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“Hate Being Human” by Dark Below

As far as most of us are concerned, 90s alternative rock is a classic genre within rock n’ roll now, and while there are some who would use the style as a model to cheat the basics of pop with, others like Dark Below are using it as the aesthetical jumping-off point they should. In their debut single “Hate Being Human,” Dark Below takes the alt-rock simplicity of yesteryear and marries it with melody-forward conceptualism becoming increasingly common in the 2020s. The results are quite striking, and I think they come together with the kind of seamlessness that most underperforming creators just can’t seem to muster in the studio.


There’s nothing retro about this mix, and I would even say that production quality is where Dark Below distinguishes itself the most in “Hate Being Human.” The drums crack away at the melody with a whip-like strength that doesn’t let up for anything, and because of the clarity allowed for the lead vocal, we can feel the anticipation ahead of every verse this player is singing to us. Quality starts within the studio, and this is a band that isn’t about to present us with a muddied version of what their sound is the first time we have a chance to hear them.

This layering in the mix is excellent, and I find it to be a part of why I like the harmonies as much as I do. There’s never a second where it sounds like we’re listening to something impossible for this group to recreate, but at the same time, they’re utilizing elements here that best capture their interest in making music with depth, not just a beat. This hook tells me they’re pop-minded beneath all of the interest in dirty alternative rock riffing, and the way they carry it out only affirms this more emphatically.

Outside of the lead vocal, I think my favorite part of this track’s instrumental structure is the throbbing bassline, which just feels like the perfect foundation point for the singer to build off of in the song. “Hate Being Human” has more in common with the first wave of alternative rock in this sense than it does anything with the second (the early 90s) and third (the late-90s through the early-2000s), but the cosmetics fit in with the latter groups just fine, as well as a lot of the non-minimalist indie rock that we’re starting to find more and more of in the American and Canadian undergrounds this year.


The underground seems hell-bent on reviving aspects of what is now considered one of the most classic alternative rock eras, and bands like Dark Below make it hard to argue against the notion. “Hate Being Human” feels like the right kind of blast from the past to sell their story to the world, but it’s also just a fine rock song that takes advantage of the void that’s been left by the once-prominent sound of guitar solos, furious drum beat downs, and vocals that carried more weight than the instruments around them ever could. This is a band to watch, and I won’t be the last person to say so.

Samuel Pratt

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