The Script first came to my attention with their hugely successful single “Breakeven” from their debut self-titled album. “Breakeven” was one of those rare songs that I loved from the first time I heard it. So I was excited to listen to their sophomore effort, which was released in January here in the States, and to see how it compared to their debut album, which has enjoyed huge worldwide success. Fortunately, all the best things from their first album are still there – the anthemic choruses, the blend of hip hop rhythms with emotive storytelling lyrics, and the lead singer’s soulful vocals soaring above it all.
Science & Faith was written and produced by lead singer Danny O’Donoghue and guitarist Mark Sheehan and recorded in both London and Dublin. For the second time, the duo have managed to craft an album filled with emotion-packed songs and flowing melodies, influenced by their love for pop, rock, soul, and hip hop. There are more than a few similarities to bands like The Fray, Lifehouse, and especially OneRepublic, but The Script’s use of hip hop and R’n’B rhythms sets them apart. American soul music was one of The Script’s most significant influences. It played an important role in O’Donoghue and Sheehan’s musical upbringing and makes for an appealing twist to the usual pop formula. The heavy use of pianos throughout the album also reveals how much The Script owes to the English band Keane (“Somewhere Only We Know”).
In addition to O’Donoghue and Sheehan, the Script is comprised of drummer Glen Power, and all three are, as you may have guessed, Irish. What intrigued me most at first is that their lyrics reflect this – the band hasn’t fallen into the trap of Americanizing their lyrics. They sing about their “mates” taking them to their “local down the street,” standing in line at the “dole,” and “leaving the kettle on” for a lover who’s left. In addition, they unashamedly sing about getting drunk to forget old girlfriends and about the almost irresistible modern temptation of drunk dialing.
“For the First Time” is the first single from the album and, I have to say, who knew a song about economic depression could be so good? The song was an instant success because the subject matter resonated immediately with people around the world:
“She needs me now, but I can’t seem to find the time
I’ve got a new job now on the unemployment line
….Trying to make it work but man these times are hard…”
The heartbreaking track, “Nothing,” a post-break-up number, is one that I think many people will find themselves relating to. The song rings with painful truth and is far and away my favorite song on the album. The lyrics are achingly beautiful as they recount this tale of heartbreak:
“I’m swearing if I go there now
I can change her mind turn it all around
And I know that I’m drunk but I’ll say the words
And she’ll listen this time even though they’re slurred
Dialed her number and confessed to her
I’m still in love but all I heard was nothing.”
“If You Ever Come Back” is a song about continuing to love someone who’s addicted. Although the subject matter is bleak, the overall message is one of forgiveness and acceptance. The very catchy chorus and upbeat melody help to reinforce this. Other highlights from the album include the dramatic “Exit Wounds” and “Walk Away,” a darker song lyrically than anything else on the album which also features the rapper B.o.B.
Aside from the catchy choruses, O’Donoghue’s energetic vocals, and the radio-friendly riffs, the strength of Science & Faith ultimately lies in its very contemporary nature, both musically and lyrically.
Check the WRL catalog for Science & Faith.