The thing I learned from repeated teenage listening to London Calling — something that held true through my 20s and remains true as I listen to it on my turntable as I write today — is that it is one of the exceedingly-rare examples of a perfect record. (I’ve already recounted my first experience with the perfect physicality of the record, which cannot be overstated; it is something that I obsess over in both creating and purchasing records to this day.) Even if you want to make the argument, as one almost always should with any double-record, that there is some filler somewhere — that filler comes maybe 13 to 15 tracks into the record. By today’s standards, putting that many tracks on a record without filler is a borderline impossible task.
Yeah, a lot of the record thematically is about working through depression and working through challenges with mental health, but we tried to kind of take a light approach, a gentle approach to it. I think music and this band particularly is supposed to be fun, fun for us and fun for the listeners. We’re in a band ’cause it’s a good time for us, and there’s this weird sort of paradox of you wanna write about the stuff that’s closest to your heart, the stuff that affects you the most. And for me in the past couple of years, that’s been depression and mental health.
Graham Isador, writing at CBC:
“I’m very conscious about speaking in universal terms because I don’t know anything. I only know about what this stuff means to me. One of the things that has definitely exasperated that battle with depression is this idea, both internally and externally from other people, saying, ‘What are you so bummed about? Look around you. Things are good for you. Your band’s having success. You have a really incredible partner.’ All of these external factors point to something that should make a happy individual. That’s not really how mental health — for me — works. Having success with the band doesn’t mean I’m happy.”
I highly recommend this interview if you’re a fan of the band. It really does add a lot of context to the lyrics on the upcoming album.