Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan – Hawk: #989 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan - Hawk

Why is Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan’s Hawk on my best 1,000 albums ever list?

Incredible songcraft, wild variety, and the magical odd couple combo of Campbell’s whispery delightful voice and Lanegan’s world weary soft growl.

What does Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan’s Hawk mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?

“Time of the Season” has a Velvet Underground-like groove but without that menacingly strange quality that the Velvets can often bring. “Snake Song” has a vibe that almost feels like a Bon Jovi acoustic western. And then “Come Undone” has a late-night lounge feeling that could almost be an arrangement for an Amy Winehouse song (while sounding nothing like an Amy Winehouse song!).

All three songs are great and quite different from one another. And all the while you get the strange and deeply alluring mix of Campbell’s breathy and wonderful vocals and Lanegan’s cigarette-scratched rasp.

This album also sounds like

There are a ton of influences that you can pull out of this one. I mention the Velvet Underground, but you could also call out artists ranging from Tom Waits to Elliot Smith to Townes Van Zandt to Courtney Barnett and you’d be right. Overall, it’s super unique.

Pop culture stuff that’s somehow related to Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan’s Hawk

It’s hard to say why the name of this album is Hawk, and the instrumental self-titled song – which is a departure even among the eclectic sounds you hear throughout as a loud, bluesy, and horn driven number – but it got me to thinking about hawks. Like the bird hawks.

What’s kind of interesting is that when I google “hawks,” the first page of results is almost entirely about the Atlanta Hawks basketball team. Maybe it’s because I’m an NBA fan and Google “knows stuff” about me, but you’d think there’d be a nice picture of a sinister-looking bird somewhere in there. Or at least some information about how my New York Knicks are definitely going to take out the Hawks next season instead of going down in a five game first round series as they did this year.

Possibly for around the second time in my life in a non-professional mode, I gave Google’s competitors over at Bing a shot and hit paydirt.


And then I was able to learn on Wikipedia that “hawks were named among the most intelligent birds.” So think about that the next time you see one of those creatures soaring nearby with their impossible wingspans. And rightfully be fearful.

And then as my pop culture brain is wont to do, I recalled Ladykawke, a 1985 movie that I recall enjoying as a kid. It’s got a ridiculous leading cast that includes Matthew Broderick (post-War Games but pre-Ferris Beuller’s Day Off), Rutger Hauer, and Michelle Pfeiffer. In revisiting the trailer, however, I’m not sure if it holds up…

I then recalled my favorite pop culture thing of all time involving hawks (with no offense to Hawk), and that’s the riveting flashback passages in Stephen King’s The Gunslinger (the first novel in the incredible Dark Tower series) that involve Roland the apprentice gunslinger and his hawk, David.

As Cort once said, “The hawk is God’s gunslinger.” Just read it if you haven’t read it.  

Some stats & info about Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan’s Hawk:

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Pop, Rock, Singer Songwriter, Indie Rock, Alternative Pop
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating4 out of 5 stars
  • When was Hawk released? 2010
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #989 out of 1,000

Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan’s Hawk 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.