Race to the Bottom

Album: Unmake (2016)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This energetic first single from Unmake finds the Canadian singer-songwriter tackling the topic of nostalgia.

    When we spoke with Dan Mangan, he revealed to us why he's so fascinated by that theme. "I think the future and the past are equally hypothetical," he said. "I can predict with some sense of certainty how life will feel in a month. I can with the same logic remember with the same element of reality or truth what life was like a month ago. All perspectives on the past are entirely relative. The idea that things intrinsically were just better is so stupid to me because they never were. It's all relative."

    "The idea that things used to be better is fantasy," he continued. "It's putting a halo on something that no one can disprove. To say, 'It used to be better,' nobody can say, 'Well, no it wasn't.' It's like telling a story that is self-aggrandizing about someone who has passed away, when they can't tell the other side of the story.

    What you're talking about is the past. It's a facade. I think the only thing that we even have a small tangent of reality or truth about is right now - the moment that is happening right this second. Everything else is up for grabs."
  • The lyrics of the bridge perfectly depict Mangan's views of nostalgia:

    Don't know what it was but we want it back
    Like every generation will repeat the last
    Put a halo on a figurehead or photograph
    Resist a little bit, and then become "the man"
    Dreaming of a simpler time, it occurs to me
    That the past is hypothetical fantasy
    And nostalgia just ain't what it used to be
  • Loel Campbell from the Canadian indie-rock band Wintersleep played drums on this track.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Wolfgang Van Halen

Wolfgang Van HalenSongwriter Interviews

Wolfgang Van Halen breaks down the songs on his debut album, Mammoth WVH, and names the definitive Van Halen songs from the Sammy and Dave eras.

Director Nick Morris ("The Final Countdown")

Director Nick Morris ("The Final Countdown")Song Writing

Nick made some of the biggest videos on MTV, including "The Final Countdown," "Heaven" and "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)."

Susanna Hoffs - "Eternal Flame"

Susanna Hoffs - "Eternal Flame"They're Playing My Song

The Prince-penned "Manic Monday" was the first song The Bangles heard coming from a car radio, but "Eternal Flame" is closest to Susanna's heart, perhaps because she sang it in "various states of undress."

Verdine White of Earth, Wind & Fire

Verdine White of Earth, Wind & FireSongwriter Interviews

The longtime bassist of Earth, Wind & Fire discusses how his band came to do a holiday album, and offers insight into some of the greatest dance/soul tunes of all-time.

Dr. John

Dr. JohnSongwriter Interviews

The good doctor shares some candid insights on recording with Phil Spector and The Black Keys.

Dar Williams

Dar WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

A popular contemporary folk singer, Williams still remembers the sticky note that changed her life in college.