Complainer

Album: New Age Norms 1 (2019)

Songfacts®:

  • The first song written for Cold War Kids' New Age Norms project, "Complainer" is a call to do something constructive about the world's problems instead of just moaning about them.

    Now you're out on your own, don't know where you belong
    Don't sit around and complain about it
    You say you want to change this world
    Don't sit around and complain about it


    Speaking to ABC Radio, frontman Nathan Williett explained: "[It's] thinking about the news of the world and the events of the world. And how to say something and how to have a song that is commenting on what's happening without really choosing a side, totally."
  • The upbeat, funky tune was produced by Lars Stalfors (St. Vincent, Foster the People). "Complainer" also marked one of Cold War Kids' few collaborative tunes; it was written with Asa Taccone of the Los Angeles band Electric Guest and pop songwriter Bonnie McKee (Katy Perry, Rita Ora).
  • The song features backup vocals from Willett's sister and her two friends. "We had them do it in the style of a shout-y, bratty kind of a tone that is kind of childlike," Willett said.
  • It took Nathan Willett a long time to write "Complainer." The line, "don't sit around and complain about it," came to him straight away, but then he spent ages figuring out what exactly he wanted to say. The singer explained to HMV:

    "The idea that it was somebody looking at social media at a girl he likes and being critical of her, thinking that she is shallow but that he sees something in her that is deep and wants to draw that out of her, that took me a long time to find."

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