It’s no surprise that we’re very excited for Scott Hardware’s forthcoming album Ballad of a Tryhard following its first three impressive singles, including “Watersnake” and “Love Through The Trees,” which were both featured among Paste’s Best New Songs picks of their respective release weeks. Leading up to the album’s release this Friday, March 4 (via Telephone Explosion), Hardware has shared its final single and the record’s closing track, “Underdog,” as well as a video for the song directed by Shelby Fenlon.
Picking up right where the artist’s prior singles left off, “Underdog” starts as a lovely, understated piano ballad, but quickly unravels into something much more complicated. Lush strings, saxophone and echoing backing vocals rub up against harsh percussive hits and hisses, dodging what’s initially expected. “I’m breathing deep as I greet the stars / Did I leave a mark?” Hardware sings over the soundtrack to a woozy slow dance that snaps you awake in sudden bursts just as often as it makes you swoon. The video captures all of the song’s grainy warmth with its softly lit nightclub scene, but keeps enough quick cuts and homemade shakiness in the final edit to match the tentative lyrics.
The album, described in a press release as “a reimagination of experimental adult contemporary that tweaks the limits of Y2K rock and soft rock with curiosity and appreciation,” was recorded in Spain and inspired by the experience of “living between emotions.” “Underdog” further fleshes out the full picture of what we can expect from the record by providing immediate songs with enough flourishes out of left field to craft something that is completely unique to Hardware’s vision.
You can check out the video for “Underdog” below and preorder Ballad of a Tryhard here.