You know that feeling you get when you listen to a brand new song and you immediately fall in love with it?
That’s how I felt listening to The Script’s new album. It’s a new sound for the band, yet it’s comfortingly familiar.
I got a big U2 vibe, especially with the intro to the first track, “No Good in Goodbye.” The guitars were very Edge-y, with more effects and distortion used. I also heard a little bit of OneRepublic with the soaring melodies and strings. I did my research, but apparently Ryan Tedder did not a have a hand in producing this.
The drums also feel a lot more prominent in this album, with the beats really propelling the songs, especially on “Superheroes”, “It’s Not Right For You”, and “The Energy Never Dies”. I did not listen to the tracks in order the first time, so it was that last song I heard first and which prompted me to do a Liz Lemon above. When #3 came out, guitarist Mark Sheehan got a lot more airtime, contributing some rap/song verses and alternating with Danny on most songs. He was noticeably more prominent, that my friend and I actually had a serious conversation about how Mark was plotting to overthrow Danny as lead singer of the band. This time around, they seem to have pushed drummer Glen more into the spotlight too.
With every new album, there always has to be that one song for me that clinches it. It’s almost never the first single, but an album track that becomes my instant favorite and cements my love for the entire album. This time, that song is “Man on a Wire”. It has been on repeat for days. I fell in love with the ascending patterns of the chorus. Ascending chords will always get me. I can almost imagine the video now: Danny walking along the streets of Dublin or London, just singing to the camera while the light from the golden hour filters beautifully in the background. You’re welcome, Script. (Call me.)
One of the trademarks of The Script is that their songs make you want to stamp your feet and clap along, even when their subject matter isn’t always cheerful. They’ll have you dancing around and screaming happily along to a breakup song before you realize that the words are actually about heartbreak. They’ve called themselves the breakup band several times because a lot of their songs are about that topic. But in “No Sound Without Silence”, the happy or positive songs outnumber the sad. By my count, there are only two breakup songs: “No Good in Goodbye” and “Man on a Wire”. And even the latter has a wistful and hopeful feel to it – “I’m counting on high hopes to get me over you.” I think it’s probably the first Script song where the hope in the melody is matched by the lyrics. (It also got us thinking: does this mean that Danny is in a serious relationship? If so, who is this hussy?!? Hah.)
There’s also more of a pop feel to the album overall. One of the other things that gave the Script their unique sound was Danny’s syncopated delivery. In their previous albums he was almost rapping their songs, and their lyrics always felt like they tried to fit as many words as possible in each line. This time the song structures feel more like your standard pop song. It’s not a bad thing of course, especially since their melodies are still so beautiful and their lyrics creative as always. Already some words resonate: “When everything went right, when everything went wrong, they put it in a song”, “Where’s the good in goodbye”.
They seem to be writing more about different topics rather than just first-person experiences. “Superheroes” is about ordinary people and how they overcome their daily struggles. In “Without Those Songs” they pay tribute to music legends. I love how Danny’s accent comes out in this song, in how he pronounces Sinatra as Sinaah-trah and Nirvana as Nirvaah-nah. They referenced Bono in the second line, so of course my mind exploded at the fact that two of my favorite bands intersected. I do take issue with the fact that they did not include McCartney though. C’mon Script, you toured with the man! Surely the word McCartney could’ve fit better than Madonna?
Sting said that songwriters start out writing only about their experiences, but that the good ones will always grow to write about ideas bigger than themselves. This is what The Script is doing. They’re exploring new sounds and themes, but their melodies and lyrics still have heart. I’m so happy for the boys, and so happy for me because I have another album to love.