.

Song Premiere: Bad Books Stray From Comfort Zone on 'Forest Whitaker'

New track 'feels like the missing piece to the record,' singer Kevin Devine says

Bad Books
Harrison Hudson
August 13, 2012 1:35 PM ET

Click to listen to Bad Books' 'Forest Whitaker'

When Bad Books' "Forest Whitaker" first starts playing, it's easy to forget that the band isn't a rap group. The song starts right up with a beat-heavy, disc-scratching funk – vaguesly reminiscent of Prince's "Raspberry Beret" – and then melts into the light-hearted pop tune that's more in line with an indie collaboration like this one, whistled melody and all. But what seems like a sort melodic-schizophrenia is actually what Bad Books is all about: experimentation and playing with melody.

"Bad Books is my therapeutic outlet," says Andy Hull, who is also the lead vocalist of inde-rock band Manchester Orchestra. "[It's] a place I can go and do whatever I want in the moment. Somehow, amazingly, it works out."

Bad Books began as a collaboration between folk singer-songwriter Kevin Devine and Hull in 2007, when Devine was signed to Favorite Gentlemen, then expanded to feature other members of Manchester Orchestra on Bad Books' self-titled 2010 debut. Now, with Bad Books II, their second full-length, due October 9th, the band maintains a unique sound, but the musicians have become more willing to stray from their comfort zones. "Forest Whitaker" is no exception.

"'Forest Whitaker' was the last song written for the album," Devine says. "Andy came up with the bones and basic structure and fattened it up in instrumentally with Robert while I was finishing up my spring tour with Say Anything. I came in and we dug into those harmonies and Strokes-y synth/video game guitars, which was super fun and expansive, different for us texturally. I love the lyric and melody-ear candy with a twist of darkness to keep it off-balance, save it from being saccharine. Feels like the missing piece to the record."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com