The song at #58 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is “Closer” by British electro-rock band IAMWARFACE. The London & Brighton-based act are among my favorite indie bands making music today, and I’ve featured them on this blog many times over the past four-plus years. Their aggressive name is a fitting metaphor for their bombastic, groove-based sound, and I love every single one of their songs, beginning with their explosive debut single “Say My Name” in 2016. But my favorite is their monumental song “Closer” which literally stunned me the first time I heard it in 2018.
The fiercely beautiful track opens with ominous throbbing synths that slowly build into a dramatic otherworldly soundscape, enveloping us as band vocalist Matt Warneford wearily implores to someone with whom he seems to have an obsessive and destructive relationship: “Who, who am I? I’m just living to die. This old night, when it comes, I’ll be free of these old bones.” With that, the music erupts into a maelstrom of grinding synths, fuzzy guitars, buzz-saw bass, and thunderous percussion, punctuated by almost violently crashing cymbals that emphasize the intense feelings of abject desolation expressed in the bitter lyrics. Warneford’s intense vocals are filled with despair and resignation over a love affair that now lies in tatters. “Feel I’m walking on shattered glass. This romance just has to end, to reset, erase, begin again.” The song is incredible, and leaves me covered with chills every time I hear it.
The dark video, which was filmed in stark black and white in a decrepit, abandoned warehouse, has a gothic quality that’s at once disturbing and breathtaking. Warneford is shown singing the song while a ghostly Simona Martini, dressed in a torn and dirty gossamer gown, does a stylized, almost tortured modern ballet dance. It’s absolutely brilliant.