Single Review: The Crookes – Maybe in the Dark

By on Wednesday, 27th June 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

Sheffield’s Crookes know how to work their fans into a frenzy. They did a nail-biting countdown to the release of their newest video, ‘Maybe in the Dark’, on Facebook last Thursday. The video itself is a warts and all, musicians’ sweat, blood and tears, black and white presentation, which I find very interesting in that they could have easily hired in a selection of dance hall or club-type actors to recreate the story of the song literally.

By a mere 6 seconds, ‘Maybe in the Dark’ manages to be the shortest song on their second long player ‘Hold Fast’, and instrumentally, it’s a taut little number with melodic guitar guaranteed to stay in your head forever. Or at least a very long time. I know I can’t get it out. Not that you would ever want to: its gaiety and punchiness with George Waite’s rapid fire lyrics make for one engaging piece of pop music indeed. But therein, you see, lies the deception. Just like you can’t judge a book by its cover, you should never, ever judge a song solely on the way it sounds. The words, at least in my experience, are often criminally overlooked if the powers-that-be deem the song to be ‘catchy’. Sometimes, it is the lyrics that prove there’s something far deeper in meaning that the people who are stuck on the sheer catchiness fail to hear.

I asked Daniel Hopewell of the band if he would be so kind to provide me the lyrics for two reasons: so we could have a look together and I could better analyse them for the purpose of this review. Daniel’s punctuation has been kept intact below.

Maybe it’s just cheap easy lust with chemicals. We’re dirt forever.
Maybe we’re blessed. I’ll rip your dress, you pull my hair and we’ll leave together.
Maybe you’re young. I’ll bite your tongue, your lip will bleed. We’re trash forever.
Maybe you’re right, just for tonight. But your clumsy kiss won’t taste so clever.

And all I need is a substitute, maybe in the dark she’ll look enough like you….

I’ll take the shame, lust to blame. What if we ever meet again?
I’ll know your face, not your name. But we’ll know

Maybe I’ll find pleasure tonight? With chemicals I’ll hardly miss her.
Maybe you wear clothes like she wears. Same coloured hair. I’m sick forever.

And all I need is a substitute, maybe in the dark she’ll look enough like you….

I’ll take the shame, lust to blame. What if we ever meet again?
I’ll know your face, not your name. But we’ll know
Our eyes were bright, out of sight. Two strangers caught behind the night.
You’re the perfect second best.

Every time I see your ghost…(you’re the perfect second best)

Let’s attack the first verse, shall we? Lust and emotional fallout fueled by chemical means is nothing new, and neither is what the chemicals usually lead to, such as embarrassing situations (showing up at your ex’s door after she’s dumped you in the Script‘s ‘Nothing’) or just plain inappropriate action (even though she’s moved on, ringing your lost love in the middle of the night just to hear her voice in Stornoway‘s ‘Long Distance Lullaby’).

But the line going into the chorus is pretty telling: “and all I need is a substitute, maybe in the dark she’ll look enough like you…” Even though Waite sings this in such a way that seems carefree, it’s a loaded statement. He’s drinking to forget a woman. Beer goggles or whatever, lust has taken over and he’s accepted a girl who looks like the girl he loves is “good enough” in the dark and worthy of his affections, or at least worthy of his lust. The desire coupled with liquid courage is overtaking him, causing him to hallucinate this girl in front of him as “maybe in the dark she’ll look enough like you…” Call it a rebound move, call it what you want, but it is what it is.

And let’s talk about that darkness. I’ve had a couple conversations with some girlfriends of mine, and we’ve all agreed that as women, club lighting makes everyone look better: imperfections that would be obvious in bright or even regular lighting are minimised or disappear altogether. I imagine this also works conversely: if you’re a woman and you’re looking at a man, he probably looks all the more handsome and debonair, framed by the darkness. Taken together with the alcohol, this is setting up our protagonist for a train wreck. He knows it’s wrong, admitting “we’re dirt forever” and “we’re trash together”, willing to “take the shame, lust to blame” for his reckless actions, feeling completely regretful that “I’ll know your face, not your name” in his attempt to rub out the painful memories of the woman he lost with the woman that could be “…right, just for tonight”.

At the end of the song, there is one saving grace to his thoughts, if you could call it that. “You’re the perfect second best” is our protagonist’s admittance that no-one, even a cute girl he runs into while drunk at a dance, can take her place. This, I imagine, is the sadness he feels when he’s alone and stone cold sober. No matter how much you drink, the next day you wake up – with the hangover – and the realisation that yes, I’m still without her. No matter with what drink or what woman you try to rub her out of your life, the ghost of her still lives (“Every time I see your ghost…”) How they’ve managed to distill all these feelings in less than 2 and a half minutes is nothing short of a miracle. Unfortunately, I think most people will latch on the fact that “Hey! This is catchy as hell! Woohoo!” and not bother to look further.

However, reader, I implore you to try listening to this song in the dark, where you will find a lingering, heartbreaking feeling. Sometimes the most innocuous pop song reveals so much more, if you’re willing to scratch the surface.

9/10

You can help the Crookes out a bit in the funds department by preordering ‘Hold Fast’ on PledgeMusic. There is still some pretty sweet ‘prizes’ up for grabs, such as the signed guitar Daniel Hopewell used to record ‘Hold Fast’ (£350), a five-a-side football match with the band against you and your mates to take place in Sheffield (£100) and a set of 10 professionally matted photos of the band taken by drummer Russell Bates (£40), just to name three of many options. The Crookes’ album ‘Hold Fast’ drops officially on the 9th of July on Fierce Panda.

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[…] Luke discussed the legendary band's mark on metal and punk in this special feature… 'Maybe in the Dark' – Crookes' new single Mary's careful analysis of the new single from the Sheff…               […]

[…] further examination. Last year, band lyricist Daniel Hopewell indulged my interest in the words to single ‘Maybe in the Dark’ so I would have all of the words in front of me before I began my research. Expecting to have to […]

[…] further examination. Last year, band lyricist Daniel Hopewell indulged my interest in the words to single ‘Maybe in the Dark’ so I would have all of the words in front of me before I began my research. Expecting to have to […]

[…] me. I did a reasonably good job analysing Daniel Hopewell’s lyrics to ‘Maybe in the Dark’ on TGTF last year. But like a lot of other songs that have ‘grown’ with me over the years, this one is […]

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