Track-By-Track: Blacked Out – ‘Wasted Breath’

Blacked Out’s Wasted Breath blends skate punk and thrash in a classic, timeless, and above all, heavy way. We chatted with them about their latest record.

Wasted Breath: Yes, we know starting an album with the title-track single everyone has heard before because the video was released months prior to the album is cheesy. It seems like something a major label exec would suggest for a band like Blur or Chumbawamba. In our defense, however, starting a record with a classic, four-count into a raging punk rock song is always a good thing. It sets the tone and lets the listener know what they’re in for. Or maybe we’re simply Chumbawamba wannabes.

Anyway, the lyrics question the value of wasting breath on hard-headed people, all while expending a lot of breath on the matter. Oh, the irony. So, now we get to play it night after night, wasting more and more breath, while claiming it’s pointless to waste said breath, which also indicates an unwillingness to engage in dialogue on our part, negating any sort of higher ground the lyrics would mistakingly assign, making us just as ignorant as the people the lyrics are complaining about. Yeah. It’s a logical mess. Probably best you don’t dig too deep on this one.

I Don’t Know: Lee wrote this song, and it’s his voice you hear crooning away on the track. He wrote the lyrics and most of the riffs a few years before joining Blacked Out. At that time, he was dealing with a lot of self-doubt and struggling to find a balance between his job, his relationship, and music. He took a good hard look at his life, examined his priorities, and decided he shouldn’t have to give up something he loves (music) in order to have a stable job and a relationship.

This song is about wanting to make progress in life without sacrificing your passions, so you gotta take control of your life and actively work toward the things you want. “I don’t want to give up one thing so I can do another,” he says, “I want to do what I can to do both.”

Shreddies: Super interesting story about the title of this song. Lee wrote the intro riff and recorded it so he could send it to the rest of the band. Pretty standard story so far, but here’s where it gets real crazy—you know how you have to name a computer file so it doesn’t just get labelled “untitled.mp3” or whatever?

Well, Lee named the file “shreddies.mp3” for no real reason in particular, and then as that riff developed into a whole song, the name just kinda stuck. Even after the lyrics were written and the name shreddies was no longer relevant. Yup. Reeaaalll interesting story. Having said all that, the lyrics address the disenfranchisement felt by younger generations due to the shitty economy/housing market/environment/etc. they’ve inherited from older generations.

So, if you really wanna reach for a connection between the song name and the lyrics, you could use the internationally famous, mass-produced breakfast cereal that is owned by an evil multinational corporation and is heavily associated with post-war boom times as a symbol for all that is fucked in the world, and can therefore assign it some relevance in context with the lyrics. But that’s quite a reach. Not too far of a reach for Morgan, though, because that thought process actually happened when it was time to decide what to name the song and he couldn’t think of anything clever on the spot, leaving us with the name “Shreddies.”

Tribullism: Lee came to the table armed with all the lyrics and almost all the riffs when the songwriting process was happening for Tribullism. Morgan just kinda helped put the pieces in place over numerous beers at Lee’s house. The lyrics were inspired by the juvenile, name-calling schoolyard pettiness in our political discourse which contributes to our increasingly polarized political climate.

The verses comment on how people often blindly follow the “us vs. them” mentality, taking sides and arguing for their team, regardless of whatever evidence might be available. The chorus uses an introspective lens and admits that sometimes we also get caught up in tribal behaviors. The moral of the story is that we should be empathetic and listen to everyone, even those we disagree with.

Wax Professional: This song doesn’t have a fun message or story behind it at all. Morgan wrote this one after witnessing a brutal assault while he was at work one afternoon. He was close enough to the whole thing that he could have intervened and prevented something truly vicious, but he hesitated because of the fact that he was at work at the time. He could have faced consequences for involving himself physically, so while his conscience was telling him one thing, his brain was busy trying to assess whether or not he should violate his employment regulations in order to do what he thought was right.

It was a crappy position to be in, and in those crucial seconds of hesitation, something terrible happened. So this song is an attempt to process the guilt he feels about allowing professional obligation to interfere with his basic, human decency. Has the song help alleviate anything? Well, the song doesn’t change what happened to the victim, and writing a song about a terrible traumatic experience means you get to relive it a little bit every time you play it, sooooo … Anyway, the lesson here is to help people who need it when you are in a position to help them. Sometimes you only get one chance to make a difference. Thanks for reading!

Order the album here. 

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