“We decided to call it Radical because it cuts a couple of different ways,” Every Time I Die vocalist Keith Buckley says about the title of the Buffalo metalcore band’s ninth album. “It’s radical as far as the personal beliefs I’m expressing as the lyricist of this band, but it’s also radical because it acknowledges that radical changes may need to be made in order for things to ever get better.” Of course, Buckley is aware that “radical” also means different things to different people in 2021. “I was trying to find things that most people in the world can agree on, and what I came up with was ‘fuck cancer’ and ‘I just want to feel good,’” he says. “I don’t think this record will help in the fight against cancer—although I wish it would—but we tried to write something that acknowledges the idea that human beings all long for goodness. But it’s going to require some big leaps of faith in order to make things good.” Below, he discusses some of the album’s key tracks. “Dark Distance” “I wrote this in 2019 or maybe even 2018, when I was realizing where I wanted the record to go. I knew that I had an obligation to use my platform for positive things because the world is not a pretty place right now. So, I just had this idea that the whole thing needs to be reset. Pull out the Nintendo game, blow on it, put it back in. And what resets civilization? Historically speaking, a plague does that. So, I started by summoning a plague and then COVID happened. I apologize for that.” “Planet Shit” “This is about a kind of old-style French Revolution of the upper-class elite and ruling class. About two months after we recorded the song, the Capitol building was stormed on January 6. I wrote the song to seem like a newscast, so I will say that, yes, I did have some sort of clairvoyant image of the Capitol building being rioted. My guide for the song was Mitch McConnell. He’s the only person I ever see when I’m talking about evil old white people. That’s two clairvoyant things in a row now, so I’m looking into what that means.” “Post-Boredom” “I wrote this about what would happen if I died and was reborn. If I had another chance at life, what would I do differently? What would I do the same? It was written during the pandemic, when everyone was bored, so I started thinking about what was going to happen next. And then I actually did get a separation from my wife during the pandemic, so that was a very real second shot for me. But all the songs were written before I was separated, so it ended up having a bigger meaning.” “Colossal Wreck” “This one is so fast and so short that I just thought it would be really good to have really memorable, punchy lyrics. Obviously, we’re being ignored by whatever higher power has been looking out for us since the dawn of time. It’s time to realize that we need to make some serious peace here with whatever is running the show because we really fucked it up. It kind of falls in line with ‘Dark Distance’ in that way.” “Desperate Pleasures” “Like ‘Colossal Wreck,’ I was just kind of having fun with the imagery here. We’re all lost, so fuck it. Let’s give it back, let nature take over, let’s just stop even trying. Let’s just live with the shit we’ve created and let nature fix it. The mental image I had was of a building on fire. While I’m just standing there, all these people are running past me to the exit. We can fend this off if we want to, but everyone is just running away. Who’s stupider here? Me for standing there, or everyone else for running away? I don’t know.” “AWOL” “I thought this song was about something, but then I realized it was about something else. When I was writing it, I thought of it as my vision for what my life would be like when this record is released. But that version of Keith Buckley is not currently in this situation. Maybe he’s happy; maybe he’s not. I don’t know how to reach him because he doesn’t exist yet. But it’s actually not about that. It ended up being about a very specific person and a very specific time. I don’t think anyone reading Apple Music cares about this, so I’ll just say it’s a message to my future self.” “Sexsexsex” “That song is about me realizing that I am a very submissive person. That’s a personality trait I have. When most people think of the whole dom-sub thing, they think of whips and leather and stuff like that. The only reference point they have is sexuality. But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the power exchange of a dominant and submissive. So, I made this song seem like it’s about sexuality, but it’s not. It’s about an energy exchange.” “We Go Together” “Everyone is born into a very specific set of circumstances—a certain time, a certain place, a certain astrology that has never been replicated. Your experience on this earth has never happened before. In a way, you are the only one alive. Everything that you see is your set of conclusions. In a sense, that makes you the source of it all. So, the song is about feeling like you might be at the center of everything. How does that change you?”

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