Most of our favorite songs are about love, and that’s because it’s a very human feeling that most people have personally experienced during their lives in some shape or form.
Mini Mansions frontman Michael Shuman (also Queens of the Stone Age‘s bassist) took this sweet topic a step further for Mansions’ third album, Guy Walks Into A Bar…, out today (July 26).
The LP was written with a narrative about love in mind. Many of the tracks spawned from a real-life relationship Shuman had; he wrote a song about it in real time every step of the way, from beginning honeymoon phase jitters to the process of breaking up.
While there are some serious moments on the record, like “Works Every Time” and “Tears In Her Eyes,” the band — made up of Shuman, Tyler Parkford and Zach Dawes — also does an excellent job of inserting their much-needed sense of humor into the mix. “I’m In Love” has a restless, almost manic edge to it, “I think I might be having a heart attack/ I get the feeling that I’ll never come back/ I’m in love, I’m in L-O-V-E/ I’m in love with you,” Shuman sings.
The Kills‘ Alison Mosshart is also featured on “Hey Lover,” a slow burner that sounds more like a conversation between two people who’ve had a couple drinks too many before picking up the phone. “The things that we’ve said, our foot out the door/ Don’t you know we’ve done this all before?/ Now we’re crying,” they sing together before jumping into an explosive, sonic plot twist.
The album as a whole is a witty, quick and dynamic effort from a trio of players who have clearly been in the scene for a while (Parkford also plays with Arctic Monkeys). They make cool, groovy rock ‘n’ roll that’s simply made for dancing.
Guy Walks Into A Bar… is out now via Fiction Records. To celebrate, Shuman and Parkford broke down every track for Billboard, below.
“Works Every Time”
“I wrote this at a time when I was spiraling through a really volatile relationship with someone. It got so codependent that the stakes would escalate to life and death situations. I’d always leave knowing it was a horrible and dangerous place only to return having forgotten why I left in the first place. Crazy love!” — Parkford
“Forgot Your Name”
“To me, this song is the instant I’m compelled by unseen forces to dance my head off while consuming copious amounts of drugs and carpet-bombing the past, while falling in love with the present and the people who make it worth loving and living despite never asking for their names. — Parkford
“I Don’t Even Know You”
“I wrote this about that moment you see a stranger who makes your heart skip a beat, and that amazing sadness behind knowing you’ll never know who they are, plus the equally-fantastic realization that they could be anyone you imagine them to be simply because you never will know them.” — Parkford
“Should Be Dancing”
“My personal favorite song on the record. Opens up the idea of Guy Walks Into a Bar…, letting loose, living for the night, and looking for connection with another human being. Preferably with your dancing shoes on.” — Shuman
“Bad Things (That Make You Feel Good)”
“This is inspired by the ‘Pleasure Principle.’ I just want to feel, and often those feelings come through vices. For better or for worse. This track also probably differs most from the style of Mini Mansions song you’ve heard in the past.” — Shuman
“I’m In Love”
“The first song we recorded for this record. A tune that depicts that full blown, out of control, drug induced feeling you get when you really fall in love. This is the state I was in at the time and nothing else mattered in my life. Healthy? Not so much.” — Shuman
“This song was written and recorded in tandem with ‘I’m In Love.’ Time and space become important roles in a relationship. Things that are out of your control. Pasts that you cant change and futures that are unforeseen. What are you supposed to do about that?” — Shuman
“Living In The Future”
“In this relationship, I saw a perfect future, and I so badly wanted these premonitions to come true. But that’s no way to live. We have no idea what will come next for us. You can try your hardest, but sometimes you just have to hang on for dear life and enjoy the ride, wherever it may lead.” — Shuman
“We attempted the make the most fun out of a sad situation. Threw Eminem and Bee Gees-style production moves onto a Mansions track built for hopeless romantics. I tried to shape and mold someone, my GummyBear, who ultimately wasn’t the person for me, no matter how bad I wanted them to be.” — Shuman
“Hey Lover (feat. Alison Mosshart)”
“The only duet on the record, and nobody better to ‘du-et’ with than Alison. We needed that female voice and take on this classic conversation. She is one of my favorite frontwomen, and she delivered all the emotion we needed and more.” — Shuman
“Tears In Her Eyes”
“Probably the most difficult track to record. But it was a song I saw necessary to close this chapter in my life and ultimately this record. Tyler and Zach had a hard time connecting with it, but they trusted and allowed me see it through. I thank them for that.” — Shuman