Singled Out: The Fox & The Hounds' How The Other Half Live
"How The Other Half Live" is a song about money, power and the disassociation that comes with achieving it. I wrote it while in a heavy listening rotation of Amanda Palmer, the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs and a Netflix binge session of Mad Men with the end result being a poppy, sardonic concoction of the three.
I think like most people, I live with a somewhat persistent financial struggle-doing fine but never doing great. As a result, this song turned into a bitter-tinged fantasy, dreaming about a life of ease and infinite pleasure, but concerned with what parts of myself might get erased in the process. In our society there seems to be a strong influential voice that says "money makes you happy, power makes you happy, more things make you happy" but at what cost? What happens to our humanity and our empathy? What do we have to sacrifice in order to attain more things? These are the kind of topics I wanted to subtly explore under the façade of bright pop chords and candy coated harmonies.
While recording the songs for our new EP, Peachy Keen, we were lucky enough to score ourselves a producer who seemed to really understand what we were trying to achieve. A lot of the songs have a sense of dichotomy between the chord structures and the genuine words and intention- it's actually why we chose the name "peachy keen", a phrase that sounds shiny and sweet, but is often said with sarcasm and cynicism. This divisiveness is especially prevalent in the 1940s style throwback to Jule Styne's "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" that takes place during the bridge of How The Other Half Live. I remember watching a scene from Mad Men were Jon Hamm's character upon finishing a picnic, picks up the blanket and then lets the leftover food, paper plates and plastic ware just fly away in the wind. I was struck by how wasteful, careless it was and how oblivious he was to it. So when I was deciding where the song should go, my mind kept coming back to that moment. It just seemed fitting to let the song echo an era where women were valued for beauty and domesticity, the amount of new technology acquired was equal to stature, and where waste and disregard were the status quo - really not a far cry from where we are now.
With that being said, at the end of the day, the song is fun. It's a fantasy world with bright baubles and bells filled with brassy horns, glittering diamonds and perhaps a few pipe dreams.
We recently won a local contest for How The Other Half Live and are in the process of filming a fully produced music video from Big Teeth Productions out later this year. Peachy Keen comes out December 5th with a release show at Chicago landmark, Subterranean.