Strange Familia didn’t mean to write an anthem; it just happened. The duo’s new song “Love/Drugs” is a deceptively cheerful tune with an invigorating chorus that will have listeners howling about drug dependence, despair, and submission.
Four short years past the quarter line
Cocaine bending on a daddy’s dime
Nothing looks pretty in a heartless city
A new drug she’s ready to try
Ring ring ringing on the cell phone stops
Line disconnected till a new life talks
Every day dreaming there’s a cure for the reason
The reason she’s trying to hide
Listen: “Love/Drugs” – Strange Familia
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Love/Drugs,” the latest single from Salt Lake City, Utah-based two-piece Strange Familia. Consisting of Brecken Jones and Garret Williams, Strange Familia wax an intoxicating brand of punctuated, synth-laden indie pop that packs a serious punch. Their debut singles “Odes” and “Cheap Perfume” garnered thousands of streams and early fans thanks to a keen balance of classic and “modern” pop stylings, and that fusion of old and new tropes continues in their recent endeavors. “Love/Drugs” is particularly infectious, blending wit and cynicism with a cheeky upbeat rhythm and warm melodies that disguise the darkness embedded deep in the song’s core.
“We’ve struggled to connect with the Nashville-writing-room motivational song that encourages someone to climb mountains,” explain Strange Familia. “Maybe it’s the cliche, but for whatever reason, we’ve never really been inspired by that kind of song. I suppose that in some form of contempt we wrote ‘Love/Drugs’; the piano ballad that grew into a chaotic anti-anthem.” There’s something heartwarming about the fact that this is not a ‘heartwarming’ song – that you can have positive, feel-good music without the overall message of the song carrying the same vibe.
“Love/Drugs” is a song about dealing – or rather, not dealing – with real struggles. The verses detail a dark pattern of destructive behavior that very much has to do with how an individual interacts with his or her surroundings. Meanwhile, the chorus’ chant, “calling to see, if you’re up, pick it up,” finds the outside world interacting with the individual in the opposite sort of manner. This interplay of those two dynamics gives “Love/Drugs” a fresh bent, adding a little more depth through multiple perspectives that we don’t get too often – especially in “pop” music.
Well you know
It’s never live or die
When you know
You came to live to die
Oh so close
So finally get it right
Tell them no
You can’t give up the fight
Even when the one you love never gets it right
God he’s slow…
I guess give up the fight to get it right get
“Love/Drugs” could be supremely heavy; its lyrics carry the weight of a dark, cold world that’s closing in fast. Says the band, “We didn’t go in with the intention of writing an upbeat song about self-medication and giving up. It’s just an honest observation of someone struggling and hoping something will come and save them from their own past. When you’re stuck in self-destructive patterns, dependency from one thing can turn into dependency on another. Without honest self-reflection, you may never realize that the only person that can save you is yourself.”
Darkness upon darkness is to be expected. Darkness beneath an enriching anthem? You don’t see it coming, and you won’t notice it upon the first few listens, either. The song’s sprightly nature is its saving grace, keeping the band from being swallowed up entirely by malaise, and giving us a reason to come back to “Love/Drugs” time and time again. An accidental anthem, Strange Familia’s “Love/Drugs” is a dark, bold, and stunningly fresh-feeling track that is deeper and more intense than most anthems could hope to be. Keep up with the band below, and look out for their upcoming debut studio album – out April 21st!
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cover © Aaron Hendrix