Dressed head to toe in white to signify their “rebirth,” the Band Perry capped what they referred to as “Comeback Day” last night in Nashville with a performance of their new song “Comeback Kid.” It’s been an admittedly arduous year for the sibling trio of Kimberly, Neil and Reid Perry. They polarized fans with the pop-heavy single “Live Forever,” and parted ways with their record label after the experiment tanked. But the band says any reports that they were trying to launch a full-scale migration to pop were just rumors.
The group, who broke big in 2010 with the six-times platinum “If I Die Young,” are now a part of the Mercury Nashville family and used Monday to launch the new single, an inspiring anthem written by the band themselves about their situation.
“‘Comeback Kid’ is probably the most intensely personal lyric that we’ve ever written,” said Kimberly — who dyed her blonde hair brown to further drive home the rebirth — during a short press conference. “For all the imagination that went into ‘If I Die Young,’ it was really important to us with ‘Comeback Kid’ that we told the real-life narrative of everything we’ve been thinking and feeling over the past year. It’s no secret to anybody that we’ve undergone an amazing transformation, and it ended in such a bright, beautiful place, but it had its moments along the way of real and true struggle.”
Specifically, the band noted what they felt was unfair treatment from press outlets who ran with an unverified story, adding to the stress the trio was under to find a way to move forward. Lyrics like “They like to kick you when you’re down” address that feeling directly in “Comeback Kid,” but they also see the song as having a more universal message.
“It’s a difficult thing to feel like you have other people out there telling their version of your story,” Kimberly said. “So finally ‘Comeback Kid’ is our answer to that, but so much bigger than Neil, Reid and myself, it’s the story of anybody who’s walked through a challenging time and come out the other side on their feet and so much wiser for having gone through it.”
Starting out quiet and somber before eventually gaining strength and swelling into a triumphant anthem of self-discovery, the track was co-produced by the siblings with hip-hop, soul and pop producer Benny Cassette (a first for them) and features a sound that mixes country elements with orchestral strings and fist-pumping intensity. Sonically, it falls somewhere between the roots noir of “If I Die Young” and the hyper-fluorescent pop of “Live Forever,” while a subtle nod to the former reaffirms their country intentions in the second verse: “How dare you forget where I started out/Uh oh, uh oh,” it goes.
“The song is really in three phases,” Kimberly explained. “It starts out in extreme brokenness. . . By the time you get to the second verse it’s more about going, ‘I’m a little angry about this’ and resilience. From the bridge out is just pure joy and triumph and celebration. And [the closing line] ‘I’ll serve you ice cream and lemonade‘ is sort of like ‘Look, I don’t know why everything happened the way that it did,’ but I can get to the other side of it and be like, ‘We’re still cool.'”
After performing the new song live, Kimberly broke down in tears, overcome by a loud ovation and venue packed with label supporters pulling for the band’s restart. They also went on to preview two more new songs — the lighthearted up-tempo “The Best One Yet,” which evoked Queen, one of the group’s biggest influences; and a romantic brooder with a hammered piano backbone and boy-band harmony called “Stay in the Dark.” But “Comeback Kid” is clearly the trio’s primary message.
“The last year has been a really difficult one from time to time,” Kimberly said, regaining her composure. “There have been a lot of voices out there trying to tell their version of our story and our intentions that were completely wrong, and we just thank you for believing in us despite what you’ve heard. The Band Perry’s not going anywhere.”
The Band Perry’s third album is currently in the works, and “Comeback Kid” is available for streaming and purchase now. They’ll perform the song live from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as part of Today‘s Citi Concert Series on August 11th.