That Darkness siblings Justin and Dan Hawkins recently looked back on their signature hit “I Believe in a Thing Called Love,” with singer Justin saying it referenced the most important addiction of his life.
Taken from their debut album Permit to Landthe song became a global success in 2003, but the couple told The Guardian in a recent interview, they had much more humble ambitions when they wrote it.
“I don’t remember who said it, but we had a conversation like, ‘Why don’t we just write the dumbest song ever?'” Dan said. “I expected all of us to be embarrassed to play it. But everyone sang along to the chorus the second it came on. We looked at each other and thought, ‘This is it. It’s going on.'”
Justin recalled that the band’s manager told them, “It’s a hit, then,” after hearing “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” at a rehearsal. “We didn’t work over it,” he recalled. “We didn’t screw around looking for the ultimate riff. I really just followed my fingers. … Things that are cartoony and ridiculous—that’s my raison d’être. The ridiculous things that Darkness does are tempered by Dan’s actual good taste. Because I can be lit, it must have something in it that makes him say, ‘You can’t do that”.
He added that he was “almost on a pathological quest to put ‘love’ into every song. Bands were afraid to actually talk about love. But the big songs, the ones that really get you in the heart, they actually talk about it and they use the word ‘love’. I’m always in love, that’s the reality. It’s one of the first and most enduring addictions of my life.”
Watch The Darkness’ ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ video
Dan Hawkins recalled the work to achieve a “super tight” arrangement, adding that “it’s almost signposted – you know where it’s going the minute it starts. You know what it’s about. A lot of the best songs are such.” He also said there was a reason why a crab appears in the video: “It was a reference to when you’ve taken loads of cocaine and your eyes are basically on stalks. It’s come up on numerous occasions throughout our career.”
More seriously, Dan said he was disturbed when the single returned to the charts in North America as a result of touring activities. “We’ve never considered ourselves a singles band, which is why that song was a problem for me in the first place,” he explained. “For me, The Darkness was about albums and being an incredible rock band. I wasn’t bothered about being popular.”
But he mentioned moments when they had played the song to 400,000 at a European festival and Lady Gaga fans in South America, noting: “Everything about the song pushes positivity. It just feels great to play.” Justin agreed: “My goal has always been to get every pair of hands in the air. And often that was the case. … Every time we play it, the place starts and I feel relief because I can play it on autopilot. Even now people sing it to me in the street. I will never have anything but abiding devotion to that song.”
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