Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

The Script – Superheroes

They thought they’d get this past us…


Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: It’s been hard for me to like The Script, at least ever since their “Hall of Fame” (yup, the one with the fake patois) bludgeoned through Bruno Sammartino’s redemptive moment of triumph at Wrestlemania 29. Sammartino was and is one of the powerhouses on which professional wrestling built it’s name, an Italian immigrant whose popularity exploded as third-generation Italian-Americans took to his heroism, reigning over Vincent J. McMahon’s pre-TV WWWF promotion as World Heavyweight Champion for eleven years, a “Living Legend” who squashed the “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers (who Ric Flair took his gimmick from) in forty-eight seconds and shoot-fought in the ring with famed Japanese grappler/diplomat Antonio Inoki. There’s plenty of stories surrounding him, and there’s simply not enough space here to go into them all. Which brings us back to The Script’s music, unsubtly interrupting Sammartino’s theme music that would soundtrack a return to the stage after years of locking horns with the McMahon family and their WWE promotion. It was meant to feel redemptive, a final hoorah. instead, it was crass, this modern song’s false sincerity overpowering not only the horns of Sammartino’s music, but any possibility of a hard-fought emotional outburst. That’s The Script through and through, and that’s “Superhero” through and through: hokey, overpowering real humility, making unsubtle swipes at emotion while also burying any possible notion of emotion. Don’t buy into it, guys; do it for Bruno.

Alfred Soto: The opening piano chords gave me leprosy on contact, but they’ve got nothing on the “every day, every hour” pseudo-rap like two kids in sixth grade in line at the lunchroom demanding pizza. A memo: to use a superhero metaphor, your track needs to sound tough. The memo’s also known as the 3 Doors Down Clause. 

Hazel Robinson: Right, firstly, superheroes are fucking nerdlords so I can’t absolutely guarantee that Billy Kaplan isn’t like, massively emoting to this over in 616 and I can completely imagine fucking Batman having a Sad Man Tears moment to it but. But. Crucially, this completely misunderstands superheroes — the origin and motivation as defining and tragic is full of shit; “every day every hour turn the pain into power?” Fuck you, no — one of the things about superheroes is that they let us emote within them; if you’re (as all humans) under societal pressure to not give priority to your own emotions, to push things aside, then seeing a very powerful character tussle with their feelings is a safe emotional space for you to feel yours. That’s how superheroes work, that’s what makes the significant beats, that’s what makes us admire and empathise with them. And fuck you Mr. Script because aside from a few pretty specific supers, there’s nothing, NOTHING that turns pain into power or that removes your struggle simply by augmenting your strength — that’s a shitty thing to suggest in your twee as fuck, pappy anthem. This will never be your Justice League stadium rock lighters-aloft song, mostly because my own supervillain origins have just been ignited to prevent this at all costs. Christ. 

Scott Mildenhall: “Every minute, every hour; got the power, take a shower”. Hang on, no, that was Scooter, and it was infinitely superior. Maybe if The Script injected a bit of pace into their nonsense, like OneRepublic did, they might get away with it better; maybe it might better serve the fact that the most egregious of that nonsense is to be found only near the start. The rest is ostensibly inoffensive, and it will have a positive impact on some people’s lives – the overarching lesson is how easy it is to read inspired as insipid.

Luisa Lopez: Sounds distinctly like that bus ride on the first day of middle school, posturing toward grown-up yearning, leaking cliches from the mouth, stoic shaking with the lip set firm — which is not, in the end, a bad thing.

Dan MacRae: If The Asylum produced a Coldplay biopic (or a “Chillfrolic” biopic for copyright reasons), this would be the microwaved Lean Cuisine of a track that plays during the end credits after “Craig Motley” saves the city from an asteroid. I got a kick out of the motivational pseudo-rap business that pops up during the chorus, so y’know minor victories and all that.

David Sheffieck: The Script seem to have taken the wrong lesson from “Don’t Stop Believin’,” as if what that song needed was a more predictable structure and less specific lyrics. But beyond that: wasn’t one Imagine Dragons more than enough? And did we really need an alternative that incorporates rap rock accents?

Anthony Easton: This track made me Google “The Script Christian”, which resulted in a variety of ways to evangelize, some terrible essays about the possibility that someone might like Jesus, and some angry notes about intention on Yahoo Answers. There is also some discussion of the members being asked to be part of an exclusively Christian rock band, and saying no, in order to appeal to a larger audience — but then the evangelical quality is ambiguous at best. They make me feel 15 and desperate to love the Lord, and even as Irish folks, their generic heartland values would seem to sell well at Christian Music Festivals in Georgia or Washington. Them loving Jesus at least would give us a hook to write about, or at least some minor interest — and that they play the middle is another example of cynicism that I kind of admire.

Katherine St Asaph: Danny O’Donoghue starts by admitting he’s belittled some poor girl into superheroinedom — I guess it’s good that for once a superhero song includes women, but her origin story involves the euphemistically-placed “a profit on the street,” so maybe not — then churns up Daughtry glurge, mixes metaphors until he’s talking exploding lions, and invents a male correlative to Lana Del Rey’s Nas Spice pout. There’s something here to start a seething fire in every listener’s soul; are we sure this wasn’t written by Adrian Veidt?

Brad Shoup: Any taste of brogue is nice enough from these guys, but the refrain’s filtered rejoinders and too-whimsical main line are a kind of precious I thought pop left behind with rap-rock. Bonus points for an intro that made me think of Hanson and Hornsby.

Patrick St. Michel: Special Power: Ability to churn out empty pratter on command, all while rapping like a first grader.

Megan Harrington: Though I’m sure a fair amount of kids too young to understand the nuance of “Superheroes” will embrace it for its big chords and swirling keys, the song’s written for a generation old enough to struggle with advancing mediocrity. To a middle schooler, loving hard enough to be a superhero is vaguely dangerous rhetoric but facing a life of promotion to middle management and a subscription to People magazine, it’s secretly intensely comforting to believe that your ability to love, in spite of everything, will keep you strong. 

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7 Responses to “The Script – Superheroes”

  1. bless u megan harrington bless u and yr heart

  2. Scott that Scooter song rules so much, I just rifled through my archives and I am delighted to find it was my #5 track of 2008. I can’t bear to listen to the Script but I assume this song of theirs doesn’t have a lovely Boccherini minuet sample on the intro explaining what the word ‘jump’ means?

  3. Oh wow I’d never heard that bit! (It doesn’t.)

    The One Week One Band I would most like to read is one on Scooter. I want to know about every detail of everything they’ve ever done. So intricate, yet so banging. They did a cover of ‘C’est Bleu’ by Vicky Leandros and put in the phrase “talent imitates; genius steals”! They are amazing.

  4. If Hendrik ever lets me do a third one then I shall make it so, if only so I can post a thousand words about Cambodia and Kim Wilde’s fondness for garden centres and vitamins.

    (Everyone else: the intro we are talking about is this)

  5. Where’s the TSwizz Haterade/stancardapplicationline *shakeitoff review.
    c’mon u guys know u wanna. Can’t wait for the hyperbolic denunciations and the euphoric “Huzzahs!” I know it’ll be entertaining. I wanta see how many blergs it gets and see Katherine Asaph’s brain smoking with outrage at why is Taylor so popular and oh just c’mon guyzz I livz for dese

  6. We’ll be doing it on Friday.

    I would love to read a Scooter One Week One Band too.

  7. I’m excited for Shake it Off’s review. It’s either going to be higher than Vermillion or lower than Alone Again.
    Or it could just be a 5.00.

    (Also, Dan McRae’s blurb is amazing.)