“Below” is a song unlike anything that White Lung has ever done before, and it’s exhilarating because of it. It’s the unabashed anthem on Paradise, the band’s upcoming third album, and unlike their previous two records, there’s no hardcore influences to be found here. Maybe the switch-up comes as a little less of a surprise after the relative lightness of their first two singles — “Hungry” and “Kiss Me When I Bleed” — but “Below” approaches another level altogether: that of the straight-up pop banger. Of course, it’s not that, but it certainly borrows its blueprint from one, right down to the three-and-a-half minute runtime. When Mish Barber-Way’s voice soars out, “You know this means nothing if you go die alone,” it’s both a rousing call to do exactly the opposite of that and a crushing reminder that maybe that’s all we’re fated for. “A broken crystal carcass reflects in all the light/ I see it fading now but it’s so bright, so bright,” she continues as she beckons us to go down below with her, “back where the sea meets the ground.” This song taps into some visceral and primal feeling that I can’t exactly put my finger on, but it makes me want to listen to nothing else for as long as I live.
“I needed to try to do a ballad about glamorous women,” Barber-Way said. “It’s based on a quote by Camille Paglia from an interview she did a few years ago in Toronto. ‘Beauty fades. Beauty is transient. That is why we value it,’ she said. ‘Feminism’s failure to acknowledge that beauty is a value in itself, that even if a woman manages to achieve it for a particular moment, she has contributed something to the culture.‘ It’s a song about the preservation of glamour and beauty.”
The new track comes attached to a video directed by Richard Bates Jr. that features the band playing to an almost-empty theater save for a few Marilyn Monroe impersonators, one of whom is model AnnaLynne McCord. Watch and listen below. “White Lung plays for an audience of impersonators who come to the realization that they’ve betrayed themselves in the pursuit of fame,” Bates Jr. explained in a press release. “‘Below’ is a love-letter to influential female artists from the past. Our video serves to reinforce the notion that what makes an artist special cannot be manufactured.” Watch and listen below.
Paradise is out 5/6 via Domino.