Glass Animals will perform their single “Heat Waves” at this weekend’s Billboard Music Awards, the latest step in the surprise hit’s unexpected journey.
Previously, “Heat Waves” became Glass Animals’ first number-one Billboard Alternative Airplay hit, and their first song to enter the all-genre Hot 100 ranking. With the BBMAs celebrating the biggest artists on the Billboard charts, the ceremony will be another new, pop-focused environment for Glass Animals to explore.
“I love pop music,” frontman Dave Bayley tells ABC Audio. “I’m a huge fan of pop music, but…my favorite thing is when I here a pop song on the radio, in a pop place, but it’s got a twist that means it almost shouldn’t be there. It’s my favorite thing.”
Bayley feels that “Heat Waves” is that kind of song: a pop music “curve ball.”
“It’s got some quite jazzy weird chords in there, it’s got quite a strange structure, and some weird, garbled pitched-vocals,” he says.
The defining feature of “Heat Waves” is, perhaps, its juxtaposition of a poppy, upbeat sonic landscape with Bayley’s mournful, longing lyrics. Bayley says he wanted “Heat Waves” to feel sad while also maintaining a “sense of hope and optimism.”
“It’s about missing somebody, but it’s about realizing that that’s OK,” Bayley says. “It’s actually quite therapeutic to let yourself miss somebody, it’s probably really, really healthy. It’s about not repressing that.”
“I think a lot of the time, people are told — in England, at least — to have a stiff upper lip, and that kind of garbage,” Bayley laughs. “But this song is about embracing just missing somebody, and kind of enjoying that feeling a little bit.”
The 2021 Billboard Music Awards will air Sunday, May 23, on NBC. Other performers include Twenty One Pilots and AJR.
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