The Myth of The Happily Ever After

Biffy Clyro

The Myth of The Happily Ever After

The Myth of the Happily Ever After is a bold name for the follow-up to Biffy Clyro’s 2020 album, A Celebration of Endings. But that’s just how things played out. If A Celebration explored the band’s optimism that things could only get better—socially, politically, and for our planet—The Myth is about realizing, with the arrival of the global pandemic, that rock bottom hadn’t been reached after all. “There was a strength to A Celebration of Endings but also, looking back, a naivete,” the band’s frontman Simon Neil tells Apple Music. “This album is a lot more vulnerable, a lot more in the middle of mayhem. It’s about trying to make sense of it all. It felt important to put this music out while we’re still going through this, because it’s a record of the moment.”
Released just over a year after A Celebration, The Myth was unexpected—not least for the band, who had only initially been planning to turn some leftover tracks into a companion piece. But working alongside Balance, Not Symmetry collaborator Adam Noble from their farm-studio in Scotland, the band realized in late 2020 that album number nine was taking shape. “We didn’t tell the record label or anything that we were working on new music,” admits Neil (Biffy’s other members are twin brothers Ben and James Johnston). You’ll hear that liberation all over The Myth of the Happily Ever After, as the band lets loose on sprawling, multi-act tracks (“Holy Water,” “Separate Missions”) and strides toward new territory via synths and electro. “It was really just about friends being in a room together,” says Neil. “Things can become complicated when you’ve been doing it for so long. To know that we still have that magic together, and that joy, is just fantastic.” Read on as he guides us through Biffy Clyro’s ninth album, track by track.
“DumDum” “This was one of the tracks that kick-started the record. Musically, it’s something out of left field for us. I sampled all my vocals and created these soft sounds, which was a different way of writing. The song is about my exasperation that people are so sure of themselves. Especially in this world that we live in, I don’t know how anyone can be so convinced that what they believe is the only way to live.”
“A Hunger in Your Haunt” “The title of this song was a phrase I heard a couple of years ago, and it just stuck with me. I just thought it was a beautiful way to describe your inner fire—your get-up-and-go. If life’s tough, you can find yourself just digging your way down. This song is about shaking off that negativity and finding a reason to get a smile on your face and be there for the people you care about. I’ve never done any talk-singing, and this was the song to do it on, because whenever I found a melody, it felt like it was taking away from it.”
“Denier” “It’s the story of abusers in general: They do horrific things and then pretend that they’re the victim. A real manipulator can really twist things, and I fucking hate that. That’s what this song is about, and it’s got those sinister aspects to it.”
“Separate Missions” “I was listening to a lot of The Cure over lockdown and it’s always two and a half minutes before Robert Smith starts singing. I thought, ‘We’ve never done that.’ The birth of this song was the idea of making mood music for a while, something a bit sinister, a little bit tense. And the song is, lyrically, probably closest to some of the sentiments in A Celebration of Endings, which is just about finding out that you and someone that you’ve been close to your whole life are on different paths. It felt like a new step for us, musically.”
“Witch’s Cup” “This is a carnival song about cults. Like everyone else in lockdown, I watched a lot of shit telly, and I went down a lot of cult wormholes on YouTube. I’m in awe—and also feel a bit sorry—for people who can put their life into someone else’s hands, who can selflessly give themselves over. I find that extremely dangerous. A theme in this whole record is people who are convinced of shit and have blind faith, and nothing existing out of that.”
“Holy Water” “I had the full first half of this written about 18 months ago, but it wasn’t quite ready for A Celebration. I already had the lyrics about ‘Sinner’s in a hospital room/The saint is in the bed.’ When the pandemic happened, it was like the universe had talked to me. Suddenly, the song seemed very important. It was originally about climate change and running out of resources, but then it evolved into something about the moment we were in and lockdown. I wanted the ending to sound the exact opposite to the start. I wanted it to sound like the world was falling down. Because, at points, it was.”
“Errors in the History of God” “This is a bit of a misanthropic song, to be honest. Humanity, we’re our own kind of disease: We take everything, we use up all the resources, and then we move on to the next thing. I include myself as well, but it’s just like, ‘That’s not what we’re here for.’ I don’t want this to be an oppressive song, but the attitude is, ‘What the fuck are we doing?’ I do feel like we're trolling our own planet, which is insane.”
“Haru Urara” “There was this wonderful story of a horse in Japan, and it lost, like, 130 races. It was the worst-performing racehorse in the history of the world. But in his last race, everyone was convinced it was going to win, so thousands and thousands of people from all over Japan went to this small town to see the horse win in its final race. Of course, it came dead last. But what a wonderful, optimistic outlook. Nothing’s a write-off—that’s what this song’s about.”
“Unknown Male 01” “I was just sitting at the piano one day, playing around, and then just had these simple chords and melody. Not every idea you come up with feels special, but this did. This song is about losing people and about male suicide. Unfortunately, our friend Scott [Hutchison, of Frightened Rabbit] passed away, and that’s something that’s been sticking with me a lot. I think that’s why this song ended up mattering so much to me, and why I wanted it to be something more than just a two-minute piano song. It’s got every single part of what we do: loops, acoustic guitars, piano, riffs, weird shit. Because if I’m talking about my depression or having lost someone, I want to show every aspect of what that is. Darkness and depression aren’t linear things.”
“Existed” “This is a simple song musically, and it’s about forgiveness and trying to grow to be a better person. It’s about not being afraid to make mistakes in life, because that’s what life is. Unless people have done something truly heinous, I think they deserve second chances. This song was another one that made me realize something new was coming out of me. This song came out really fast—literally in one day. I just felt magic in it.”
“Slurpy Sleep Sleep” “I wanted people to finish this song and laugh. It follows some real moments of self-doubt and some really heavy subjects. I wanted the musicality of this to carry people home. But this song is also about making the most of what we have. Because what the last year has taught me is that we can’t take anything for granted.”

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