Single Review: BANNERS – Someone to You

By on Tuesday, 7th November 2017 at 12:00 pm

BANNERS – known to his mum back in Liverpool as Mike Nelson – has had a busy 2017. Building on the momentum of last year’s self-titled EP, he’s released a slew of singles this year, including ‘Firefly’ (which I reviewed back here) and ‘Someone to You’, a recent mainstay at SiriusXM’s Alt Nation. ‘Someone to You’ has some interesting lyrical choices, as it is alternately self-deprecating and inspiring. It comes across as genuine as the figurative ticker tape that runs in all of our hearts: feeling a host of emotions all at once, and not a singular one, is as normal and human as it gets. The song is a wonderful foot-stomper, with an incessant, irrepressible beat, and lyrics that beg to be sung along to.

The literal translation of the song’s title is the want to be important to someone else, as in the shoulder to cry on and the rock when things get tough. In conventional, straight relationships, the man is supposed to be in the role of provider and protector, the strong one. With the words in the chorus “and if the sun’s upset and the sky goes cold / then if the clouds get heavy and start to fall / I really need somebody to call my own”, he is stepping up to the plate to be that protector. However, Nelson also recognises that in a relationship, there should be reciprocal give and take. He’s ready to be vulnerable, to be led to a better place by a strong partner: “And if you feel the great dividing / I wanna be the one you’re guiding / ‘Cause I believe that you could lead the way”.

I’d like to highlight Nelson’s reliquishing of the lead role in a relationship, because it seems to be in recognition of something much bigger than the two people in a committed relationship in this song. He’s acknowledging that we’re here on this green earth not to be self-centred, selfish and completely absorbed in material things and in our own lives. We’re here to be kind, to do for others, for a greater purpose and to affect positive change even when the times get rough and to make a difference to others. Have you sensed a recent shift in how you’re feeling lately? Some of us are already actively working on this. I don’t think I need to convince you with the refugee crisis, the election of President Trump, the Brexit vote to leave the EU, the armed response to the Catalonia referendum, the numerous senseless acts of violence that have killed so many people, the list goes on and on…there are a lot of angry people and people hurting in this world right now. You need to decide if you’re going to join the movement to make this a better place or if you’re going to sit back and do nothing.

For the promo video, Nelson goes to a school and decides to engage with its misfits, guys you might not have given a second thought to before they’re too nerdy and keep only to themselves. Nelson makes it his personal mission to psych these guys up, spending time with them to boost their confidence, to get them away from behind their desks and into shape, radically changing their outlook. As someone who was painfully shy and had pretty much nonexistent self-esteem in high school due to medical problems that made me different from everyone else, I could have really used someone like BANNERS cheering me on in my corner back then. If you don’t relate at all to this, if you were hated on at school, I guess…congratulations? You’ve missed something important, because what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and “a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”

And the ending of this video! You’ll never guess what happens at the end, so make sure you watch it all the way through. Please share it: it’s a video that is sure to raise a smile and hopefully make a difference in someone’s life.


‘Someone to You’ and the EP that it’s on, ‘Empires on Fire’, are out now on Island Records. For more on BANNERS here on TGTF, check out all of our coverage on him through here.

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