Single Review: Editors – Life is a Fear

By on Tuesday, 18th August 2015 at 12:00 pm

The newest single from Editors’ forthcoming album ‘In Dream’, titled ‘Life is a Fear’, debuted last week on Zane Lowe’s new Beats 1 radio programme. In keeping with the rest of the album, Editors’ intent with this track was to create music that is “both pop and experimental”, according to frontman and vocalist Tom Smith.

While the synth-disco sound of ‘Life is a Fear’ is a bit out of character in the context of Editors’ previous work, I’m not sure I would necessarily categorise it as “experimental”. Its dance beat is clean and energetic, with none of the heft or grit of Editors’ previous album ‘The Weight of Your Love’. Overall, the track is slick and angular, crisp percussion snapping to attention and bass growling softly under the piercing keyboard melody and Smith’s signature baritone vocals. Surprisingly, Smith’s singing voice works very well in this context, its ever-so-slight stridency cutting through the thick haze of electronic sound.

The lyrics to ‘Life is a Fear’ have a nebulous stream-of-consciousness quality that fits very nicely with the album’s theme, though perhaps not as directly as the lyrics to previous single ‘Marching Orders’.  The overarching “dream” reference is present in the lead-in to the song’s chorus, “you, calling out a name / you, swimming unleashed through a dream”, before Smith extends his Freudian metaphor with the line “life is a fear of falling”.

The accompanying video to ‘Life is a Fear’ continues the band’s collaboration with photographer and director Rahi Rezvani. Rezvani’s austere black and white graphic style is uniquely well-suited to Smith’s lyrical preoccupation with the darker side of human nature, perhaps because of his own personal experience with it. Rezvani, whose photography caused him to be exiled from his home in Iran in 1999, describes himself as “a black and white person, un-scared of dividing the world in good and bad”. He makes that distinction very clearly in the video for ‘Life is a Fear’ with knife-like rays of white light slicing through the black visual background just as the song’s keyboard melody slices through its dark foundational bass.


Editors’ forthcoming album ‘In Dream’ is due for release on the 2nd of October on PIAS. All our previous coverage of Editors, including details of their October UK and Irish tour, can be found by clicking here.


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