Made up of pop-punk dreamboats Mark Hoppus and Alex Gaskarth, Simple Creatures is a new-wave, pop rock duo that showcases the bittersweetness of classic noughties ’emo’ music but experiments with synth-pop influences. Their first EP ‘Strange Love’ hits all the right spots for a pop punk fan, whilst still creating a new sound that differs from the member’s forefront bands (Blink-182 and All Time Low).
In promotional interviews when the duo first debuted, Hoppus mentions English band ‘The Cure’ as their main influence saying “the sense of taking these catchy, slick pop songs, but threading them with dark themes, sometimes sad or challenging lyrics, really appealed to us“. As a music fan who grew up relishing in the likes of My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco and All Time Low – the lyrical concept of Simple Creatures was exciting and refreshing. Using music as a coping strategy for stressful days, bad moods and mental health dips is a tightrope as you don’t want to sink into too many sad songs and make it worse but the concept of dark pop fits perfectly as a therapeutic sound – upbeat instrumentals to keep you going but honest, genuine lyrics that speak the emotions you’re struggling to say.
“It’s a lyrical experience akin to someone reaching into your heart and dragging it out onto your sleeve.“
My first listen-through of Strange Love was a positive one; ‘Drug’ headlines the entire EP with a fantastic, almost addictive guitar lead. It’s no surprise Alex Gaskarth described it as the ‘song that best defined Simple Creatures‘. Another highlight is ‘Adrenaline‘ which was favoured enough to eventually have a video release in which Hoppus and Gaskarth feature as a security duo. Adrenaline is a catchy single concerning the addiction of an unhealthy relationship or the attachment to someone you shouldn’t quite be with. With seemingly blunt lyrics such as ‘Six-feet underneath my misery’ hidden in the fantastic, memorable chorus.
Simple Creature’s latest venture is two singles gearing up to their next release – the second EP ‘Everything Opposite’. The first single from Everything Opposite was ‘Special‘, which debuted June 2019 and holds a special place in my heart and possibly stands out as one of my top 5 songs to come out of 2019.
Mark Hoppus’s introductory lyrics within ‘Special’, crossed with the synthetic beats are enough to induce goosebumps. The lyrics in the song’s chorus is then a slap in the face for most creatives and people growing up in this generation; recognising how much pressure we are all under and despite knowing this unfair pressure we still want to be the ‘special’ person to beat it all and come out on top. Gaskarth took to Twitter the day after the single’s release to explain his thought process of the song and he explains that it’s an ode to self-sabotage and the internal battle ‘we often wage within ourselves’.
The bridge of ‘Special’ brings the incredibleness of the song together, with daydream-esque vocals that almost make you recognise how you’re feeling before an excellent riff that brings you back to the relatable chorus. Gaskarth singing ‘When the hell is it gonna get better?’ in the final chorus really brings the song’s emotional experience all together – the raw honesty of feeling you’ve been put on earth for a reason and that you want to find your specialness, but along with the guilt that you shouldn’t be feeling this way because it could be so much worse. It’s a lyrical experience akin to someone reaching into your heart and dragging it out onto your sleeve. I bloody adore it, inevitably making it one of my most re-played songs on Spotify.
” I just wanna wake up // put a smile on my face, that isn’t made up. Float just like a feather // Or sink just like a stone thrown in a river.”
Despite their second EP being unfortunately delayed. The likes of ‘Special’ and recent release ‘Thanks, I Hate It’ proves enough to be excited about for Simple Creature’s future endeavours. A brilliant duo to come out of pop-rock music in 2019 that is blossoming and excelling from Hoppus and Gaskarth’s fantastic chemistry and is a great medicine for anyone missing the days of 2009 emo goodness.