The use of social media can have mixed results. It can bring people together but can also cause conflicts. On their second LP, Charleston, WV quintet A Story Told consider how people act artificially on social media and how personal issues are unwillingly highlighted through it.
While ‘Good Looks’ may have a tongue-in-cheek title, the band, comprised of vocalist Alex Chaney, guitarists Josh Allen and Jason Lieser, bassist Zach Holley, and drummer Casey Hardman, have crafted 10 relatable songs that carry plenty of substance. Add to that their brand of slick pop-rock, reminiscent All Time Low, Paramore, and The Dangerous Summer, and you’re left with an infectious album.
Following its release last Friday, we spoke to A Story Told as they gave us a detailed insight into the songs behind ‘Good Looks’.
‘Good Looks’ is a record that we are tremendously proud of and we can’t wait to share it with the world. The album contains a message that weighs heavy on our hearts and we are thrilled to present a collective expression of a subject that is so relevant to our generation. We have seen firsthand over the past two years how much of an impact music can make, and we are excited to continue to evolve and spread our message with this release.
Good As Gold
When we wrote this track I think we immediately knew this song would open up the record. It fully encompasses the message of the album which is the idea that “good looks ain’t everything” and establishes what we are trying to do sonically with this release. It’s very sarcastic. The title is sarcastic. Just blowing up this idea of “looks” and seeing people on the surface level. It may not always be truthful to the full story of a person and their life.
‘Feel Bad’ was the turning point on writing this record to us. As much as I want to say writing songs and records are effortless, it’s not. Even when you have an idea of what you’re trying to communicate and you REALLY like it, it’s really hard sometimes. This was the “take a deep breath and just write without thinking” track.
It’s about doing the things you’ve always wanted to do, or say, or express. There’s really no guide to life, no matter what everyone else is doing. We live in an area where the way of life can feel scripted. We’re not directly affected by pop culture in small-town West Virginia. It’s normal to graduate high school, go to college, immediately get married, and then start a family. And so many people give up on their dreams because they don’t seem realistic. If you want to quit your job on a Tuesday in the fall and travel to Mexico, like, do it. If you want to tell someone you’ve always loved that you love them, do it. I look back on times, people, and experiences I miss. Things I cherish, things I didn’t do or say that I wish I had. Every opportunity to not make the same regretful mistake of not acting when you should’ve is significant.
It’s one thing to be caught up in the realm of social media, but it’s another to purposely use it to make yourself seem way cooler or more legitimate at whatever it is you do. I’m sure everyone can relate to there being someone you know that is this way. Social media gives every person a platform to create and it’s so easy to fall into the trap of needing social gratification. This track is written about people in my life specifically that have created such a dissonance between reality and social media life that it’s two completely different people.
I Liked It
‘I Liked It’ is the first track I think where we started blending the idea of relationship as well as status with this fake social media presence idea. It was the first track we started, its a back and forth narrative on emotions that consider the idea that it may be easier had I not known this person at all. It’s based on an experience where very personal things and issues were brought into existence on social media. So instead of making it about two people, social media now is a platform for voice and play in the matter.
‘Teenage Horror’ is as literal narratively as we went on the record. The role social media plays in person to person interaction now can be relatable to feeling like you’re on a television show. We’re more inclined to be people we’re not, say things we would never say to someone in person. It easily can become similar to reality TV and we’re just cast members in a teenage horror film.
‘Youngblood’ was written early on. It’s the “stop and think” track on the record. It’s very conversational. Like having a conversation with yourself about the things you’ve gone through, the people that have entered and exited your life. Reassurance that their purposes were served to make you better and better prepared for what’s next.
‘Red’ is about coming to terms with who you actually are as a person, as opposed to fitting a mould that has been artificially constructed by society. Everyone wants to be accepted. But true happiness is accepting who you are as an individual and building relationships with those who value you for you. We all get to a point in life or a relationship where it truly is a “take it or leave it” mentality, and we wanted to capture this in song.
This track is similar to ‘Classic Heartbreak’. At the end of the day, if people want to be fake, it’s no skin off my back. It’s all about status and who you know. Unfortunately, a new generation is starting to live by the artificial.
Hit & Run
So we’re at the point in the record now where we’ve been through it all. The internet has existed throughout most of our lives now and we’ve grown alongside with it. As much as we want to escape the side effects of our social media profiles and its long-term effects, we’re on it. And we live it and continue to do so. We pay the consequences because we love it anyway. “It was a hit & run, and I’m paying for it.” It truly becomes a personal conflict and it hurts so good.
‘Dreaming Again’ is a wish we can come back to reality. That we can be good. That we can change for the better.
‘Good Looks’ by A Story Told is out now.