No matter where you travel in the world, music always seems to be a constant. While different countries might have different artists they idolize, any country’s music can be listened to from another part of the world and still invoke an emotional response. Language-barriers aside, this universal relation to music stems from our ability to take lyrics about nearly anything and relate to them. Regardless where the song was written, or even when, the first thing you do when taking a song in for the first time is try to relate it to some experience in your own life. This, in my opinion, is what truly classifies music as art. For example, “Better Days,” by Black Cat & Magpies, a song about self-isolation and longing for a happier life, can easily be related to the current pandemic and isolation the world is going through.
Starting off with a simple drumbeat, the guitars and bass soon join in to create an infectious melody sounding similar to something by Catfish and the Bottlemen. Singer Nathan Webber begins singing in a style reminiscent of vocalist Robert Smith of The Cure, “Now I don’t think that I should explain myself / Because there are some things that are better left unsaid.” Seemingly taking place after something has gone wrong, Webber explains that not everything needs to be analyzed. Not only are things sometimes too personal to share, but it’s also possible for them to hurt the feelings of others. Despite his refusal to discuss his thoughts currently, he does state, “I know all will be revealed eventually.”
We enter a shortened version of the hook before the second verse, where Webber states, “Better days / Better days are coming / Better days.” By keeping the melody catchy and the words few and vague, this chorus is sure to get stuck in your head. Going back to relatability, I’m sure everyone could find themselves listening to this and reflecting upon better days. The second verse follows a similar pattern to the verse one. Reemphasizing that he would rather not discuss his thoughts, Webber sings, “Now I’m comfortable keeping this to myself.” Even though his decision to not be open might make those around him uncomfortable, he retorts with, “I’m uncomfortable ‘round everybody else.” Again emphasizing his dedication to shuffling around the issue and keeping everything bottled up inside, he sings, “I know I’m safe if I just keep it all inside.”
Back into the hook, which is repeated twice this time around, we see Webber repeatedly reminding himself that things will get better. In a short yet effective bridge, the melody switches up as Webber opens up on why he prefers his isolation, “What can you give when you ain’t got nothing at all?” Believing that he has nothing to give up anyways, he then sings, “What can they take when you just don’t care anymore?” So, clearly, he believes that either way, even if he had words to share about his thoughts, it wouldn’t matter because they all equate to nothing in the end. He feels as if the people around him can’t provide or take anything as long as he remains closed off and guarded.
The song ends on the reminder, once again, that “Better days are coming.” Clearly pulling inspirations from bands such as The Cure to Catfish and the Bottlemen, Black Cat & Magpies have successfully crafted a fun sounding song with a melody which will get hooked in your mind. With lyrics dealing with universal subjects such as isolation and longing for a better tomorrow, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who can’t relate to the subject matter. Whether the song represents being stuck in the memories of yesterday or living through a pandemic and isolating yourself from everyone, it captures an emotion which can be applied to everyone, no matter where or who they are.