Review by Emily Smith

With a very fun, bubbly sound and quick-paced instrumentation that immediately kicks off the track, the latest single from alternative/indie musician Tom Ugly titled “Villain” is a song with a vibrancy and a quirkiness that will make the listener both laugh and sing along.

The song starts off with lyrics like, “Get with the beat/ Choose your stolen memories/ Take things for free/ Be like the captain on the sea,” which are essentially encouraging someone to take action against another person. Later in the song, it becomes more obvious that Ugly is encouraging someone to take revenge on their significant other for hurting them. This encouragement also comes through in lyrics like “Get on your freak/ Show me your worst-case personality,” which is him telling the person to be as mean as possible to the other person.

“The track was born out of a meditation on the constant outflow of stories & news in modern media. Stories about world leaders, celebrities, click-bait headlines, etc. It’s becoming increasingly hard to know who or what to trust, which forces an obligation on us all to think twice about things, now more than ever,” says Tom. “There’s an element of self-reflection to it too, as we all face the same predicaments & questions of not knowing where the line begins to blur.”

Ugly sings, “Just take a seat/ Let’s discuss how to exploit the weak,” suggesting to form a plan on how to deal with this problem person. He wants to make this specific someone hurt like he hurt the other person. In the chorus, Ugly tells the person his solution: “What shall we do to him?/ There’s only one thing- kill him.” Understandably, there is some reluctance from the other person as expressed in the lyrics “You disagree/ So scared of potential penalties,” though he emphasizes to the person, “It is time we make him bleed.”

Throughout the chorus, the question “Who is the real villain?” comes up multiple times. Ugly even considers himself for a moment, singing, “Could I be the villain?/ Or am I just tripping.” However, he then asks, “Am I just too willing/ To not be the villain?” saying that taking revenge on the actual villain won’t make him a villain, but standing around and doing nothing while the other person gets away with their actions will make him the villain.

The whole sound of the track makes the plan to hurt someone much less serious than it is. The track has an overall colorful and lighthearted vibe, lessening the severity of this kind of revenge. For instance, the vocals are fairly mellow, which definitely does not match the tone of the subject matter. Balancing out the vocals are the bouncy instrumentation and beat that give the song its lighthearted feeling that is fairly consistent throughout the entire song. The contrast is one of the funnier aspects to the song, since it makes the lyrics all the more unexpected.

Sticking out among all the serious songs about break-ups and failed relationships, Tom Ugly’s latest track provides a unique take on dealing with a person who has hurt someone.

Listen To “Villain”

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