The Importance of Cub Sport’s ‘O Lord’

‘O Lord’ is Cub Sport’s first offering from their follow up album to last year’s This Is Our Vice, and it’s somewhat of a side step from their debut album’s sound. Stripped away is the synth-pop that defined singles like ‘Only Friend’, ‘I Can’t Save You’ and their ultimate tearjerker, ‘Come On Mess Me Up’. The first 40 seconds focus entirely on lead singer Tim Nelson’s voice, then in come the organ and the steady drums. Yes, it still is Cub Sport – the indie pop wunderkinds of Brisbane but not as you knew them. ‘O Lord’ is their successful leap of faith into a new era of Cub Sport, if before you thought they were heartfelt – think again. There are all kinds of honesty and it looks like Cub Sport have zeroed in on their own.

Upon the debut of ‘O Lord’, Tim gave background for the track. Last year Tim and fellow band member, Sam Netterfield came out and began dating. Not only that, they told their family and friends – which to any non-gays out there, is an ultimate trial of unconditional love. Upon receiving the support of their friends and family, Tim says “I suddenly had everything I’d ever wanted. I was free to be my true self…but what I didn’t expect was the realisation that when you get everything you’ve ever wanted you suddenly have everything to lose.” ‘O Lord’ is centred on that feeling of the impossible fragility of joy and the fear that it is only defined by the hunt for, or the loss of. It’s all the more powerful that Cub Sport’s expression of it almost takes form of a prayer, both in acknowledging the fear of losing love, but also the strength of devotion.

Part of the sheer joy of ‘O Lord’ exists in its wider context, as it plays out over the radio over the coming months, as it sounds on the national Big Scary tour and when it inevitably gets used on some tv show –remember that it is a gay love song. It is one boyfriend to another, in love and holding to the point of clinging. Think about how many popular songs you can truly find with similar sentiments in their honesty – not the faux grabs at rainbow points like ‘I Kissed A Girl’ and ‘Same Love,’ or entry-level Gay and Proud like ‘Born This Way’ or ‘I’m Coming Out’ but songs that hold a tighter focus. ‘O Lord’ is a special song as it hones in on a communal vulnerability that could be felt by anyone but is born out of an overwhelmingly underrepresented point of view.

Quite simply, a gay guy wrote a song about being scared and I’m now going to hear it when I hop into an Uber and honestly, that’s a wonderful feeling. Not pleasure at the fact that he is scared – as that is mortifying – but that this is a song by a gay artist that didn’t have to be brave, sexual or rebellious. It’s a pop song that is astoundingly human. In a country where same-sex marriage is still not legal, homophobes are daily given pedestals and there are more songs about drugs than there are about gay relationships – it’s something cling to.

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WORDS BY LLOYD CRACKETT

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