Why is The Stranglers’ Rattus Norvegicus on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
Conjures the feeling of being inside a gritty, indie British gangster flick and/or hanging out in a pub on a dreary English afternoon.
What does The Stranglers’ Rattus Norvegicus mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
“Peaches” is the best song on Rattus Norvegicus, and it’s got this hard funky groove, it’s a little bit punk but mostly new wave-ish, and it’s very English, as in down the pub in the UK back in the day-like.
As I mention above, it feels like it would be completely at home playing at a pub while the gangster from Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels – which, by the way, has its own stellar soundtrack – drum up some likely ill-fated misadventure.
And it’s also dreary skies, evening falling around 4p for about half the year, lager beer splashed about the bar, smoking inside, laughs and music both getting louder as the night goes on, last call at 10p, and off to work the next day for your workaday life.
Also dig the more straight forward old school punk song, “London Lady.” Much cleaner and more polished than most of their contemporaries in this mode. Kind of reminds me of The Buzzcocks, actually.
“Hanging Around,” more of a straight ahead rocker with some punk and new wave sensibilities, really grew on me over time. I’m a sucker for a nice hook and a pulsing organ.
This album also sounds like
As I mention above, there’s some Buzzcocks going on here, but The Vibrators might be the closest analog (I just happen to like The Stranglers more). And then throw in some Stiff Little Fingers and The Clash for good measure.
Other stuff that’s somehow related to The Stranglers’ Rattus Norvegicus
“Rattus Norvegicus” and “Sewer Rat” both redirect to the “Brown Rat” page on Wikipedia, so that clears up a lot for you, I’m sure.
The brown rat (Rattus norvegicus), also known as the common rat, street rat, sewer rat, wharf rat, Hanover rat, Norway rat, Norwegian rat and Parisian rat, is a widespread species of common rat.
But we all know that even a lowly street rat can dream of things so much bigger, don’t we, kids?
And I suppose then it makes sense that the album, getting back to The Stranglers, includes a song – and an ambitious one at that at nearly eight minutes long – called “Down in the Sewer”:
I haven’t definitely confirmed this, but it’s my strong suspicion that this song was inspired by the 1956 film, The Mole People.
Personal stuff that’s somehow related to The Stranglers’ Rattus Norvegicus
If it sounds like I have at least some experience hanging out in English pubs on dreary afternoons, it’s because I do. I lived and worked in England for about six months after graduating from college in a little town called Rochester, which was maybe an hour drive east of London. Head another 45 minutes to an hour east and you hit the city of Canterbury, as in that Canterbury from The Canterbury Tales. Rochester actually had a pretty great thousand-year-old castle as well, pretty stunning for a native Yank.
Beyond visiting the castle and without having a car, there wasn’t a ton to do in Rochester, so my roommates and I (while I initially moved to the UK alone, I wound up living with two close college friends of mine) adopted the Nag’s Head pub as our “local.” Students from a local arts college would also hang out there, and it made for quite a vibrant and eclectic scene. Certainly helped to liven up many an evening.
Some stats & info about The Stranglers – Rattus Norvegicus
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? British Punk, Punk, New Wave, Dance Rock, Pub Rock, Rock, Old School Punk
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
- When was Rattus Norvegicus released? 1977
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #994 out of 1,000
The Stranglers – Rattus Norvegicus on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.