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24. Wolfman featuring Pete Doherty – For Lovers

30/11/2009

24

It’s telling that Pete Doherty’s best moment of the noughties was away from the rag’n’bone punk of The Libertines. Also telling, perhaps, is that he didn’t even write this song – in For Lovers, Doherty is simply the crooner, the storyteller, the compere. He assumes an almost Sinatra role, catching your eye and projecting, letting the band do their thing while he concentrates on the spirit of the piece. Freed from his guitar and the love-hate competition with Carl Barat, he presents a different side: battered, sad and tender. It suits him. He’s believable, for one: his tone, perhaps hewn from post-opiate comedowns, is perfectly measured, and For Lovers never sounds mawkish, despite the gooey subject matter. For another, his thin voice, so often overpowered by The Libs’ guitar racket, is padded and pampered here by the lush orchestration, sounding sweet and spirited. It’s beyond doubt that Doherty’s musical talent this decade was wasted by drug abuse and self-indulgence, but For Lovers raises the question of what he might’ve done if he’d ditched the scratchy guitars altogether and gone for a Richard Hawley-style romance fest – hearing a song as delicate as this, it seems his natural home.

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