The Vancouver songwriter’s new single “Bad News” spins a menacing romantic yarn, and so does its accompanying video: a frolic through the Roaring Twenties that evoke a Fitzgerald-style underworld.
There’s an effervescence about Dey Rose. Which is funny, considering a lot of her songs are heaving cryfests where she’s invariably in distress. In many ways, she’s a bubbly harbinger of sorrow, if you can even picture that.
That all changes with her new single “Bad News,” where a cunning bit of pronoun switcheroo casts Rose in a new light.
First drafted in 2018, the song originally ascribed cruelty onto a lover, but in the final Panting Heart version, that quality is grafted to the speaker. This shift from accusation (“You are bad news”) to confession (“I am bad news”) gave the tune a different skin, and it initially weirded out Rose.
“I didn’t want to be perceived to be that kind of person, because I try my best to be gentle and nice [despite] the pain they’ve caused me,” she says, alluding to an old love. In the end, whether by luck or design, the song took on a more sinister timbre. “[It] turned out pretty badass, as angsty as the sound and instrumentation, and I’m super stoked about that!” she exclaims.
It’s kind of meta, but “Bad News” is good news for younger fans of adult-oriented rock. I say this mostly because Rose is not only reverential of the form—“Though I’ve released music of varying styles, I will always feel closer to rock ‘n’ roll.”—she’s also one of its feistiest innovators.
That life-long love affair is evident in this vibrant and angular new single. Apart from Dey’s always-sublime vocal work, there’s the masterful rhythmic lock between drummer Victor Young and bassist JeanSe Le Doujet; the character-rich playing of keyboardist Harvey Paris; and, above all, Alex Flock’s fretwork, which especially soars during the solo. “[Everything is] nice and steady until, of course, the guitar solo comes in, which I’m obsessed with!” she shares, raving about Flock’s mad skills in relaying that “Fuck you, I can’t take it anymore” feeling.
“It’s angry, angsty, salty, [and with] lots of attitude,” Rose further says of the track, which she co-produced with Harvey Paris and engineer Braeden “Pockets” Rangno.
Boosting “Bad News” further is its highly stylized video, written and directed by the amazing Eugene Chok and shot by Thomas Walker, who worked on hit series Riverdale. Shot on location in Guilt & Co.—a Vancouver live-music venue where Rose also works as sound technician—it’s a tip of the hat to an era replete with style and charm, with Dey Rose in the lead as underworld queen.
“We just kept going down the rabbit hole of [different eras] until we hit the Roaring Twenties—The Great Gatsby vibes, the dawn of the speakeasy, secret bars and parties—which worked out quite well with the underground location,” Rose says, beaming about her workplace, which easily evoked the spirit of a bygone era in its very bones.
It’s a charming bit of short-form filmmaking, elegantly lit and with unyielding attention to detail. Rose is especially fond of the prop backstories, which included a frenzied hunt for the perfect doctor’s bag and some Red Bird strike-anywhere matches. “We originally wanted to strike a match on the wall for the outdoor scene, but at the time, Vancouver was too windy and rainy and it didn’t work,” Dey Rose recounts while laughing.
Plot-wise, “Bad News” tells the story of a band of grifters and con artists who scam people for money. Their every triumph is, of course, hinged on the sinister theater of it all: of collaborators acting as strangers, of evil masquerading as love. The rub is that, during their big heist, “things start to kind of go sideways when I start to feel guilty, and maybe [develop] some feelings towards [our victim].”
Intrigued yet? Get your dose of “Bad News” today.