Science and Faith

Written by: Danny O’Donoghue, Mark Sheehan

Single released: 27th of May, 2011

The song was released as the fourth and last single of the eponymous album. It wasn’t particularly successful, peaking at number 62 in the UK and not reaching top 100 in other countries, not even in Ireland. But it was an important song to the band, and as such, remained on the live playlist for long.

“Science to us was the logical male and Faith was the emotional female. And I think being logical males we think we can break love down to science, we can explain exactly how a person’s feeling about somebody else – stupidly I suppose. Not realising that we actually can’t. It’s not about chemical reaction, it’s not something you can explain. It meant so much, that’s why it took over as the title track.” (Mark)

Like The End Where I Begin on the first album, or No Words later on the third, this song started with a true story in Mark’s life:

“The song Science & Faith came about when Mark was having a conversation with his wife in their backyard and he’d explain away the world like Galileo would, based on facts, and would look at his wife and saw her going grey in the face. He’d say what’s wrong, and she’d go you’ve been unravelling my world in the past 15 mins and basically there’s nothing left now. What about love? What about hope? All these different things you’ll never see down the telescope. It was such a great story that the next day when he’d come in telling, in true form we were all sitting with a pen and paper, ‘Go on!’ ” (Danny)

This paints quite a picture of how the guys work. Everything and anything can turn into a song. I think it was Glen who said in another interview that the most annoying thing about living with a musician is that when you have an argument, they’d take out a notebook and write down something you’ve just said that could end up in a song. Imagine.

Of course the title, Science and Faith does not scream love song at the first look and in another interview Danny added that the wordplay was intentional:

“The song kind of stemmed from that [the argument between Mark and his wife], and the more that you mess around with science and faith it is two worlds combining. I think people will look at an Irish band, and say that they’re talking about science and they’re talking about religion. I like that because that is so opposite to what this band is about. We’re not about politics and we’re not about religion, those are subjects we stay away from all the time. It’s literally a love song and it’s about the ebb and flow between a male and a female.”

Mark also added that faith, not the religious but the philosophical faith, is everywhere:

“Even a scientist has to have faith, even if it’s just faith in science itself” he said, and if you think about it, we live most our lives based on faith. We have faith in the engineers who designed our cars, the planes we take; we have faith that the chef in the restaurant knows what he’s doing and won’t let anything shady happen to our food; we have that there will be a tomorrow so we won’t have to do the things we don’t want to today.

For The Script though, the big picture is a nice add-on but essentially, the song is really a close snapshot of their lives.

“We tend to write songs with a social conscience, about our lives. Guys in their mid-twenties are going through certain things. Science and Faith is about the struggle in relationships between men and women. Men think they are very scientific; women are more into the emotional concept of faith. Man has this inner struggle of logic. (The conflict between the sexes] is indicative of what this record is about.”

It’s a strange approach, this simplified, almost chauvinistic view of the world, but I choose not to divide the song into being about “scientific men” and “faith-driven women” but about two people who, at that moment, stand on two different sides of that argument.

The official video was directed by Ethan Lader, and as most videos, it follows a story but in this case, a very conceptual one, focusing more on the emotions by featuring the band playing in a big white room, overlaying them with abstract pictures and intersecting their play with short vignettes.

One thing’s sure, it’s not your usual love song, but all the more sweeter for that.