Written by: Danny O’Donoghue, Glen Power, Mark Sheehan
Release date for the single: June 2009
The song that made history: when Glen joined Mark and Danny in LA for some jamming, this was the first song they wrote together and as we know it’s led to 3 albums and counting.
“Danny and I spent every Friday at a Venice Beach studio writing and producing. Glen wanted to check out L.A. and have fun during his working holiday. I had only seen him play as a guitarist back home in Dublin and the first thought I had of him as a drummer when he arrived at the studio was this guy is fucking cocky. He was so sure of himself as a drummer. When Glen got to the studio the first day we worked together, the drummer for Nine Inch Nails had just left and we threw Glen on the kit to see what he could do. After he blew us away with his skills, Danny and I invited him back to the studio the next day and we started jamming. That jam session turned into “Before The Worst,” which is the first song that all three of us wrote together.” (Mark)
It is one of the songs that fans told stories about according to Mark:
“It’s mad, the bulk of the people who approach us on the street or in a restaurant have got a story about what one of our songs meant to them. It’s quite hard to get used to. One guy told us he’d just got back from The Gulf and our song ‘Before The Worst’ meant so much to him because his wife had cheated with his best mate when he was away. It was a terrible story and you think, ‘fucking hell, what do I say?'”
Lyrically it’s an interesting point: I guess there comes that point when you’d rather lose everything about the relationship, good or bad, just so that you won’t have to feel miserable any more. It’s that time when even the good memories are somewhat bitter and painful. The lyrics go back and forth describing all these emotions.
I love the little tilts in Danny’s singing, very unique and fits the piano perfectly. Pianos have always been my favourite instruments (along with violins but no, there’s no violin in Before The Worst) and the melody in this song is special: it’s not a soft piano play we usually associate with this instrument but almost like desperately hitting the keys when one’s upset. Which, of course, is what the song is about.
The single was a top 40 song in Ireland (topped at number 37) and a top ten in Australia (at number 10) and certified platinum. In the UK it peaked at number 96 making it the worst performing single of the album. Its music video was directed by Paul Minor and premiered on Channel 4 as part of T4.