The (best) Script
FANS OF THE IRISH BAND LOVE SINGING ALONG WITH THEIR GREATEST HITS
The greatest hits album is one of the great dilemmas faced by pop artists still putting out chart-topping new records. For Irish rock anthem kings The Script, the question came down to, “What would the fans want?”
While some artists have written and recorded new work despite the pandemic locking them out of the top notch studios typically used for such occasions, the exile from the live stage has focused the attention of performers on the big concert comeback.
During the long months of lockdown in London, The Script’s Danny O’Donoghue daydreamed about reuniting with friends, going to a gig and singing along to their favourite songs.
That dream wasn’t soundtracked by the new stuff from his fantasy act’s brand new record.
“So David Gray was doing the White Ladder tour just before Covid hit and I’d bought 15 tickets to go with all my friends and we were going to have a great night, going apeshit. And we never got to do it,” O’Donoghue says. “That rang in my head the whole time, the idea of singing my favourite songs with my favourite people, so coming out of lockdown, this is the perfect time to do a greatest hits.”
O’Donoghue and his bandmates Mark Sheehan and Glen Power returned to the live stage in mid-September with sets in front of 70,000 people in Romania and at the Isle of Wight festival.
The frontman was still supercharged by his post-gigs high a week later, reliving hearing thousands of fans singing along to their enviable catalogue of hits as they waved their phone lights.
“All these songs like For The First Time, Superheroes, Hall of Fame, they’re all about going through battles and coming through out the other side of it, and the emotion of those songs mixed with people not being allowed to come out for such a long time, it was electric,” he says.
Of course those songs take centrestage on the Tales From The Script compilation released this week, alongside a raft of their Australian top 40 hits including Breakeven and Before The Worst.
Frequent visitors to Australia to launch records or for national tours – and visit family with O’Donoghue’s brother based in Melbourne – The Script have insinuated themselves into the mainstream with pop rock anthems perfect to soundtrack a million sports highlights.
Their songwriting chops were honed over the years O’Donoghue and Sheehan spent in LA chasing their big break as a production duo, cutting tracks for Britney Spears, Boyz II Men and TLC.
They know how to write those power anthems, as evidenced by nine billion streams and more than 12 million albums sold.
“Sport has been absolutely huge for us. It’s funny because we wrote Hall of Fame for the everyday person who got sponsored a hundred quid for doing a cancer run, for the nurses, doctors, teachers, social workers; they don’t have a Hall of Fame,” he says.
“We were writing about the human condition of turning tragedy into triumph and that just so happens to be exactly the same DNA as sports.
“There’s always an underdog and ordinary people achieving extraordinary things.
“Those songs have gone around the world with the Olympics and Paralympics and football and lots of sports moments in Australia.”
In the lead-up to the release of their greatest hits package, The Script discovered a subtle consequence of Covid on the global music industry other than the dramatic hit to the live sector.
And that’s the incremental rise in fan demand for vinyl and CDs.
Even CD singles are making a comeback in the UK, with nostalgia for physical formats boosting sales by almost 20 per cent over the past year with ABBA, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay issuing limited editions of their new hits on the shiny silver discs.
“I must have signed 14,000 CDs last week and yesterday 1000 vinyl (records) got dropped off at the house,” O’Donoghue says.
“My signing hand is giant, it’s like Popeye. You practise your autograph a thousand times before you get successful and then it never comes in handy … until it does again.
“Vinyl has always been massive for us and artists love it because you really get to deep dive into what the artwork is going to be so I’m glad it’s coming around again.”
The band will return to Australia in September 2022 with the Greatest Hits tour.
It kicks off at Brisbane’s Riverstage on September 15 and then heads to the Aware Super Theatre in Sydney on September 16, Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne on September 17 and RAC Arena, Perth on September 20.
There’s always an underdog and ordinary people achieving extraordinary things