"(Oooh) Could this be the millionth warning?
(Oooh) Does this mean I'm gonna get out?
(Oooh) Could somebody gimme an answer?
(Oooh) That shapeshifter coming for me." Bad Friday, Everything Everything (single, 2022)
There’s arrogance in determining that one band tells the entire story of the collapsed world you see around you. Or assuming that that’s an experience that others are having. I notice in myself an arrogance when I have in the past have pointed to Everything Everything as a band that sees what’s happening.
It took a while for me to stop thinking of Everything Everything as the band who signal the apocalypse, and back to being just one that signals my own state of mind during what feels like an ending… what to me has felt like the ending stages of the world as it currently stands, lurching forwards as a capitalist death machine intent on literally murdering everyone in order to make the number go higher.
The ways in which I felt Everything Everything spoke to that feeling in me, I’m realising, are not them being accurate harbingers. But just somebody else, another collection of people reacting to the massiveness of the world by flailing around on the ground, asking ridiculous questions and having hyperbolic violent fantasies wash over them.
Lying down screaming “what is at the end of time, and do I live there with my nemesis, are we melting?!! I sure feel like I’m melting right now!” accompanied by the sounds of machines, and long stretches where you don’t need to ask a question because the pulse of the starfield and the colours in a deisel puddle are enough to keep you going for now.
My vision of the world is as hostile to itself, as producing a type of nonsense call that requires responses in equally hyperbolic and garbled language. All consuming, and the band Everything Everything, in their very name, have been the band of that vision for the past decade.
I’m sure it’s something to do with them sounding a bit like me, and being there on the radio when I was a young teen in 2010 singing a song like MY KZ, YR BF, one that represents cheating with a girl at a party up against the feelings and violence of a military invasion.
I for a long time during puberty and the chaos that caused in me and all around me, thought that Everything Everything was the one band that truly understood how I was experiencing life. In the albums Man Alive and Arc was something confrontational and epic and sexual and helpless and, in the early 2010s, digitally powered. One you are only able to respond to with ground thrashing.
When those feelings died down, or I pushed it far down inside me, hiding from my sexuality and gender, I got more philosophical about it, connected them instead to the current events they were so obviously responding to. A poor kid who goes on guardian.com and listens to 6 Music approach to the world led by English teachers and the consciousness of “issues” among my whole generation reacting to social justice approaches online.
Their music seemed to be following that train too, the album Get To Heaven coming out as I was becoming 17, real smart and clever like. With songs explicitly about capitalist violence and the inevitable popularity of populism, and the dreadful awfulness of it all, it is an album that feels like you’re sitting there at a computer watching YouTube, spinning around in an office chair and throwing up.
It’s, “I’m telling you, it’s bad” and the next album A Fever Dream, which comes as I’m in University in 2017, 5 years ago now, is the peak of this feeling. I don’t resent them for it though, like I might a song like ‘We didn’t start the fire’, because I never thought they were being obnoxious.
I agreed and still do, and will do forever, that things are bad, because I’ve experienced the life that they paint. The life of neglect and wilful murder by power that in the UK we’ve been experiencing and causing globally since forever, but acutely in the past 2 years, as we are at all points collectively reminded of our worth only as economic assets, ready to die for the money machine.
A Fever Dream feels like a reaction to the levels of fascist intent and obvious far right sentiment rising in the US and Europe and the feelings of inability to do anything about it. The opener ‘Night of the Long Knives’ makes that clear with a title like that, and the lines
“Yes the bomb may be falling
In the lies where you stood
Man I know it’s a real big shame about your neighbourhood
I’m the wrong kind of people
Why’d you listen to me?”
and the chorus repetition
“It’s coming (Shame about your neighbourhood)”
You can understand why I felt reluctant to say that they aren’t ‘The Band’ of ‘The Apocalypse’ when it’s deep in there. But I think, it’s wise to note that hopeless forecasting is just one powerful way in which reactions to a bleak experience of life manifest. Everything Everything know this themselves, at least their music has a self awareness that this is a personal thing, a feeling, more than Billy Joel’s list of burning items.
It’s on me I guess to step back and accept that it’s one artistic formation, a band trying to sum up a deeply huge experience and always bumping against the personal against desire and wanting to just, switch it all off.
That it’s not the whole thing. It’s just something that makes experiencing it more bearable. Because someone can say what I’ve felt about the world. Can sing it.
Their last album RE-ANIMATOR feels like them realising something like that too. That they can vary their responses. It’s an album that cries out for a celestial reckoning at points, that wants a personal and intimate relationship to the cosmic death that they have been predicting, because it might just be something better than where we are right now. It’s BIG.
their most recent single feels smaller, in a way that’s good, really good. and by its lyrics, it’s pace and frenetic tension alone ‘Bad Friday’ also feels like the first song they’ve made about an actual present tense interaction with other people since MY KZ, YR BF, another violent one too. the first time they’ve looked at their songs maybe and gone wow, what have I been doing for ten years. What am I even? How did I end up knocked out on the pavement like this?
or at least the first time since their first album where I’ve been able to hear and feel their separateness from the voice in my own head.