Healing Together: Villain of The Story Reminds Us That Things Will Get “Better”
By Zoe Elerby

Minneapolis rock band Villain of the Story recently released their newest single, “Better” a song discussing the struggle of mental health while conveying the message of hope and self-improvement in its lyrics. Villain of the Story takes inspiration from the metalcore genre, using a classic sound in alternative music to convey intense, raw stories with impressive instrumentals. Bands that identify with metalcore are artists such as Bring Me the Horizon, Bullet for My Valentine, Motionless in White.

Villain of the Story has a very nostalgic sound, one that brings back personal memories of being angry with the world for not understanding mental health and society refusing to acknowledge that it exists. However, artists like Villain of the Story do have a raw authentic sound when covering subjects like these. Not only is the vocalist very clear in his lyrics, his voice is lovely. It’s easy to listen to and provides a clear vessel for transporting his message to the listener, in this case; Things will get better.

The song takes a slower approach to what you’d assume metalcore sounds like. The slow tempo is introduced by a bold piano and slight synthesizer effect, drums follow, playing a beat that walks right alongside the lyrics. If you’re a fan of the alternative and metalcore genre, the sound is definitely familiar, as some rock radio hits have a similar sound with their instrumentals. However, that beat is classic and beloved among rock fans, myself included.

What really differentiates every one of the classic or most popular metalcore bands is the vocalist and the choices they make. No one could ever say that Oli Sykes, lead singer of Bring Me The Horizon has a similar vocal talent to Chris Motionless of Motionless in White. The same instrumentals will exist in their same genres but their choice as vocalists is a big factor in what draws fans in. Villain of the Story’s Christian Grey’s vocals are clear and concise, he is able to project lyrics in a raw display of melodic passion. This is especially valuable because of the subject matter in “Better” specifically.

A beautiful thing about music and the metalcore/alternative genre in general is that there is very little fear in seeing the ugly. Metal hinges on loud sound and ripping screams, hard guitars, and fast relentless drums. Throughout its history, it was always seen as taboo, so there was no reason to hold back one’s rage and emotion. As a result, the metalcore genre creates a community of vulnerability and comradery. The lyrics are often angry or depressing, a way to release the negative emotions by listening to someone else express their feelings through art. People listen to lyrics for a number of reasons but the number one reason is because they relate.

“You hold this weight like it’s crushing your bones//No one can save you when you feel so alone, so alone//I’ve been where you are//I know that it’s hard//But it gets better//It gets better//When you lose a flame it doesn’t mean that it’s gone for good//I know it feels like it but you won’t always be like this.”

Christian Grey is speaking directly to the listener in “Better”, opening up a vulnerable space through music so that he can communicate to the listener messages of hope if they’re feeling the emotions he’s describing. A lot of the time looking into the lyrics of an artist makes it clear that this story is about them.

While there may be some truth to that for “Better”, the message is so easy to understand and the vocals are pleasing to listen to that anyone can relate to the song. Mental health struggles are becoming more recognized and acknowledged, so songs like “Better” can be a good way for someone to start feeling understood. You can listen to “Better” on Spotify, Apple Music, and other music streaming platforms.

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