November 28, 2015   School Closings
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Songs We Love: The Spook School, 'August 17th'

From left, The Spook School members Adam Todd, Niall McCamley, Nye Todd and Anna Cory.

The album artwork to Spook School's Try To Be Hopeful was designed by the artist bluewuwei.

Scottish punk rocker Nye Todd writes melodies for anyone who is young at heart. His lyrics, however, tend to be a bit more specific.

Todd is the transgender lead singer of queer punk band The Spook School, and the bulk of the songs on the band's new album, Try To Be Hopeful, are personal accounts from the fringes. Societal norms and gender stereotypes are in the crosshairs during many of these 11 threadbare tunes, but Todd gives equal airtime to trans love songs that hit home no matter your orientation.

The finest of the bunch is "August 17th," a short ballad with a heavyweight chorus. The universal sentiment at its core – "we really shouldn't be doing this..." – belies the story's unconventional details. I'll let Todd explain.

As I'm mostly unable to write songs that aren't about my own experience, the lyrics of "August 17th" are about a relationship I was kind of just starting to be in at the time. I really had strong feelings for the other person in the song, but I was kind of going back and forth on whether a relationship was a good idea or not, whether I was ready for one, and all the usual anxieties about whether he liked me as much as I liked him, ha. Also, to complicate things, this was the first polyamorous relationship I'd ever been in and I was additionally quite worried about the feelings of the other people involved. I really wanted it to work, though, because when we spent time together it was amazing and I have other friends in poly relationships that demonstrate that it can be a really positive and great thing. So this song is kind of all those feelings, I guess.

Try To Be Hopeful is out now on Fortuna Pop!

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