Last year, the Philadelphia trio Control Top released their ferocious, addicting debut album Covert Contracts, one of the best albums of 2019. Since then, they’ve taken the album on the road, and when we’re able to see live shows again you should absolutely see Control Top sometime; they were actually one of the last performances I caught before everything shut down, and they are the kind of raucous, noisy band that offers something like a cleansing experience when you see them onstage.
Today, Control Top are back with their first new song since Covert Contracts. It’s called “One Good Day” and singer Ali Carter shared a timely, lengthy quote detailing the inspiration behind the song, speaking about quarantine amidst coronavirus, and endorsing Bernie Sanders for president:
When Al [Creedon] showed us the beginnings of this song, I was instantly hooked by its upbeat feel. I set out to write a pop vocal melody with a positive message that didn’t sound trite, which is harder said than done. I ended up with “One Good Day”, a song about about a few things: facing your flaws to become a better person for yourself and the people around you, getting outside of yourself to realize everyone has their own struggles and are doing the best they can, and above all trying to help each other even if what we do is imperfect.
Some problems we inherit, like mental health or substance abuse issues, and some problems stem from our environment, like home or working conditions. Some problems are individual and some problems are systemic, the product of entrenched social structures that favor one group over another. Whatever the cause, they are ours to deal with, and they will continue to disrupt our lives until we work through them. Problems are persistent and won’t let you ignore them for long. They can also be the greatest teachers. It is worthwhile to listen to them.
As frustrating as they can be, our problems–personal, local and global–bind us together. Many of us are facing very similar issues. We can’t solve all our problems alone. We depend on one another for support, but we can’t help each other if we can’t help ourselves. If we can show ourselves compassion, overcome shame and self-hate and allow ourselves to grow into the people we want to be, we can also develop empathy for one another. Cynicism is a coping mechanism of avoidance. It is difficult to be vulnerable, but it is the only way to access love.
This song feels especially relevant right now. We’re in the midst of an unprecedented public health crisis with the coronavirus outbreak. Our lives have been completely suspended. We are forced to consider not only how we affect others but also how others affect us. In no uncertain terms, we see how much we depend on each other every day to survive. Workers in hospitals, pharmacies, groceries, waste management and more are working tirelessly to provide for their communities. The choice to self-quarantine is an act of self-protection as well as an act of kindness toward others who would be endangered by the disease.
People can’t go to work or leave their homes. All we can do is try to keep calm and make the best of this situation. What have we been missing due to the constant motion of our daily lives that we can return to in this period of stillness? Connection with friends and loved ones? Activities that make us happy? Deep spiritual reflection? How can we bring balance to this bleak landscape? Perhaps we take a cue from the people of Italy currently under lockdown, singing from their balconies to share a moment of joy in a moment of anxiety.
The fact is, we’re in this state of collective uncertainty and panic because our government has failed to act and communicate information in a timely and appropriate manner. It’s clear now more than ever that we need a president like Bernie Sanders who puts the needs of the American people above Wall Street bailouts, makes sure every single person gets quality healthcare and understands that our problems are not isolated or disconnected.
In addition, drummer Alex Lichtenauer wrote about the band pushing themselves out of the comfort zone of their debut, sticking to their punk aesthetic but striving for something more “positive.” The song comes from a slightly unexpected influence, with Creedon citing the fact that he was hooked on the Bee Gees and toying with a syncopated verse inspired by “You Should Be Dancing.”
As a result, “One Good Day” certainly feels like an extension of the poppier tracks on Covert Contracts, like “Chain Reaction” or “Straight Jackets.” Control Top have smoothed out some of the more frantic corners of their music, with Carter singing lines like “Just tell me something positive/ I don’t care if it’s cliche” over ever-so-slightly slicker distortion. The band’s delivery has not calmed much at all though, and “One Good Day” is still as punchy and emphatic as we’ve come to expect from Control Top. Check it out below.
“One Good Day” is out now.