Discrimination dehumanizes; it shoves our fellow humans out into the desert, beyond the pale of society, where they either find each other or are forced to fend for themselves.
But beautiful things can bloom in that desert. Londale’s new single “If We Were Normal” and the truly stunning music video (directed by Bryan Forrester) for it celebrate that beauty and
warn us of the psychological and emotional harm ostracizing does to the ostracized.
“If We Were Normal” was inspired by two films, the 2014 Pride and the 2015 Ex Machina. The former chronicles the true story of British gay and lesbian activists who allied with striking miners in the mid 1980s to protest the conservative policies of Margret Thatcher; the latter focuses on the relationship between a man and an anthropomorphic AI machine that, created by a scientist with a god-complex, questions the possibility of her humanity.
The phrase “If we were normal” comes from one of the characters in Pride as he and his friends struggle with a cruel and intolerant culture, and the music video, with its two nearly identical humanoid robots that befriend each other, highlights Ex Machina’s influence on the song, which has the brooding pensiveness of The Smiths and the calm demeanor of Minus the Bear.
In the chorus, singer Willy Collins indicates the consequences of labelling an individual or group as weird or, in the worst cases, evil because they are different in one way or another: “If we were normal, we wouldn’t be afraid,” Collins sings.
The song’s speaker has been made to feel that his status as an outsider is his fault, that he is deficient somehow. Otherwise, his statement would start with, “If they weren’t hateful.” But this is, of course, what happens when people are bullied and excluded: They become convinced that they are irreversibly broken.
You can see Londale in Houston on Saturday, Feb. 3 at the Continental Club for the band’s EP release party. The show starts at 9 p.m., and you get a free copy of the EP with your ticket.