Black Honey (song)

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"Black Honey"
Single by Thrice
from the album To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere
ReleasedApril 27, 2016 [1]
FormatDigital download
Recorded2015
StudioPalmquist Studios
Length3:49
LabelVagrant
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Eric Palmquist
Thrice singles chronology
"Promises"
(2011)
"Black Honey"
(2016)
"Hurricane"
(2017)

"Black Honey" is a song by American rock band Thrice. The song was released on April 27, 2016 as the lead single from their ninth studio album, To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere. It was the first single the band released following their breakup in 2012 and subsequent reunion in 2015. The political track uses the imagery of a man swatting at a beehive in search of honey as a metaphor for the creation of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as a consequence of United States involvement in the Middle East, using the titular "black honey" as a euphemism for oil.[2][3] The song was a large comeback hit for the band, charting at No. 11 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, their highest-charting single to date and their first charting single since "Image of the Invisible" in 2005.[4]

Composition[edit]

"Black Honey" was one of the first songs Thrice wrote following their reunion in 2015.[5] Bassist Eddie Breckenridge stated that the riff was originally written by Teppei Teranishi on an acoustic guitar before the band decided to make it into a "big rock song."[6]

Lars Gotrich of NPR compared the song to "late-period Cave In, with Kensrue channeling the soulful rasp of Soundgarden's Chris Cornell more than ever."[7]

Lyrical themes[edit]

Lyrically, the song tells of a man swinging his hand through a swarm of bees and being stung in return, stopping at nothing in his pursuit of honey. Lead singer and lyricist Dustin Kensrue stated in an interview with NPR that "the song spawned from an image that popped into my head: someone continually swatting at a swarm of bees to get their honey, but somehow not understanding why they would sting back in return."[7] In a line left out of the interview, Kensrue said, "It seemed a fitting metaphor for much of U.S. foreign policy.”[5]

Kensrue expanded on his thoughts in Vagrant Records' official biography of the band, declaring, "We keep doing the same things and expecting to get something good out of it. We’ve built problem on problem on problem, and now we find ourselves with ISIS and people are like—maybe we’ll do more of the same! It hasn’t worked yet: so maybe we need more of holistic approach to what we’re doing.”[3]

The song has been compared to previous and contemporary Thrice songs with similar political messages, such as "The Sky is Falling" from The Alchemy Index Vols. III & IV (2007) and "Death From Above" from To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere (2016), both of which deal with drone strikes in the Middle East, as well as "Blood on the Sand".[8]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Black Honey" was released on May 17, 2016.[9] Directed by Y2K, a media group consisting of Jason Lester and Severiano Ramirez, and produced by Lester, the video depicts a boy (played by Jesse James Baldwin) sitting in the passenger seat of a car on a road trip. Various people are seen driving the car, including the members of Thrice and the boy's mother (played by Jennifer Lee Laks). The boy steps out of the car and into a field, where he is possessed by the sun and evaporates. Black honey is seen dripping from the leaves and fruits.[10] With over 28 million views, it is Thrice's most viewed music video.

Promotion[edit]

"Black Honey" was released to alternative rock and active rock radio formats on May 17, 2016.[11] The song peaked at No. 11 on Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, their biggest hit to date on any radio format.[4] "Black Honey" was featured on WWE's Money in the Bank ladder match on June 19, 2016.[12] South African post-grunge band Seether covered "Black Honey" for SiriusXM.[13]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2017) Peak
position
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[14] 11

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.altpress.com/news/entry/thrice_premiere_new_song_black_honey
  2. ^ "Thrice share 'Black Honey' video, announce one-off London date". DIY. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  3. ^ a b Records, Vagrant. "Vagrant Records". Vagrant Records. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  4. ^ a b "Thrice Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  5. ^ a b "Thrice debut new track 'Black Honey' - Distorted Sound Magazine". Distorted Sound Magazine. 2016-05-02. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  6. ^ Punknews.org. "Interviews: Thrice's Ed Breckenridge on the band's high-energy return". www.punknews.org. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  7. ^ a b "Thrice's 'Black Honey' Swarms With Heavy Drama". NPR.org. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  8. ^ "Thrice Talks Returning on a High Note With Career-Topping Comeback Shows, New Album". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  9. ^ Thrice (2016-05-17), Thrice - Black Honey [Official Video], retrieved 2017-11-19
  10. ^ "Watch Thrice's Strange New Video for 'Black Honey'". Fuse. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  11. ^ "Future Releases on Alternative Radio Stations, Independent Artist Song Releases | ..." All Access. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  12. ^ THRICE (8:27 PM - 19 Jun 2016). "Stoked to have "Black Honey" featured on @WWE's #MITB Ladder Match tonight. Anyone have a clip they could share? We missed it. #TBEITBN". @thrice. Retrieved 2017-11-19. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  13. ^ "Seether Deliver Powerful Cover of Thrice's 'Black Honey'". Loudwire. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  14. ^ "Thrice Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard.