The Script’s secret weapon is a simple one: a killer chorus, which they deploy often.
Fraser McAlpine 2010
The chorus to a pop song can be a wonderful thing. No matter how unsettling or scratchy the verse, no matter how atonal and challenging the bridge, everything comes right in the joyous rush of a decent chorus. The chorus is where storm-clouds are parted, waves calm, and sunshine lights up the darkest corners of the human soul as abruptly as fluorescent strip-lights in a scary cellar.
The Script have just such a chorus, and they know it: so much so that it has been crammed, with minor trims and fiddles, into almost every song on their second album. It’s their secret weapon, a chugging, stately thing which is designed to be equally at home in a stadium sing-along or as the soundtrack to an emotional montage in a TV drama.
What they do is set up a four (or sometimes three) chord trick, where the piano and bass play an urgent four-beats-to-the-bar and Danny O'Donoghue urgently crams a ton of words into a short melodic fragment, which he repeats a lot. He gets to rant and hoot, and they get to strike a few epic rock poses. Everyone’s a winner.
You can tell he loves his hip hop as much as his Keane and U2 – although let’s not get carried away, it’s Keane that win, by a mile – and his sandpaper croon carries a lot of emotional force, particularly on lovelorn snuggles like For the First Time and Nothing.
The downside of relying on this one good idea quite so much – apart from the rising suspicion that you’re stuck in a musical mirror-maze – is that songs which are not blessed with The Chorus seem to be half-finished. Walk Away, for example, is a moodier beast than everything else on offer, being closer to Eminem’s self-piteous darkness than Coldplay’s sunny optimism. But after a heap of consecutive Big Chorus songs, it’s hard to escape the feeling that something has been mislaid.
Luckily, it’s not a problem anyone has to put up with for very long.
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