It’s hard to believe that it’s been nine years since The Script released their debut single We Cry that saw a fresh-faced Danny O’Donoghue strolling through the streets of New York. It may have only peaked at 15 in the UK charts, but that didn’t matter, it was just the beginning.
The Irish trio’s success since the release of their self-titled first album in 2008 has been unprecedented; with five (soon to be six) world tours, 29 million record sales and three multi-platinum albums under their belt, Danny, Mark and Glen have gone on to become one of the UK’s most successful bands.
We don’t really write music for it to be a hit, we’ve always stuck to what reflects us.
Their tracklist history and imprint on music over nearly a decade speaks for itself, and while they may be known for their rock/pop songs, the truth is The Script’s music goes much further than ballads. Give their songs a closer listen and you’ll discover that their lyrics are deeply meaningful, from personal thoughts and opinions in No Words, taken from their third album #3 to the heartbreak of a break-up in their new single Rain.
Honesty in their lyrics is something that Glen tells me the band honour over numbers in the charts. “We make music that we feel is honest at the time. We never try to think of the numbers, our job is more about the music and if we can do that well and do what’s true to us, the rest will follow. We don’t really write music for it to be a hit, we’ve always stuck to what reflects us.”
It’s been a while since we’ve heard new music from The Script. Their fourth album No Sound Without Silence was released back in 2014, what followed was a huge world tour that saw Danny undergo vocal surgery at the beginning of last year. The band’s previous records have been hugely successful, with their first, second and fourth album landing number one spots, and #3 peaking at two.
But with new bands and artists breaking through the industry and evolving at a rapid pace, I ask Glen whether himself, Danny and Mark found any pressure when it came to writing their fifth album, Freedom Child. “We’ve experienced less fear and more excitement. We’ve been a lot more willing to have a little bit of a play with our sound which is really what our single Rain is all about. We spent the first four to five years being stressed to bits trying to figure out if we were doing the right thing and what our next move should be. Now, we’re at the point where we want to fully enjoy it. We spent so much time worrying about things that we didn’t need to worry about.”
Going off the radar for a couple of years meant that the band’s fans have been eagerly awaiting new music. Their return was out of the blue, with videos popping up across their social media channels, they shortly released Rain, a single that was a far-cry from the clean-cut music that listeners were used to. “Initially people were worried about what we’d done and whether we’d completely changed our sound,” Glen says of Rain.
“We created it (Rain) as a single to hopefully get people to dance, when you come to one of our shows there aren’t any that make you want to jump up and down. We decided that we wanted to have a bit of fun with it to see if we could make that happen,” Glen explains. “We just wanted to try something a little bit different. Rain didn’t come until the end of the album, but it seemed to be the obvious choice for us to release it.”
Despite the band’s concerns about what people would think about Rain, it’s done rather well. As I’m writing this, the video alone has clocked up an impressive 27 millions views – and counting – on YouTube. But the song is just an introduction to what Freedom Child, has in store. “The theme of the album is quite serious,” Glen explains. “We decided that if we were going to have a serious conversation with people, one of the easiest ways to do that was by starting off with something light and then introducing what we actually want to say.”
There just needs to be a bit of united feeling in the world. We need to allow each other to be who we want without contempt or hatred.
The Script returned to the music scene after a traumatising time. Following the horrific Manchester attacks at Ariana Grande’s concert in May, the world was left in shock, but united to become stronger than ever. I ask Glen whether now, more than ever, if they felt it was important to write songs that reflect the world we’re living in.
“When we saw what happened in Manchester we were devastated as a band, it affected us really badly. We’ve played that venue before and it made us think that it could have easily been one of our shows,” he says. “Gigs are where people go to escape and enjoy music and this just felt like an attack on the community. It really hit home for us, it was such a tragedy and the fact that they pulled together the One Love concert in just a few days was just an amazing thing to show how nothing can tear down music. There just needs to be a bit of united feeling in the world. We need to allow each other to be who we want without contempt or hatred.”
Freedom Child, Glen explains, is all about freedom of expression. “The main message for us with the album is the fact that no-one is letting anyone be who they are,” he says. “There’s room for us all to be different and allowing those differences is how we can all live our lives and get along.”
But it goes deeper than this when Glen tells me how his bandmate, Mark was left in shock when his seven-year-old son asked him what terrorism was. “Mark’s son told him they were running drills in his school in case something ever happened; the children were being assembled in the playground and it made Mark just think about the world that we’re living in.”
The album’s title, which is also a song on the track list, reflects heavily on the theme. “The song has the lyrics ‘put a flower on the top of a gun, put confetti in an atomic bomb, it’s time to change, we’ve seen enough, instead of war, we’re declaring love’. We just feel now as a band that the answer is love, you bring love into the equation and even when you dial it back down to bullying, it’s all about accepting and loving one another.”
Freedom Child is out now!
The Script return to Birmingham’s Genting Arena next February! Click here to find out more!