Way to make an entrance! Seemingly flying out of nowhere right into our field of focus is X-Ennials and their debut full-length record Senseless American Tragedy. Due out October 29th, this is no conventional album made by a band slowly growing towards unleashing their musical introduction.
Not that long ago, frontman Anthony Davis was the furthest thing from a rock star. Just last year, he was in his eighth year of service as a member of the Nashville City Council. Then the COVID-19 pandemic came along and everything quickly started to change. When it really grabbed hold of the world and the death toll began to skyrocket, the inspiration just suddenly started to overcome Davis and lyrics began to almost write themselves.
Being a public servant for all of those years, and a person who is naturally very politically astute, the accumulating havoc that the pandemic was causing motivated him to start writing that album that he was always capable of, but just had never gotten around to.
Explaining the context of the album, Davis told us,
“This record is dedicated to the 700,000+ American lives lost (to date) from COVID-19. We have lost over 4.5 million worldwide. So many of these deaths could and should have been prevented. The album is meant to provide some sort of reckoning to what has transpired over the last year and a half. An accounting of the suffering we have had in America. While a worldwide tragedy of biblical proportion, this record is dedicated to those we lost here at home.
“It’s a two-part album dealing with ‘The Horror’ of being in it, and experiencing such fear and loss, followed by ‘The Aftermath,’ dealing with the strength it takes to move on, the ups and downs, and some semblance of moving forward for the families and friends of our 700,000 losses.
“Sonically, the entire record was recorded with ‘90s rock in mind. X-ennials utilized ‘90s instruments and gear to achieve that signature sound, and the songwriting having a bit of a ‘90s rock/pop bent speaks for itself.”
Both a political statement and an ode to perhaps the greatest decade of rock music ever, Senseless American Tragedy casts a wide appeal to fans of rock, both young and old. Along with the debut of the record, Davis joins us for a special track-by-track rundown of each song on the album, offering us personal insight into his frame of mind writing and recording each of these sensational tracks.
Part 1 – The Horror:
“The part where you are in it. You are living the pandemic day to day, and just trying to get through this thing alive, and with your family intact. The emotions, the loss, the weight of it all.”
1. “Don’t Break”
“The song is about the stress and the limits of being in the pandemic. The mental fatigue of watching folks die, while Trump just worries about winning re-election. It’s about finding every ounce of strength you can to get through this horror. Musically, ‘Don’t Break’ is one of the biggest bangers on the record.”
2. “Orange Man, Strange World”
“‘Orange Man’ is about Trump’s role in the 600,000+ dead citizens of America. Studies from Columbia University show he and his inept, morally bankrupt administration, through their lack of response, denial of the virus, outright lies and murderous neglect, caused hundreds of thousands of deaths that were unnecessary.”
“Saying goodbye to your partner as they pass away horrifically from COVID-19, even though you were a conscious family, you were careful. But it got to you and the weight of it all is just unbearable. The track is written in a ‘90s style ballad format, very much a building song, from acoustic guitar, all the way up, back down again during the bridge and built back up for a big strong ballad style finish.”
4. “Let Her Go”
“This song is a story about a man whose wife already left him because of his failings. She leaves again because of COVID-19. He has to say goodbye a second time. He could never get over his own failings or out of his own way. He never moved on, and now is faced with no choice but to do so.”
5. “Biding Time”
“This song is dedicated to pandemic workers. Health care, but also everything from Amazon, to sanitation workers, city employees like bus drivers and teachers, all the day-to-day workers, grinding this thing out mentally with us and taking care of everyone as their job. Also, just working-class folks in general working their butt off through this pandemic waiting for help from government or otherwise. Musically, this is the third big heavy banger on the record before going a bit lighter and pop/rock on the second half of the album.”
Part 2 – The Aftermath:
“Moving forward and on from the horrific pandemic. Present-day, we are almost there, but still not quite. This is all about moving forward and coming to terms with what has happened, the horror and the loss.”
6. “Don’t Go It Alone”
“The lyrics are about the very moment of loss and how you must go forward, but you don’t have to go it alone. Your partner didn’t die in vain and you are not just alone moving forward. Musically, we really think about the Gin Blossoms with how the overall vibe turned out, but with deeper, growling low verses with lift in the big choruses.”
7. “Falling in Your Arms”
“This song is about meeting someone after the pandemic ends. Getting back into dating and loving, sharing experiences with someone. Musically, one of the best lead riffs on the record, uber-catchy and a very Soul Asylum feel to that lead riff.”
8. “Better Tomorrow”
“The track is about how you are handling the stress of the loss and the pandemic. Many people are suffering with mental health, in America, as well as worldwide. Many people turn to drugs, alcohol, and otherwise while dealing with extreme levels of anger, sadness and depression. The meaning is to keep pushing yourself to move on, move forward and welcome a better tomorrow. We felt like this sounded very different from everything else on the album, more ‘desert vibe’ but we love it for that reason.”
9. “When You’re Gone”
“A moving-on song. Coming to terms with your loss and moving on when you’ve come to realize they are really, truly gone. A personal band favourite for the catchy hooky chorus, and riff that follows the vocal. A true ‘90s pop-rock-sounding riff.”
10. “Live All Our Lives”
“Whatever the worst of this is, it’s over. You and your loved ones can live out your lives. Millions have died and over 700,000 and counting have died in the U.S. None of it can be undone, but we live out our lives and honor those we’ve lost, the latter which is the point of this entire record.”