A Simple Beautiful Truth

Album: Present Tense (2014)

Songfacts®:

  • This was inspired by an early 1990s dance-pop classic. "In a way I was wanting to write my own version of Haddaway's 'What Is Love,' which to me holds a lot of importance," vocalist Hayden Thorpe explained to DIY magazine. "On a nostalgic level that was the kind of soundscape that as a child I came into. You grow up hearing music in passing and all of a sudden it's incredibly moving. That's a song I've always held dear."
  • Bassist Tom Fleming commented to NME: "It feels like a proper pop song, and we wouldn't have been brave enough to do that before."
  • The surrealistic video was directed by the Danish photographer Klaus Thymann. It finds the Wild Beasts dancing around a number of locations whilst clad in some shiny suits. The band explained it was The Talking Heads who inspired them to embrace their inner Fred Astaire. "We were inspired enough by the absurdist approach taken by Talking Heads to don electric suits and dance in the ether on the top of a Beacons mountain," they said. "We wanted to capture the weightlessness of a song like 'A Simple Beautiful Truth', to attempt something so ridiculous as to be sublime."

    "The experience was strangely liberating," the band added, "and we asked ourselves why we hadn't done this before."
  • Hayden Thorpe said he was trying to capture a rare moment of clarity with this song. He explained to NME: "[It's] that kind of lucid vision when ... everything seems simple and you see the kind of small beauty in everything. And you spend so much time taking for granted so much and kind of ignoring what is the beauty of the small things, and it's a song that tries to stretch out that very brief little window."

    This clear-eyed flash of epiphany usually only comes to him when he's "slightly hungover."
  • Thorpe learned an important lesson during the eight to nine months it took to complete this song: what seems easy, never is. He explained to NME: "Any brilliant pop song should be kinda weightless - it should kind of defy gravity, and it should seem effortless. And what became apparent was to achieve that kind of song, for it to feel effortless, actually required a huge amount of work."
  • Hayden Thorpe told NME the story behind the video. "I've never felt our past videos have captured who we are," he said. "They presented as arty and stern-faced, and every time we watched them we thought, 'Oh, lads, lighten up a bit!' We wanted an element of absurdity."

    "We were making fantastic songs and we wanted our outfits to reflect that, but it became four guys looking like Power Rangers on a Welsh hillside instead," Thorpe continued. "Our dance moves are crude and our outfits looked like our mums made them. I did practise that dance in my bedroom and felt like a teenage boy again. It was great."

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