For his latest single as Sunnyside Uppers, Ryan Brown explores the validity of internet arguments, our unspoken desire to be victimized, and wonders if winning the unwinnable is really worth the effort.
Back in 2020 at the very start of the pandemic, it’s safe to say no one expected to still be arguing about this virus two years later. But it’s difficult to predict the future. And here we are. In some ways, more divided than we’ve ever been. But if you are someone who chooses to ride the optimistic highway, you knew this whole pandemic business would eventually prove to be fodder for some pretty good art. Because as the old saying goes, art imitates life.
For his latest single as Sunnyside Uppers, Saint John based musician Ryan Brown drew upon his own experiences arguing with family and friends about some aspect of this reality we have all been living through for two years now.
“I hate arguing with people on Facebook because maybe you want to get your jab in, but then you close your browser and worry about what’s going to greet you the next time you open it up,” said Brown, whose latest single All I Want is a thoughtful look into the futility of typing angrily on a keyboard in a hopeless attempt to win an argument with someone on the other end of the internet.
“You go in and you say your piece and then you’re stewing for the rest of the day,” he said. “I remember one day thinking up all the points I was going to make to take down this person in an argument we were having about COVID. I was so angry, but then I had this moment where I started asking myself what the point of it all was. I’m not fixing anything by having this argument. It just became about winning and making myself feel good.”
All I Want is about the high we get in trying to take somebody down while squaring off in a battle of wits, opinions and personal beliefs. “All I want is you to let me down,” sings Brown. “Guess I can’t expect you to understand anything on your own.”
“It’s like, you can only be a victim as long as there’s someone around to oppress you and once that person’s gone, well, I guess it’s easier to be a victim in that way because you don’t have to do anything,” said Brown. “You can just sit around and complain about the other person.”
The song was recorded at Monopolized Studios with engineer Corey Bonnevie and took over a year to complete thanks to various lockdowns and limitations placed on gatherings outside of immediate friends and family. While he watched studio sessions get canceled or postponed throughout 2021, Brown admits to wondering whether or not the song would still be relevant by the time he and Bonnevie were able to complete it and see it released.
But here we are, almost two years after he started jotting down the ideas that would eventually become his latest single. And it hasn’t lost its relevance. If anything, it’s only become more applicable, more on-point than ever.