Premiere: The Ballroom Thieves Liberate Us with “Unlovely” (ft. Darlingside)

The Ballroom Thieves © Shervin Lainez
The Ballroom Thieves (feat. Darlingside) ignite a passion for change with bright rock Beatles-like single, “Unlovely.”
“Unlovely” – The Ballroom Thieves ft. Darlingside




Like it or not, we’re living in a world where a lot of things are out of our control. If we aren’t made up of the things that those in charge deem worthy, we’re often forgotten until convenient. What, however, is good about today, on the heels of 2020, is that those who have been merely waiting, sitting back and hoping for a change are starting to realize – doing those things are no longer an option if we want to actually see a change. If we want to see something happen, we have to do something.

The Ballroom Thieves recognize this feeling and ignite a desire to change it with new single “Unlovely” (feat. Darlingside). Calin “Callie” Peters describes, “This song is about watching us realize that the United States is unlovely, and then take the steps to eradicate the greed and hate that is confusing decency with politics, and destroying human existence.”

“I understand that many of us are tired of talking about what we call politics, and some don’t feel that songwriters should be writing about the state of the world,” she says. “Fortunately for those people, this song isn’t a plea for change, it’s an observation of the American reality. It’s also personal, as my entire life has been negatively affected by the way things are run. Most of the people that have ever been in charge represent the tiniest piece of pie here: the rich, straight, white, male, born in the USA slice. If a person is missing any or all of those titles, they are treated as less than worthy. After all this reprehensible American history we can agree this place isn’t built for the rest of us, and the rest of us make up more than 99% of the people. We stood by and waited for changes, we trusted that our leadership had our best interest in mind, that they weren’t just setting it up for themselves, but we were mistaken.”

Unlovely - The Ballroom Thieves

Unlovely – The Ballroom Thieves ft. Darlingside

Starting simply and soft, easing us in and calming us down so we can adjust and get ready to fully take on the words she is about to say

I took the blue out of the news today
(Wore it like an overcoat)
Wrapped it around me
And it shields me from the thoughts
that people think they need to say

The delicate introduction fades as the beat of the drum drops and the twang of the guitar sings. Peters declares,

Standing in line for the riot

Martin and Devin harmonize effortlessly in the background.

Just another sunny day

Peters continues,

Found a couple birds who sing
Of tethered friends and broken wings



The irony of the routine of accepting how unfair our world is shines. We hear something bad, we get sad, we move on and round and round it goes. The Ballroom Thieves, with the genuinely pleasant Beatles-like bright rock sound, highlight this irony. Shifting the guidelines for what is “normal” The Ballroom Thieves shake up the rules in their message and in the tempo of the song as it picks up the pace, unconventionally but equally as surprising and pleasant to the ears, for the chorus,

It’s a lie we have to listen to you
You’re out of time
Step out of line

The beat slows back down, re-entering us into a verse level. Effervescent bop’s lead us into the second verse,

Reading your mean eyes
through a million little screens
Now we’re living in the house you built
The faucet leaks, the roof is caving in
The Ballroom Thieves © Shervin Lainez

The Ballroom Thieves © Shervin Lainez



Powerful distressed guitar chords emphasize the end of each line. Allowing us to internalize the importance and join their belief that we do not have to listen anymore, but we do have to act. After the final chorus the song slows to an outro not dissimilar to the intro. Harmonies scale from high to low, yearning us down. Peters sings the same words she sang at the beginning. They somehow have more meaning now.

I wore it like an overcoat
Though it was just another sunny day
We waited
Now bye bye babies bye bye

This is a song unlike any you’ve heard lately. The instrumentation and the way they use the beat to gear us up and bring us back down is as useful as it is delightful and surprising. The Ballroom Thieves wrap up “Unlovely” best: “This is a blatant protest song for all the rational humans out there. It’s addressed to the old white guys at the top, who only represent a tiny percentage of US citizens but create the systems for all of us. It’s a friendly reminder that the politicians work for the people, and it’s a lie that we have to listen to their denial of human rights, their empty promises, and their proposed inhumane laws. Our country’s past, present, and future is diverse, it’s time our leaders represented all of us.” Amen.

With the release of “Unlovely” comes the announcement of The Ballroom Thieves’ highly-anticipated third full-length album, which teasingly according to the band is “a sonic encapsulation of emotional and political dissonance, the constant state of discomfort that’s enveloped the world for the past few years.” Stay tuned.

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“Unlovely” – The Ballroom Thieves ft. Darlingside



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Unlovely - The Ballroom Thieves

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📸 © Shervin Lainez

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Kelly has been with Atwood since its earliest days in 2014. She is originally from Pittsburgh, PA, now based in New Orleans, LA and has been singing, writing, playing guitar and piano for almost all of her life. Music drives everything she does. She brings her unique perspective with each piece, always open to discovering something or someone new.