Black Honey (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"Black Honey"
Single by Thrice
from the album To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere
ReleasedApril 27, 2016
StudioPalmquist Studios
Producer(s)Eric Palmquist
Thrice singles chronology
"Blood on the Sand"
"Black Honey"

"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.[1][2] 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.[3]

Background and composition[edit]

The American post-hardcore band Thrice went on hiatus in 2012, following a spring tour to support their 2011 album Major/Minor.[4] During their break, drummer Riley Breckenridge performed with grindcore act Puig Destroyer,[5] while bassist Eddie Breckenridge joined the alternative rock band Angels & Airwaves.[6] Reunion rumors began during a March 2014 Reddit AMA session, when lead vocalist Dustin Kensrue said that future touring was "very, very likely," and was optimistic that Thrice would record more music.[7] That December, the band announced their reunion by uploading an image reading "Thrice 2015" to their official website.[8] Lead guitarist Teppei Teranishi later revealed that he and Kensrue were inspired to reunite the band after attending a Brand New concert in Seattle together, and an "I miss you" text quickly "snowballed" into conversations about performing and writing new music.[9]

"Black Honey" was one of the first songs the band wrote upon reuniting.[10] Teranishi originally wrote the main riff on an acoustic guitar during the band's hiatus, before turning it into a "big rock song."[11] The lyrics were inspired by an image that "popped into" Kensrue's head, depicting "someone continually swatting at a swarm of bees to get their honey, but somehow not understanding why they would sting back in return,"[10] adding that the image "seemed a fitting metaphor for much of U.S. foreign policy."[12] Kensrue later expanded on the metaphor, "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."[13]

Release and promotion[edit]

"Black Honey" was the second single from Thrice's return album, To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere.[14] The first, "Blood on the Sand," was released on March 24, 2016.[15] "Black Honey" premiered via NPR Music a month later, on April 27,[10] and was subsequently released to alternative rock and active rock radio formats on May 17.[16] It had a strong showing on rock radio upon its release, spending 32 weeks on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, and peaking at #11 on November 5.[17] The song also spent 19 weeks on the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart, peaking at #37 on January 7, 2017;[18] and 20 weeks on the Rock & Alternative Airplay chart, peaking at #31 on November 19, 2016.[19] Black Honey was the first Thrice song to chart since "Image of the Invisible" in 2005.[17]

Live performances[edit]

As part of a promotion for their new album, Thrice released a session video for "Black Honey" on September 19, 2016.[20] Kensrue and Teranishi followed this with a December 2016 acoustic rendition of the song, played for Alternative Press's APTV sessions.[21] In June 2017, South African hard rock band Seether performed a live cover of the song for SiriusXM.[22]


"Black Honey" debuted to a largely positive critical reception, with NPR's Lars Gotrich labeling it "a gloomy and propulsive piece of heavy drama," comparing it to Cave In, and Kensrue's voice to that of Soundgarden's Chris Cornell.[10] Chris Coplan of VultureHound referred to the song as a "grand, swelling rock ballad,"[23] while Emily Maxwell American Songwriter described it as "an eerie, raw track about trying to do the things you love in the face of negativity."[24] The political message of the song has drawn reference to previous Thrice releases, such as "The Sky is Falling" from The Alchemy Index Vols. III & IV (2007), and "Death From Above" and "Blood on the Sand" from To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere.[25]

Many album reviews of To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere singled out "Black Honey" as particularly worthy of praise. In an overall negative review of To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere, Dan Caffrey of Consequence of Sound referred to "Black Honey" "the sole song where Kensrue manages to be unconventional in his metaphor."[26] Jonah Bayer of Alternative Press referred to the track as the album's strongest, and drew comparisons to a "more technical version" of Alice In Chains.[27] Ali Shutler of DIY Mag praised the track's "hypnotic lure,"[28] while Tomas Doyle of Rock Sound called the production "gorgeous."[29]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Black Honey" was released on May 17, 2016.[30] 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.[31] With over 41 million views, it is Thrice's most viewed music video.


Chart (2017) Peak
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[17] 11
US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs (Billboard)[18] 37
US Rock Airplay (Billboard)[19] 31


  1. ^ "Thrice share 'Black Honey' video, announce one-off London date". DIY. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  2. ^ Records, Vagrant. "Vagrant Records". Vagrant Records. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  3. ^ "Thrice Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  4. ^ "Thrice Go on Hiatus". Rock Sound. November 21, 2011. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  5. ^ Bayer, Jonah (September 16, 2014). "An Interview with Puig Destroyer, America's Best Baseball-Themed Grindcore Band". Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  6. ^ Collar, Matt (July 8, 2014). "Eddie Breckenridge (Formerly of Thrice) Joins Angels & Airwaves". Infectious Magazine. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  7. ^ Crane, Matt (March 21, 2014). "Thrice frontman suspects the band will record new music, says touring is "very likely"". Alternative Press. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  8. ^ Crane, Matt (December 22, 2014). "It looks like Thrice are coming back in 2015". Alternative Press. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  9. ^ Shutler, Ali (March 2016). "You can thank Brand New for the Thrice reunion". Upset. The Bunker Publishing. Archived from the original on May 13, 2016. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  10. ^ a b c d Gotrich, Lars (April 27, 2016). "Thrice's 'Black Honey' Swarms With Heavy Drama". All Songs Considered. NPR Music. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  11. ^ Eisenberg, Adam. "Interviews: Thrice's Ed Breckenridge on the band's high-energy return". Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  12. ^ "Thrice share 'Black Honey' video, announce one-off London date". DIY Mag. May 18, 2016. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  13. ^ "Thrice". Vagrant Records. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  14. ^ Hingle, James (April 28, 2016). "Thrice Are Streaming A New Song". Kerrang!. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  15. ^ "Thrice announce comeback album with new song, "Blood On The Sand"". Alternative Press. March 24, 2016. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  16. ^ "Future Releases on Alternative Radio Stations, Independent Artist Song Releases | ..." All Access. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  17. ^ a b c "Thrice Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  18. ^ a b "Thrice Chart History (Hot Rock & Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  19. ^ a b "Thrice Chart History (Rock Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  20. ^ Thrice - Black Honey (TBEITBN Sessions) (Music video). YouTube. February 21, 2021.
  21. ^ "Watch Thrice play an acoustic cover of "Black Honey" on APTV sessions". Alternative Press. December 24, 2016. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  22. ^ Hill, John (June 22, 2017). "Seether Deliver Powerful Cover of Thrice's 'Black Honey'". Loudwire. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  23. ^ Coplan, Chris (April 27, 2016). "Thrice Unveil New Single 'Black Honey'". VultureHound. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  24. ^ Maxwell, Emily (May 17, 2016). "Check Out Thrice's Creepy "Black Honey" Video". American Songwriter. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  25. ^ "Thrice Talks Returning on a High Note With Career-Topping Comeback Shows, New Album". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  26. ^ Caffrey, Dan (May 26, 2016). "Album Review: Thrice – To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  27. ^ Bayer, Jonah (May 26, 2016). "Thrice's 'To Be Everywhere Is To be Nowhere' is as inspiring as it is unexpected (Review)". Alternative Press. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  28. ^ Shutler, Ali (May 27, 2016). "Thrice - To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere". DIY. Archived from the original on January 11, 2018. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  29. ^ Doyle, Tomas (May 26, 2016). "Thrice – 'To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere' - Reviews". Rock Sound. Archived from the original on May 27, 2016. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  30. ^ Thrice (2016-05-17), Thrice - Black Honey [Official Video], retrieved 2017-11-19
  31. ^ "Watch Thrice's Strange New Video for 'Black Honey'". Fuse. Retrieved 2017-11-19.