The Man Who Releases Charming New Alt-Rock Single “Natural Villain”
Written by Hero Magnus
As soon as the vocals kick on The Man Who’s “Natural Villain,” I’m already charmed. The lead singer has a rich voice which adds to the song’s energy and dynamism. It reminds me of Fall Out Boy or Panic! At the Disco, emo-pop-punk band-like that by the time you reach the soaring chorus, it makes you want to whip your hair back and forth, no joke.
There’s the punchy snare of The 1975, but only if Matty Healy were a little more commanding and a lot less angsty. Am I name-dropping too much? Suffice it to say the song is very good, fitting solidly into a few already-beloved and acclaimed musical niches.
“Natural Villain started with the opening line “I use to wear it on my sleeve but now I keep it tucked away.” David had the line sitting in his lyric book. As we were working on the track, David started humming a few melodies and just kind of sang it. We really liked it, it fit the atmosphere of the track. We started to dig in about what that line meant and thought ‘what type of person could have such a negative impact on you that you’d change your outlook on life?’ Someone who would be after you for all the wrong reasons and use their power to put you down. It’s not about an intimate relationship, more about the underdog who doesn’t want to be put in a corner; from their boss, the politician, the oil executive, their neighbor. At the end of the day, it’s a “fuck you, I’m standing my ground” song and I think we all could use that from time to time. “– The Man Who
The Man Who is a three-piece rock band. They experimented with their sound in long-distance writing sessions before settling in Toronto, Canada, where they began to release music. The band says on their Spotify page that they make music “for your mother and your sister”; I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I’m someone’s sister and it’s working for me, so maybe they’re right.
With their first two singles “Bet on You” and “This High,” both released in 2017, The Man Who established a good groove, but “Natural Villain” very much steps up the game. The echoey repetitions in the post-chorus are a nice touch, and the sonic building really works for the song.
This release is also harder, rockier, and offers more confidence, especially with standout lyrics like, “You Machiavellian / natural villain / won’t be your fuel.” The band doesn’t get points just for keeping Machiavelli relevant in 2019 (okay, maybe they do!), but also for the perfectly ironic usage of modern slang in the bridge’s slightly manic repetition of “you’re shady / it just don’t feel right.” The drum fills within “Natural Villian” leading up to the chorus are also insanely juicy and fun. Maybe that’s why I’m so ready to headbang?
“The production on Natural Villain started in our home studio. David had the bass line melody in his head and started playing it on guitar. We focused on getting the right synth sound. We used the Arturia Prophet V3 and starting digging around our sample library for a drum groove. Once we had the bass and drum loop figured out it just kind of snowballed. We brought the vibe to our Producer Tawgs. We replaced the plugin prophet with his analog prophet and redid the drums. We layered the prophet with an electric bass, added electric guitars, some additional keys, and wrote the rest of the song in that session.“– The Man Who
The Man Who is going on a full US and Canada tour in the fall (so make sure to get your tickets!). They’ll be opening for BANNERS, an alt-pop musician from Liverpool. I’m excited to hear more from The Man Who after they tour, and I hope they lean even harder into the smart, cutting lyricism and all the growl of “Natural Villain.”
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