Despite its dark title, Deer Tick’s forthcoming fifth album, Negativity, is more about grappling than letting yourself sink into the mire. That feeling is perhaps most evident on “The Curtain,” a growling, guitar-laden track about not letting the music industry pull your strings.
As frontman John McCauley recently told Matt Pinfield in an episode of The Hivecast, Negativity was recorded during a tough period for the musician — a time when he was struggling to get clean, while watching those close to him choosing to stay the less-than-healthy course.
That same struggle with control is reflected in “The Curtain,” which finds McCauley gruffly wailing: “The stagehands are all gone, the curtain still remains/It hides the puppeteer pulling all my strings/I could swear I’m in control/I can make the judge convinced/But I know my spirit quit/I don’t wanna be your bargaining chip.”
“You don’t always have to be a puppet in the music industry, but when you do it always sucks,” McCauley told Hive of the song’s themes. “I guess this song is about all the puppeteers I’ve met along the way, and me wanting to get my priorities straight.”
Negativity drops on Partisan Records on September 24.