If you’re anything like me, you probably started the day by recognizing that the start of a new work week had indeed arrived and then immediately began shaking your fists at the sky in anger. Monday is rarely anyone’s favorite day, and from what I have seen firsthand it feels safe to say it’s the one day of the week some people outright hate. I guess to them the arrival of the work week symbolizes the end of their quote/unquote freedom, and as a result they head into the office/factory/restaurant/store with a negative outlook already on their mind. This leads to bad attitudes, which only makes the experience of being at work worse, and for some reason it also seems to make time slow to a crawl. We’re not about that life, and we hope this post can do the same you that the song contained within it did for us.
I know Drake and Future spent the majority of the last year exclaiming, “what a time to be alive,” but the more I read into the problems plaguing our world today the more I am unsure what such a statement means. Is it a good thing to be alive right now, or is it a bad thing? If you’re Drake or Future it’s probably pretty great. Those guys are making tens of thousands, if not more, each passing week off the strength of their creativity. The vast majority of the rest of the Earth’s population is nowhere near that lucky however, and we are all struggling in our own ways as we fight to survive. I know I am nowhere near earning the title of being the worst off, but I do have concerns for what lies on the horizon. Between the impending election in the US, which seems to have provided no truly great candidate, and the various acts of terror taking place on a near-weekly basis all over the globe, 2016 seems pretty awful. It is unclear when or how things will get better, but something tells me no improvements will happen without hardships or tragedy coming first. In fact, I would argue some people have lost their faith in a better tomorrow altogether because every day the news and social media shines a lot on the numerous complicated problems plaguing us not just here at home, but all over the world.
With all this in mind, I wholeheartedly believe we need proactive music now more than ever in my lifetime. I have been walking this planet for almost twenty-nine years, but I have never witnessed the kind of global disenchantment that we are currently experiencing. People have lost their faith in religion and political leadership. They, or should I saw we are hungry for something more than just the hope things will improve. Time has taught us that simply hoping for things to get better rarely results in any change happening whatsoever. We know that change only comes as a result of action, but when we look to pop culture for leadership and positive influence we generally only find sugar-coated love songs, movies featuring people with superpowers, or EDM-fueled tracks about loving life that completely ignore the problems facing mankind.
Now, to be clear, these things are not bad. I love superhero movies and pop songs as much as the next person, but our world is in such a state of disarray that we need artists who are not afraid to speak out against all they see wrong. We need protest songs, and we need artists who encourage people to read up on what is happening around them. To use a colloquialism that the internet loves we need artist who are “woke AF,” and for my money there are few who seem to understand this quite like Canada’s hard rock kings, Billy Talent.
Yes, you read that right. The band we need now more than ever to urge us to take action is not even from America. Billy Talent have been making music that demands and influences action for over a decade at this point, and their new album Afraid Of Heights is no exception. Every song, from the riveting “Big Red Gun” to the closing reprise of “Afraid Of Heights,” speaks to the state of the world today. The band touches on our current fears, as well as the universal fear of the unknown. If we think things are bad now, then how much worse could they get? Billy Talent does not have the answer, but they do urge people to take action to prevent whatever unknown horrors may lie on the horizon from ever coming to fruition.
When you listen to Afraid Of Heights you cannot help feeling inspired and entertained simultaneously. The genius of Billy Talent’s sound has always been there way to raise awareness while also inducing mosh/circle pits with killer riffs and endlessly catchy hooks. Their latest work is as fun as it is important, and every ounce of me hopes you give it a chance to inspire you to make the world a better place when it arrives in stores this Friday, July 29.
James Shotwell is the Digital Marketing Manager for Haulix. He is also a professional entertainment critic, covering both film and music, as well as the co-founder of Antique Records. Feel free to tell him you love or hate the article above by connecting with him on Twitter. Bonus points if you introduce yourself by sharing your favorite Simpsons character.