311 have made a career out of merging rock with reggae, and on their new track, “Showdown,” the band boils both of those genres down to their respective essence. The track, which is off the band’s upcoming Stereolithic LP, opens with a choppy, grungy riff and an almost power-metal guitar solo. But, just as it seems like we’re in the midst of a hard-rock rampage, the song snaps into a classic, jumpy ska beat. Vocalist Nick Hexum’s voice hasn’t changed a bit in 24 years, and as the band flips back and forth between their rock and reggae vibes, Hexum uses his Zen-like cool to muse on the fact that most victories come after dozens of defeats.
In fact, Hexum wrote the song specifically to act as sort of a band mantra. “‘Showdown’ is a song about perseverance and resilience in the face of adversity,” Hexum tells Rolling Stone. “As a band, we’ve always kind of kept an underdog mentality. It keeps us hungry. This is a song about getting back in the game no matter what life throws your way. Definitely looking forward to playing this one live.”