A breakdown of Trophy Eyes awesome new song & music video, ‘You Can Count On Me’.
I love it when artists break down the walls between themselves, their music, and the fans and listeners who give them their time and love; creating something wholly direct in the process.
That’s what I loved about James “Buddy” Neilsen’s lyricism on Senses Fail’s new album, with that record’s opening song ‘Double Cross‘ seeing Buddy outright state: “All I got, all I really got is this music that’s left in me/And all I want, all I really want is a reason to believe.” This same idea of cutting the shit and being up-front with both yourself and your audience is something I adore about the new single and music video from Trophy Eyes: ‘You Can Count On Me‘.
The proof is in the pudding, or as it were, the proof is in this hooky new song’s massive refrain, where frontman John “Bowl-cut” Floreani defiantly and bitterly sings, “Some of my friends sell drugs/but I just sell sad songs to those who feel alone.” All before self-awarely adding that, “You can count on me when it all goes wrong”; an almost-reassuring line about how their music is emotionally co-opted by people who resonate with it and who need these songs in their darkest times. (Which isn’t a bad thing at all, just me making an observation about the lyrics. Don’t yell at me for that).
‘You Can Count On Me‘ is an incredibly meta piece, addressing the band’s fanbase directly and how reality doesn’t often meet people’s expectations. Especially with sharp lines like, “Everyone wants to know/Where it all fell apart/Pick up my pieces/And put them back together like art“; discussing how listeners think they know an artist inside and out from their online posts, music and lyrics, including the regressive and dangerous cliche of an artist needing to be miserable in order to make great art. After all, this song is called ‘You Can Count On Me‘, a title that reads more like a politician’s limp-dicked campaign slogan as they try to run for office. (John also makes allusions to putting ticket sales into a cocaine habit at one point: “Thanks to everyone that bought tickets to my shows/I put all the money that you spent right up my nose.” Very corrupt politician-esque, indeed).
This is visually shown in the song’s film clip, where throughout we see the band rejecting the pedestal role they’re put on. Namely in how John desperately races through suburbia to get back home. On a first watch, you might initially think he’s making a last-minute mad dash to “get the girl” or to save the day, but as it turns out, he’s actually just hurrying home to stop his microwave from beeping before the timer ends. (C’mon, we all hate that annoying sound). It’s silly, yes, but it’s a fake-out about the difference between the actual motives and ideas of artists, and how we as the public perceive them to be.
While I do feel the band’s push-back against social media fandom here is a little bit of an “old man yells at cloud” type-situation, it’s honest and personal enough for it to work. It’s also clear that Trophy Eyes are really grappling with the idea of the ‘death-of-the-author’ on their latest jam. And if you personally cannot see that, then perhaps you’re the very person who John and co. are critiquing in ‘You Can Count On Me‘. Sorry not sorry.
Now, when an Australian band calls their album ‘The American Dream‘ – as Trophy Eyes have done here for their newest LP, out August 3rd via Hopeless Records/UNIFIED – I get immediately cynical. As I feel that our fair but imperfect country has plenty of issues that could make for great songwriting inspiration, yet many bands forgo that and aim for the American political circus, as it’s just low-hanging fruit to yell “Fuck Trump!“. Case in point of a band actually tackling a close-to-home issue, see Statues‘ brilliant second album ‘No Grave, No Burial‘ from last year; a truly powerful and chaotic hardcore release about the world’s current refugee crisis and how that plays into Australia’s own (horrible) role in the matter.
Yet after hearing this new Trophy Eyes song and after pawning over the film clip, something tells me the Sydney band aren’t becoming political pundits, but are instead making a statement about the general sham of leadership, utopias (in any sense) and popularity. Ideas of which they’ve felt the weight of over the last two years as they’ve smashed through each new roadblock internationally on the back of their critically acclaimed second LP, ‘Chemical Miracle‘.
Surprisingly, however, they also apparently worked alongside the likes of producer Chris Cracker, who helped to score Hanz Zimmer’s not-as-smart-as-it-thought-it-was sci-fi flick, Interstellar. And I do not know how to feel about that fact just yet. Though, probably don’t expect Zimmer’s obnoxiously trademark “BBBBBBRRRRRRRRRRR” sound-effect to appear on this upcoming Trophy Eyes album.
Shedding their punk rock tempos, melodic hardcore undertones and John’s screaming for catchier melodic hooks, Trophy Eyes are simply channelling their songwriting efforts into lighter but nonetheless equally solid alternative rock sensibilities. Besides, there’s still energy and grit present here – it just shows up in a new light. For there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a radio-friendly chorus if it’s done well, and here, it’s done really fucking well!
While their previous single ‘Hurt‘ and now ‘You Can Count On Me‘ are different in sound, they’re still honest and emotive in the band’s vision; wholly indicative of the group’s strong sonic growth over time. So no, Trophy Eyes haven’t sold-out or anything of the bloody sort. All giving me plenty of faith in their forthcoming record.
Check out ‘You Can Count On Me‘ below:
Suss out ‘The American Dream’ tracklisting below:
2. Something Bigger Than This
3. Friday Forever
4. More Like You
5. Cotton Candy Sky
6. You Can Count On Me
8. Tip Toe
9. Lavender Bay
10. Miming In The Choir
11. A Symphony Of Crickets
12. I Can Feel It Calling