The post Arkells Break Down New Album Blink Twice Track by Track: Exclusive appeared first on Consequence.
Arkells have returned with Blink Twice, the group’s follow-up to 2021’s Blink Once. Available Friday, September 23rd via Universal and Virgin Records, the latest from the Canadian rockers is a reflective ten-track run. For this LP, the band turned outward, exploring the world around us with a sense of wonder.
“Blink Twice is about going to unknown places and seeing the world with new eyes,” shares frontman Max Kerman. There are stories behind every song, and Kerman shares some of the points of inspiration for the tracks in the album below.
“As a band, one of our goals is to remain curious and mystified by the process of writing and recording music,” he adds. “We always want to feel like we don’t know exactly what we’re doing. That’s when you stumble into the exciting stuff.”
The album features of a slew of exciting collaborators, including fellow rockers Cold War Kids, pop singer-songwriter Lights, and more than one sister duo — Aly & AJ and Tegan and Sara both appear on the record. “All of the guests and new voices allow us to evolve into something we haven’t been before,” explains Kerman. “At our core, we’ll always be a living, breathing soul band. But Blink Twice lets us be that and more.”
Read Kerman’s track by track breakdown and stream Blink Twice below.
If we’re being honest, “Reckoning” is an “eat the rich” song. The song is about privileged people who bury their heads in the sand. It’s also about the admiration for those who lead by example and want justice for people beyond their own kin. We wanted the song to be big and cinematic. Something that felt like walking through the streets at nighttime. We were inspired by everything from Justice to Run The Jewels. At this point in our career as musicians, we only wanna go where inspiration takes us.
“Past Life (ft. Cold War Kids)”:
Last fall we were in LA working on music and had this driving ’80s song about being present in the moment, and liberating yourself from the past. We wrote the first verse and left the second one open, hoping that Nathan from Cold War Kids might be drawn to the idea. CWK were one of our early influences when we started our band, and we’ve been lucky enough to share the stage with them over the years. We had a lyric about the song “One Headlight” and luckily, Nathan also loves The Wallflowers and is a huge Bob Dylan fan. He wrote his verse as the perfect reaction to what was already there. Additively catchy driving sing-a-long.
“Take Back Everything”:
It’s about learning how to accept a new reality. It’s about re-writing your own story. This was written during the pandemic when I was going through a lot of change. It started off as an acoustic arrangement and then got turned up a little into this Tom Petty kind of song. Even when you’re lamenting a lost love, you gotta keep moving forward.
“Human Being (ft. Lights)”:
We wanted a chaotic energy – something like Talking Heads meets Billy Joel. We are learning a lot about ourselves on this record. This song is about finding a truer version of yourself – the one you’ve hid in the past. The song is searching for a kind of freedom that conventional life paths have to offer. Once we had it in good shape we sent it to our friend Lights who is the best at writing about this kind of discovery. She wrote the bridge, which has some of my favorite lyrics on the album:
“Tell me that you’re high or something/ Show me how your lips can function/ I wanna hear new songs, I wanna meet new people/ And move on if it don’t move the needle.”
“Teenage Tears (ft. Tegan and Sara)”:
As a teenager, there is an intensity to love and heartbreak that is unparalleled. As we get older, most of us level out, but once in a while you’ll get that pang of heartbreak that brings you back to that feeling you has as a 17-year-old. I think as songwriters it’s important to not forget that feeling. We sent the song to Tegan and Sara and the timing was perfect. They recently re-recorded a bunch of songs from their teenage years and have a television show coming this fall called High School. They were the perfect voices for this song.
We’re not typically a bummer band, but this is as angsty and self-loathing as it gets. It’s reflecting on the hole you’d dug, and how you might get out of it. The piano in verse two has a Beatles-y thing to it, but otherwise firmly lives in some 90s rock nostalgia.
“Nowhere To Go (ft. Wesley Schultz, Jake Clemons)”:
We played The Grey Cup Halftime Show with The Lumineers and bonded with them over our mutual love of Bruce Springsteen and Bleachers. We sent a demo of this song to Wes and he came back with some notes and ideas. He recorded his part at home in Denver and added a narrative and sense of imagery that is so distinctly him. We were sitting on an instrumental section after the second chorus for about five months and didn’t know what to do with it. We decided to go right to the source and reach out to Jake Clemons of the E Street Band. And boy did he deliver. Pump it loud on the freeway.
“Dance With You (ft. Cœur de pirate, Aly & AJ)”:
We’ve always loved French music. From ’60s folk to modern electronic music, the sound of the language is unmistakably cool and romantic. Once the song began to come together, we reached out to Beatrice (Cœur de pirate) to pen the French verse. Our pals Aly & AJ sang on the choruses and the song immediately felt like nothing we’ve ever been part of before. Blink Twice is about going new places and seeing the world in a new way. That’s what “Dance With You” represents to us.
This is that sad song you listen to on the way home from the bar. It’s the song you listen to when you’ve run out of ideas. We love the vulnerability of bands like The 1975 who are so good at articulating the weirdness of relationships. We wanted the production to feel timeless and modern at the same time.
“Something’s Gotta Give (ft. Joel Plaskett)”:
During the peak part of the pandemic I started going to these jam sessions with childhood friends I grew up with. We hadn’t played together for 15 years. There was nothing do but hang out in a garage in the middle of December and play Rolling Stones songs. That’s what inspired this song. Something ’70s and bar-band-y. We sent the song to our hero Joel Plaskett and asked if he wanted to play guitar and sing on it. He sent it back and it immediately felt like we were in his band. It doesn’t get much cooler than singing a song with your hero.