New Video: JOVM Mainstays White Lies Tackle Mortality and Its Acceptance in “Am I Really Going To Die”

Acclaimed London-based post-punk act and JOVM mainstays White Lies — Harry McVeigh (vocals. guitar), Charles Cave (bass, vocals) and Jack Lawrence-Brown (drums) — released their fifth album FIVE back in 2019, and the album continued a remarkable run of commercially and critically applauded material that often sees the band balancing arena rock bombast with intimate and confessional, singer/songwriter pop lyrics, which seemingly come from a very lived-in, real place that feels uncomfortably familiar.

White Lies’ highly anticipated sixth album, the Ed Bueller and Claudius Mittendorfer co-produced As I Try Not To Fall Apart is slated for a February 18, 2022 release through [PIAS]. Recorded over two breakneck studio sessions, As I Try Not To Fall Apart reportedly features the JOVM mainstays’ most expansive material to date with the songs possessing elements of arena rock, electro pop, prog rock and funky grooves while still maintaining their penchant for crafting infectious hooks. 

Late last year, I managed to write about two of the album’s singles:

  •  “As I Try Not To Fall Apart,” a rousingly anthemic yet psychologically precise character study of a desperate man, who feels hopelessly stuck in a socially prescribed “appropriate” gender role, while also trying to express his own vulnerability and weakness.
  • I Don’t Want To Go To Mars” arguably one of the most mosh pit friendly, guitar-driven rippers the band has released in some time that tells a story of its main character being sent off to a new colonized Mars to live out a sterile and mundane existence. The band goes on to say: “Fundamentally the song questions the speed at which we are developing the world(s) we inhabit, and what cost it takes on our wellbeing.” 

“Am I Really Going To Die,” As I Try Not To Fall Apart‘s third and latest single is a glittery, glam rocker song centered around a disco-like bass line, glistening synth arpeggios and an enormous, arena rock friendly hook that sounds as though it were inspired by Roxy Music, and Duran Duran. But under the dance floor friendly grooves, the song thematically touches upon mortality, and the uneasy acceptance of the inevitable.

‘Am I Really Going to Die’ is a song with familiar subject matter for White Lies but a new chapter musically. It’s the first part of a two-song narrative about a self-important hot-shot given a terminal diagnosis, and the various stages of his coming to terms with it,” White Lies’ Charles Cave explains. “‘AIRGTD’ is loosely inspired by the great Danny Huston’s character in Ivan’s XTC, and musically by Station to Station era Bowie.”  

Directed by Balan Evans, the recently released video could be thought of in two different but similar ways: as from the perspective of a dying person, becoming aware of their impending mortality while their friends or strangers look on with concern, shock, indifference, malice and in at least one instance, the authorities are attempting to revive the person. You can also view it from the perspective of the onlooker, who stumbles upon a dying person or a dead person with the same sense of concern, shock and so on. But no matter what, there’s fear, despair, confusion by all involved.

 “This song has so much story in it, it was quite easy to come up with this idea. It sort of spilled out of the lyrics,” Balan Evans explains. “I was talking to a friend who was recounting being hit by a car and waking up on the ground with people hanging over him and it felt like a unique perspective. This point of view felt rich with storytelling potential, something I wanted to explore and experiment with and most importantly it matched so well with the themes of the song.”