Examining the world in 2021, Badflower use their new LP to pinpoint specific social issues close to their hearts. Machine Gun talks about war, while the haunting Tethered discusses sexual assault, and My Funeral deals with mental health. For the satirical track Stalker, which is told from the perspective of an incel, Josh ended up falling down a “scary but also really eye-opening” rabbit hole of research. Songs such as this tie into the thread of social media and internet culture weaving through this record, with Josh’s direct, conversational lyrics being influenced by "the language of this century".
“I couldn't be inspired by anything else,” he explains. “There was a pandemic, I couldn't hang out with real people. So I was just like everyone else typing on the internet like, ‘We're really tense now. We're really debating.’”
The singer's reluctance to get involved in those types of heated arguments also fed back into the album. In fact, the realisation that he doesn’t have to have a fully-formulated stance on every single topic is what informed dramatic track Everyone’s An Asshole. As careful as he is about what he writes, Josh acknowledges that opinions can change.
“I'm finally at the point where I can recognise that I don't have to be preaching all the fucking time. I don't have to have an opinion about everything, even though it seems like everyone's forcing me to," he says. "[That song is] just calling out the way in which everybody has an opinion and everybody's tense and on edge and mean because of it.
“Mostly my hot take is: you're mean, stop being so mean,” Josh adds with a chuckle.
But many of the tracks, like Family, are more personal. Even some of the more character-driven songs, such as the catchy Fukboi and laid-back Johnny Wants To Fight, were inspired by people Josh knew.
“I really wanted to sing about the people from my late teens and early 20s,” he says. “I don't know why I was so inspired to do that. But there were two songs immediately that came from that time period of my life where I was just drinking and being reckless, and [hanging with my] bros of Southern California.”
Josh moved from Los Angeles to Nashville in the middle of writing the record: “My farewell to the place is writing these songs about all the shittiness in that city, or at least the shitty types of people," he admits.