It is refreshing to hear some feet-dragging angst back in the new music of 2021. In a time when it seems that artists prefer the aesthetic of alt-rock more than they do exploring a heavier sound, GLUM’s Life’s Been Better strikes a chord those wanting a little more grunt from their sound.
Laced with, “21st Century existential dread”, the topic of the track covers our emotional need for, and addiction to, technology to get through the day. Although it is not an original concept to write about these days, they do not overburden the listener with a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude towards the way technology weaves with modern-day life. This is achieved through simple lyrics and the use of complimenting instrumentation to conduct a certain feeling of numbness and honesty about what is being said here.
Throughout the track is a clear sense of monotony and repetition, even with changing tones and emotion as the song progresses, which displays a certain complexity in what may feel like a fairly simple piece of music. As we listen, the vocals-first verses are juxtaposed by the crashing power from symbols and distortion in the chorus. This pairing of themes, apathy and anger, highlights the intention of GLUM for this track, not to offer a solution but to have you stare the problem straight in the eyes and accept it. The chorus points a finger directly at your forehead as the title line repeats “Hey you, life’s been better”. Vocalist Rory Nash says, “We’ve got a culture that tells people they’re ill if they feel sad, a culture that tells you to hide your feelings, GLUM is here to say f**k that”.
Released 1st April, last Saturday, the band has already racked up tens of thousands of plays to a great reception from listeners. It is no surprise that the track pleases fans of alt-rock as it offers a little bit of everything that we love in our music: the heavy, the real, the punch and the melancholy.
Fitting right beside bands on all ends of the rock scale, we can see them in support of a nostalgic arena tour or down in a local venue shoulder-to-shoulder with the current alt-rock bands sitting on the edge of the mainstream (for now).
This track is going to bring delight to fans of rock, who are feeling a little disillusioned by recent offerings in the genre, and although it may not show off all of what this band has up its sleeves, it intrigues enough to want to come back for the next one.
Words: Jenni Harrison