Tuesday, August 16, 2022

The XCERTS – So No One Told You Life Was Going To Be This Way

Lockdown gave us all a new meaning to life while giving Scottish rockers The XCERTS a new meaning to well-known songs. They looked at the lyrics and portrayed them in a way to reflect our current situation – having slowed down Avril’s ‘Complicated’ and changed ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ to minor chords, on new release No One Told You Life Was Going To Be This Way.

The self-directed music video of ‘We Built This City’ offers an escape from the claustrophobia, displaying wide open spaces and the outdoors, which some of us haven’t seen in a while. Meanwhile, the lyrics centre us into this new reality. During the lockdown, the rock community banded together to help each other out, building this city on rock ‘n roll. The track also asks us to remember a time when we were free to celebrate by actually supporting artists at gigs, and the ‘corporation games’ could be a hint at the many schemes that affected the industry. In fact, Macleod even stated:

We, along with so many others are feeling the effects of not being able to work within the live sector of the music industry and lines like ‘we just want to dance here, someone stole the stage’ / ‘who rides the wrecking balls into our guitars?’, really hit differently now. I hope music lovers across the globe who listen to this song feel hopeful, defiant and unified when they hear the words “we built this city on rock and roll“, because despite what certain members of the British government think, we really fucking did.”

The cohesivity of each song definitely makes us feel unified while the alternative arrangements give defiance. The renditions make these songs distinguishable from the originals. This is the way covers should be, an original take rather then a direct copy.

I Wanna Be Sedated’ is a take on The Ramones classic which hits even harder while also being soft. The punk song is completely subverted due to the quiet guitar work and non-existent drums. Only the lyrics remain the same; lyrics that are more relevant now than during the hardcore era. The opening words “twenty, twenty” conjure visions of the tragic year instantly, flowing perfectly into “nothing to do, nowhere to go.” Doesn’t everyone want to be sedated due to 2020? 

In ‘Complicated,’ Heights and Macleod harmonise perfectly, giving Avril Lavigne what she has always wanted since the start, her songs fitting the same genre as The Ramones. The music video is just Macleod simply dying and cutting his hair, but of course, right now that’s probably the most excitement anyone is getting so it is wholly relevant.

A surprising upbeat version of ‘Inbetween Days’ follows. It feels like being reunited with an old friend, drummer, Tom Heron who appears on the EP for the first time. Lockdown also can’t stop the production value being high, thanks to Ryan Burnett. 

Since we can’t actually dance with friends right now, it’s great that the EP holds mostly slow ballads. Like a re-telling of classic fairytales, the record offers a re-telling of classic songs. It allows us to hear them in a way that they’ve never been heard before. If this is merely a warm-up, or cool down, before their main album, then 2021 is definitely going to be their year.  

Regan Harle
Just a student with far too much free time on their hands, and over 13,000 songs on their phone.

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