The Ponys – Turn The Lights Out: #374 of best 1,000 albums ever!

So why is The Ponys’ Turn The Lights Out on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

It’s strange – in kind of a cool strange way – how music can tie to hyper specific places, times, and situations.

For example, I can recall listening to Rage Against the Machine’s self-titled debut album (and, even more specifically, the song “Know Your Enemy”!) while jogging around the streets of London just after I moved to England in 1998 (see more examples below).

Earlier this year, in the best 1,000 albums ever piece on The Ponys’ Laced With Romance (#450), I noted the following:

While The Ponys hail from Chicago, I happened to discover them right after I moved to Seattle in late 2016. Their fuzzed up garage rock sound and organ (a Farfisa organ!) somehow fit the backdrop of my new city and what happened to be the rainiest winter the region had experienced in many years (a true wet welcome for my wife and I, who had previously lived in southern California for many years!).

So as much as it doesn’t make “logical sense,” for me The Ponys have been and remain a band that I associate with Seattle. Just after I moved to my new city, I have a very specific memory of commuting on a dreary October morning, sitting in traffic in Queen Anne, and turning “Double Vision” up on my car stereo – way up – and it just clicked how much I dig these guys.

The Ponys deliver a very specific vibe, and I think part of their power comes from their relative restraint. Everything is confident, and everything is cool, so there’s no need to rush. The guitar hooks crush, and they take their good time to do so. And it all works. So by the time “Double Vision” decides in its good time to crank things up to another level on the chorus, the stage has been set beautifully. In short, it rocks out.

Let me take you round to another place
‘Cause all those pictures on the wall, they’re gonna be erased

“Harakiri” is all of these things, except slowed down even more – a lot more, in fact – conjuring a spooky cool vibe that even manages to get slightly unsettling at times. This vibe ties to the cover art for Turn The Lights Out, which is an old school black-and-white photo of kids dressed up for Halloween. A few of those little girls look like they’re ready for the Midsommar Rite of Spring, but I digress.

The title track, “Turn The Lights Out,” takes that basic model but makes it a few notches groovier, bluesier, and even a little bit more fun. It works smashingly, giving it a late-night dive bar song feel.

Personal stuff that has something to do with The Ponys’ Turn The Lights Out

I haven’t done much jogging in recent years due to a bum Achilles heel (my Achilles heel is my Achilles heel, hilarious joke, right?), and it’s something that I very much miss.

Thinking about jogging, music, and specific times and locations in my life brings up a bunch of memories, such as listening to:

  • “Walking Frustration” by Voodoo Glow Skulls (off of The Band Geek Mafia, #515 of best 1,000 albums ever) while jogging through Astoria, Queens in the late ‘90s, with a view of upper Manhattan across the East River.
  • “Verse Chorus Verse” (over and over again) by Nirvana while jogging through beautiful, tranquil Cal Tech in Pasadena, California in the mid-2000s.
  • “Peace Frog” (of all things) by The Doors while jogging around my high school track in Commack, New York on good old Long Island, New York. Blood on the streets, indeed.

Some stats & info about The Ponys – Turn The Lights Out

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Chicago Bands, Indie Rock, Garage Rock Revival
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
  • When was Turn The Lights Out released? 2007
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #374 out of 1,000

The Ponys’ Turn The Lights Out on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from The Ponys’ Turn The Lights Out that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

My heart’s on the brink, I thought you should know, and my body shakes, everytime you show.

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 review of 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.