When we spoke to The Script back in July around the release of their latest single Rain, they told us the accompanying album Freedom Child was packed with “extreme emotions… We cover everything from terrorism, to heartbreak, to euphoria.”
Heartbreak and euphoria are themes the pop-rock trio have become well versed in over their last four studio albums, but the decision to tackle the topic of terrorism, they told us, came about from member Mark Sheehan’s son, who’s 7-year-old son asked him to explain what it meant. His response inspired the title track, Freedom Child.
“Our freedom has been attacked,” Mark said of the need for a political slant to the album. “Our creative, sexual and religious freedoms have been under attack from different enemies and as a band we have to have a message about that. We are so bombarded by the negative you have to believe in the power of music to have meaning and to heal.”
The Script have a very strong record on the Official Albums Chart; three of them have reached Number 1 (the only one that didn't, 2012’s #3, peaked at 2) and their UK album sales alone top out at three million. All signs are pointing to another success this time around; in a climate where bands struggle to compete in the Top 40, Freedom Child's lead single Rain is on course to hold inside the Top 20 for its fourth consecutive week this Friday (Sept 1).
Rain’s summery, slick and reggae-light sound was a well-judged shift in gear (albeit subtle) to ensure they’re still radio friendly, and further exploration into new genres can be found on the album. Opener No Man Is An Island and Wonders see them delve into piano-driven EDM, again a move to fit into the current music climate.
“They’re favouring EDM and electronic on radio, so how as a band, do we fit in?" Mark said. "It really a case of adapt and change or die. Look at people like Royal Blood – they’re a great example of the change. They’ve made their heavy sound more edible on their new album. Even The Killers and Imagine Dragons.”
Helping the band navigate new territory are an array of hitmakers. Oscar Görres (Britney's Glory album, Tove Lo's Lady Wood) worked on the electro-squiggling anthem Deliverance, Grammy-winning Adam Messinger (Justin Bieber, Halsey) is credited on the gospel-like ballad Arms Open, and their paired up again longtime collaborator Andrew Frampton, who had a hand in David Guetta's hugely successful Listen album.
The changes in their sound on Freedom Child are merely flourishes, though. The record is still rooted in their trademark lighter-waving stadium soft-rock, particularly on tracks Eden and Rock The World, the latter of which features a guitar line reminiscent of Red Hot Chili Peppers' By The Way.
Meanwhile, Divided States and Freedom Child tackle today’s turbulent times, with the former taking aim at America. “Another scandal from the man charge/ Another white-collar criminal at large,” Danny sings, before calling for unity, while the title track and closer takes a more optimistic approach, proclaiming “only love can defeat them” on the chorus. Yes it’s a tad on the corny side, but The Script are hardly known for their subtlety, are they?
The Script's new album Freedom Child is out on September 1.