One of the biggest indie bands to come out of the UK In recent years, Glass Animals have become known for their eclectic vision and laid back attitude. Bright, exuberant, and creative, their music has evolved over the years since their mega-successful 2014 debut, ZABA. Here we take a deep dive into five of the group’s most quintessential tracks.
‘Gooey’ was the front runner hit off their dreamy electronica debut, ZABA. The production on ‘Gooey’ is multi-faceted in true Glass Animals style, having started as a hip hop beat for another artist. The end result is a psychedelic indie rock number that meets American R n B, a recurring hybrid for the band. ‘Gooey’ is laden with slurred words, meta lyrics, and full of those ‘peanut butter vibes’ from start to finish. It’s interesting to note that their first big hit went relatively unnoticed in their homeland of the UK but skyrocketed onto the charts and earned Platinum status over in the USA (to the bands’ pleasant surprise), and has remained one of their most popular tracks to date. ‘Gooey’ is the ultimate trippy track, outlandish in many aspects – just check out the music video.
Life Itself (2016)
‘Life Itself’ was the first single from Glass Animals much-beloved sophomore album, 2016’s How To Be A Human Being that explores the lives of 11 strangers across 11 tracks that the band encountered on their tour travels. The final result is an album filled with powerful insights into the lives of a variety of individuals that landed the album a spot on the Mercury Prize shortlist. Hit single ‘Life Itself’ follows the narrative of an unemployed man on the outskirts of society who’s days are characterised by his dreams and lack of tangible ambition as he borrows money and lives at his mum’s place. ‘Life Itself’ is the embodiment of what Glass Animals did so well the second time around – humanising the world around us, forcing us to revisit how we see those from other walks of lives as well as ourselves, and to celebrate that (all to the background of jazzy production and catchy hooks).
Following on from ‘Life Itself’, ‘Youth’ is the second single released from How To Be a Human Being. Bayley and the band are known for their creative art direction and music videos, so it’s no surprise that the 11 character narrative of How To be A Human Being translates to their music videos. The music video for ‘Youth’ starts where ‘Life Itself’ ends, continuing the conceptual storyline with the same characters. While you can go down the rabbit hole of fan theories and meanings, the cohesion an in all aspects of How To Be A Human Being is what is most impressive. ‘Youth’ shows the group furthering the album narrative of the varied human experience and having compassion and understanding for one another. Deep dive analysis aside, ‘Youth’ is a rose-tinted celebration of the simultaneous love & pain, freedom & constraints, and the ups & downs of being young. One of their standout tracks and a fan favourite to see live, ‘Youth’ is one of Glass Animals most multi-faceted and quintessential tracks to date.
Tokyo Drifting (ft. Denzel Curry) (2019)
Their first track since 2015, ‘Tokyo Drifting’ marked the beginning of the Dreamland era with one of the world hottest rappers, Denzel Curry. ‘Tokyo Drifting’ starts out with unique harmonising vocals before breaking into a trap style beat that Bayley and Curry lay their fast-paced raps over. To inspire the swagger necessary for a track as high energy as ‘Tokyo Drifting’, frontman Dave Bayley looked to his alter ego ‘Wavey Davey’ for inspiration. Bayley elaborated, “It’s just a confidence thing – I’m a pretty shy person, and I do find being on stage a bit awkward sometimes. The only way to really shake that is to pretend to be somebody else; it kind of doesn’t matter what you do when you’re in that persona, because you can blame it on that person.” There was no bravado with Curry either, frontman Dave Bayley noted, and the two quickly bonded over growing up in the USA in the 80’s and 90’s, consuming similar entertainment that inspired the old school video game style music video. ‘Tokyo Drifting’ is set to feature on Dreamland since Bayley loves it so much, which will make it the first feature on any Glass Animals album (despite the many collaborations the band has worked on).
Arriving at the beginning of the month, just as the title would suggest, ‘Dreamland’ is a dreamy number that still holds on to the indie electro synths of the bands early days while developing further into a new sound. It’s soft and calm yet has some friction on the track that’ll keep you on your toes – a perfect fusion of the old and new. Bayley explained in an Instagram post that the general state of the confusion the world finds is in today makes us want to delve into old memories, creating that sense of eternal déjà vu and versions of our past selves. Dreamland draws on this and will be the group’s first auto biographical album opposed to looking into lives of others, with themes of nostalgia and a memoir-esque feel to it, which the title track perfectly summarises: “You want everything live, you want things you can touch / Make it feel like a movie you saw in your youth / Make it feel like that song that just unopened you”. ‘Dreamland’ marks a new chapter for Glass Animals and already feels like an internal dialogue or a dreamy sub-conscious self-reflection, a captivating concept for all.
Glass Animals third album Dreamland is due July 10th.