Everything Else Has Gone Wrong was the last song to be written for Bombay Bicycle Club’s fifth album, and it makes perfect sense that it gives the record its name. “It seemed to encapsulate everything the album is about,” says singer/guitarist Jack Steadman. Like the album, the song is about hope and renewal, about finding safety in what brings you comfort, in what you love the most, while all around is crumbling. “Keep the stereo on, everything else has gone wrong,” the chorus declares. “For my whole life, I haven’t been very good at expressing myself with words,” Steadman says. “The irony is that the song is about not wanting to write lyrics, but it has lyrics I’m really proud of. And after that, we realised a lot of the other songs had that theme, of music as a cathartic refuge.” The driving, insistent beat builds to a middle eight that could sum up the story of the band’s last five years: “I guess I’ve found my peace again, and yes, I’ve found my second wind…”
The majestic Do You Feel Loved?, which builds around a dancehall beat and a flute sample, captures their new, wide-angle perspective, particularly when it comes to the lyrics. “For me, it’s rare to write a song about contemporary culture,” says Steadman. “But that it is about technology, and how we’re all desperate for affirmation, refreshing our phones to look for people to love us and to get likes.” Its middle eight draws on ambiguous spirituality – “all the cracks around your head will fill with light” – before it plays out by asking its central question again and again. Good Day sees the band in new, more sparse territory, exploring a similar malaise. “This is one I wrote, in Cornwall,” says Nash. “For me, it perfectly summed up how I’d been feeling for the year or two prior to that. I was having a hard time on a day to day basis, and I’d be like, fuck this, why am I doing music, I should get a real job. I realised there were bigger problems than the ones that were surmountable. You’re in charge. If you want to have a good day, you’re the master of your destiny.” The beautiful Racing Stripes, meanwhile, represented a breakthrough for the band, during a brief period in Cornwall when Steadman was finding it difficult to write. “It’s a good example of the emotional rollercoaster you go through. I was like, this is it, I can’t do this any more, and then the next morning you’re like, ah, this is a really good song. The relief!” he says.
“Racing Stripes is the first song we’ve done where I feel you could have a lighter in the air and sing along to it,” says MacColl. Its final refrain, a lilting loop of “This light will keep me going,” speaks to the future, and to what they have achieved together, and will go on to make. “I find this album to be so much more positive than anything we’ve done before,” MacColl continues. “It is inherently optimistic about what’s next.” As the title has it, Everything Else Has Gone Wrong. The ‘else’ is crucial. Bombay Bicycle Club have found their second wind.