It’s a quintessentially Australian trait to resent the high achievement of others, begrudging a change of status or sudden windfall of (tangible or intangible) wealth. As perpetual underdogs, the success of a peer rankles most of us as it casts doubt on the choices we’ve made, upsetting our feeling of contentment with our lot in life. School Damage is a band of malcontents that is casting its lot in with the losers, casting baleful glances at those that rise up and leave everyone behind with the track ‘Tall Poppies’. As the first single from the group’s self-titled album, it’s a strong statement of aesthetic and conceptual intent – the song is an ode to disaffectedness, self-loathing and dissatisfaction with being perpetually dissatisfied.
The idea that the world would be a better place if we were all on the same level is pleasant, but not novel. That being said, the group has approached the concept in an engaging way by blending sonic elasticity and a bit of punch that makes a typically pessimistic outlook digestible. ‘Tall Poppies’ isn’t just about taking the high rollers down a peg, but it’s also about an apparent worthlessness that strikes when you compare yourself to others. Sad sacks can relate.
Cop this line:
“I push over towers / watching them crumble / and bury myself under the rubble”
This line indicates that the desire to see someone fail is mirrored by the want to sink further down, accepting feelings of inconsequentiality (warranted or not) and indulging in self-defeatist behaviour. We’ve all been there (some of us more than once), which makes this song cut (a good result). It’s not that we don’t want others to succeed, but their success casts light on our own failings. Would we be stoked on ourselves too if everything went our way? Probably, but it’s not happening and that fucking sucks. If no shadows were being cast we all could share equal time in the sun. It’s a nice sentiment to hold on to when digging further into the dirt.