All Songs Considered
1:48 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

First Watch: The Orwells, 'Who Needs You'

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 3:50 pm

"They look like the kids from Stand By Me or an old Norman Rockwell painting canted a few degrees," director Eddie O'Keefe says of the teenaged Chicago garage-rock group The Orwells. "I wanted to capture that aspect of the band in a video." The Orwells' new song, "Who Needs You," is the title track from an upcoming EP, out Sept. 10.

A thrilling, charismatic live band with infectious energy, The Orwells showcased plenty of that enthusiasm on 2012's Remember When. This new song features the hallmarks that make The Orwells such a joy, with youthful energy and lyrics shouted by dynamic singer Mario Cuomo. (No, not that Mario Cuomo.)

Speaking of the history shown in the historic images flashing behind the band in the "Who Needs You" video, guitarist Matt O'Keefe admits that his education on the subject matter is limited: "Our political knowledge ranges from what we were taught in junior-year U.S. history class — meaning that all we are really sure of is that Abraham Lincoln was a good guy, and that Bill Clinton got head in the Oval Office."

But he also says the song captures a much more innate feeling, and that it doesn't take history books to understand what "Who Needs You" is about: "The millions of people who had their history written for them, and how they felt they couldn't escape it. It's about being told what to do, about being told what to believe in — which is, in a nutshell, the story of America's youth."

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