This is our Elbow song. Elbow have been a big influence on me: their Seldom Seen Kid is a tremendous record. It’s music for grown-ups that isn’t a pale imitation of former glories, that isn’t trying to be down with the kids, that isn’t ashamed to be about grown-up subjects. It’s music that’s lived a little and wants to tell you about it. Broken Bottles is me attempting to do something similar.
Broken Bottles is one of my favourite songs, and it was going to be the lead track off the album before we decided that Grip Is Slipping was a better attention-getter. Musically it’s pretty straightforward, although we’ve changed it quite a bit from the first demos: we’d started off playing the riff on lots of very distorted guitars and turning everything up to eleven, but while that was suitably rocky we decided that a heavenly choir of fuzzy Fenders was too bombastic for what’s actually quite a gentle and sad song. There’s only one guitar in it now, playing a single note in the breakdown. The song still rocks. It just rocks in a different way.