End to End is our track-by-track take on non-album and compilation releases, in which we try to give thumbnail first impressions of each song and point to particular numbers to be cherry-picked via the consumer’s online retailer of choice. This go round we check out a single by a long-running synthpop band of British descent…
Born to Lie
Let me start this off with a wild assertion: Mesh are the band that Apoptygma Berzerk has been trying to be for a decade. Think about it; Mesh are ostensibly a synth-pop band, but they’ve managed to achieve a pretty solid “rock” feel to most of their tracks for a minute now, while still holding true to their electronic roots, a trick El Grotho has only occasionally achieved. It’s true that some of their recent singles (I’m thinking of “You’ll Never Understand” and “Only Better” specifically) are only really related to Our Thing by legacy since they’re basically just pop-rock songs, but that said, they’re catchy as all hell and have choruses for days, just solidly written all ways around. With a new single to promote their forthcoming eleventh album (!!), I’m listening with an ear for how well they live up to those expectations. How is it? Let’s give ‘er a spin.
“Born to Lie (Single Version)”
Nice grinding synthline to kick this one off, and a solid mid-tempo groove to boot. Chorus is hummable, and I even dig the marginally cheesy chanted “Hey!” that pops up for emphasis. Also, and this is actually pretty important, it plays out really comfortably structure-wise: intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, outro. That’s how you write a trad-pop song, and seeing as that’s what Mesh does best, I’m pleased. I did double-take the first line (“You’re a bitch!”) for a being a bit harsh, but whatevs, it’s quickly forgotten. Solid.
“Born to Lie (Club Version)”
Remember how a few lines ago I said how well this songs works as a trad pop song? Well turns out it loses some of that by adding a couple extra filler minutes in the form of some extra breakdowns and chorus repetitions. It’s probably the effect from listening to this edit and the single version back to back, but without any additions of note to the programming or production this seems really redundant. Why do we need a six minute club version anyway? I’d favour the single mix for dancefloor purposes myself. Not bad, just not optimal.
Judging by the lyrics and the mildly ironic self-actualization spoken word breakdown that pops up midway through I’m gonna guess the title is in reference to Churchill’s pet name for his depression. This starts off like one of those NIN songs where a really simple two note piano figure repeats over some glitchy synth noise and kick snare percussion, then builds to a pretty large chorus with a pleasing synth orchestration. It’s pretty good, maybe a bit slight, but presumably that’s why it’s a b-side and not on the album.
“Born To Lie (Rotersand Re-Work)”
Rotersand mixes are generally at the head of the class, which is why I’m actually pretty disappointed by this one. For one thing the little dubstep wubs that pop up sound pretty hokey, and it keeps doing these breakdowns right before the chorus that rob it of any momentum. I come to the Rotersand guys for bangers with club appeal, this is just kind of long and aimless. Not objectively awful or anything, but I don’t feel like I’ll ever feel moved to listen to it again.
“Born To Lie (Blitzmaschine Remix)”
You know, I wouldn’t have thought that journeyman neo-oldschool EBM act Blitzmaschine would pop up on a Mesh single, but here they are with a nice, straightforward bass and drums style body mix. It’s simple and unadorned and that helps the strength of the song’s melody come across well. If I’m being honest it isn’t amazing, but it’s different and has the feel it’s shooting for down pat. I might spin it as a transition track between synthpop and EBM, it certainly has some utility for that purpose.
The Takeaway: This is one of those cases where pretty much every track on a remix single is superfluous next to the main attraction. “Born to Lie” is a good Mesh song if not a truly great one, and if you like them, go for it and grab the single mix. Everything else is for either for the faithful or those seeking to wedge the song into other genres for DJing purposes.