist' is a brilliant tune. The lead guitar WILL make you dance, even if you are in the worst mood. The lyrics are quality and Carl sings them perfectly.

'The Ha Ha Wall' is another great song.Amazing lyrics by Pete. Certainly not the highlight of the album, but still brilliant.

'Arbeit Mach Frei' is great fun. The boys obviously had a great time with this one. Short and punchy, a perfect album song. Wonderfully random.

'Campaign of Hate' sounds slightly ska inspired. It has a definite rhythm to it, and whilst not a favourite of mine, it certainly has a deserved place on this album. Yet more great lyrics.

'What Katie Did' is definitely one of the highlights. Beautiful lyrics and the lead guitar is amazing. It's hard to find words to describe how great this song is - just listen and you'll know.

'Tomblands' is slightly more rock'n'roll. A good bit of fun. It's kind of pirate-rock'n'roll chic. Brilliant!

'The Saga' is another more up-tempo song. The guitar is amazing, and everything just combines perfectly for a superb tune.

'Road To Ruin' again seems ska-inspired. Not a highlight, but not to be overlooked. Catchy riff and excellently sung.

'What Became Of The Likely Lads' is very poignant considering this bands' fate. An instant classic from the Libs' and a perfect yet emotional end to the greatest band ever.

This honestly is an incredible album. If you choose to ignore it then you really are missing out on something that could change the way you feel about music and life.

Quite unbelievable.

The Libertines deserve to live for eternity
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on 22 December 2005
This is probably one of the best indie albums you are likely to hear. Nothing is left out from this album, bum notes, the odd comment from Doherty such as 'No no i aint got a problem, it's you with the problem' on "the saga". Once you put it on you wont want to turn it off.
Is it better than the first album? It was definately hard to beat but this album seems to show the 'true colours' of both Barat and Doherty. It's a masterpeiece that should be in every indie lovers collection and i am sure it is.
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