Photo by Hassan Rahim
Synthpop musician Dan Smith, a.k.a. T.O.L.D. (The Order of Life and Death) has a way of writing epic songs that sneak up on you, starting with a simple guitar arrangement or vocal melody before exploding into something that draws from a dozen different pop traditions at once. Such is the case with his new single, “There’s No Truth”, on which Smith underpins his philosophical musings (“There’s no free will/ I gave it to you”) with a vague, aching sense of romanticism. According to the LA-based British songwriter, the song “started life as a minimal guitar & vocal arrangement, but expanded with time,” which becomes glaringly obvious as soon as you hear the gospel choir for the first time.
Yes, that’s right: a gospel choir. Smith went all-out on this one, bringing in producer Tom Biller (Kanye West, Beck, Sean Lennon) and a host of holy singers to elevate “There’s No Truth” to a place beyond the standard synthpop ballad. “It was tough to get the gospel choir to sing that life was a ‘Dance with the Devil,’” he admits, “but we got there in the end.”