Porridge Radio – Every Bad
It’s difficult not to expect the worst in 2020, but on Every Bad, Porridge Radio offer a soundtrack for how to carry on without letting it all get the best of you
Dana Margolin of Porridge Radio has said in interviews that when she was little, she wanted to be a poet. Where she’s ended up – lead singer and songwriter for one of the UK’s most hotly tipped indie bands of 2020 – isn’t that far off.
Every Bad is Porridge Radio’s second album, and their first on the Secretly Canadian label. With four years between their debut Rice, Pasta and Other Fillers, Every Bad is similarly anxious and seeking validation, endearing itself desperately to any listener who’s ever felt the same way. Where their debut was imbued with the youthful anxiety of not knowing, Every Bad is flooded with that hellish anxiety of your 20s, where the existential becomes the personal and vice versa.
Margolin’s lyrics are always addressed to some invisible 'you': opener Born Confused fixates on the looping line 'thank you for making me happy', sung with such desperation that you’re not sure if it’s true. Pop Song is a tongue-in-cheek antithesis to what pop is. Transposing all the shimmery sentiments of chart-toppers into something more down-tempo and realistic, it ends with the all-too-recognisable sentiment: 'please make me feel safe'. Throughout she’s seeking someone to hold her hand and tell her it’ll be alright.
All these pleas for outside validation and security are countered with tentative moments of self-affirmation. Long is an avowal to put yourself first and not waste your energy on people who wouldn’t do the same for you. Sweet is full of chaotic interludes, walls of noise that feel like defensive mechanisms from being caged in by outside expectations of what you should be. Lilac brings us an aspirational motto: 'I don’t want to get bitter / I want us to get better / I want us to be kinder / To ourselves and to each other'. Moving to shouting at the end, it’s a desperate attempt to cut through the bubbles we create around ourselves and to strive for human connection.
Every Bad might appear pessimistic, but there are glimmers of real hope throughout. It’s difficult not to expect the worst in 2020, but with their new album, Porridge Radio offer a soundtrack for how to carry on without letting it all get the best of you.
Listen to: Lilac, Born Confused, Long