October 11, 2016

Richard & Linda Thompson - Shoot Out The Lights (1982)


Shoot Out The Lights is the final album of the decade long musical partnership of Richard and Linda Thompson. They divorced directly after the album was released (or during the sessions). I think it was AMG a few years ago who made the point that while the album is romanticized as a window into their divorce (kind of like a Blood On The Tracks), most of the songs were written during happier times in the relationship. Richard & Linda penned many depressing songs, and also many depressing songs about romance throughout their career--it might indicate that there was darkness marinading in their decade long marriage that simply came to fruition on Shoot Out The Lights. The album is more gloomy than their other releases and even if the songs were written way before the recording sessions, there is no doubt to me that their crumbling relationship contributed to the moody aura of the songs. The music on here is generally sentimental and are easy to grab a hold of. The two exceptions to this pace is Back Street Slide (a typical fun Richard filler track) and Did She Jump Or Was She Pushed?, a song on the level of Iggy Pop or Ian Curtis' most depressing depictions. Shoot Out The Lights has some of the most intriguing recording aesthetics as well--it is full of the 80s reverb trend, which I think is a strange match for British folk music. This was the first full Richard Thompson album I had heard after loving his Fairport Convention material and was caught off guard when I first heard that sound, but now I really appreciate those Smiths-like production qualities for how unique it makes Shoot Out The Lights.

Sample

Shoot Out The Lights