By Noah Hubbell
By Kiernan Maletsky
By Tom Murphy
By Noah Hubbell
By Alex Distefano
By Darryl Smyers
By Jon Solomon
By Britt Chester
"The more I tried, the less I could write, and finally I just said, 'I can't do this,'" he remembers. "We went back on the road and did [a few tours], and next thing you know, it's October, and we didn't have anything to show for it. I was like, 'Shit, did I blow our big chance?' I can't even come up with one song idea, let alone a record's worth. All of us went in this downward spiral, and myself, specifically, kinda hit rock bottom. Somewhere throughout that spiral came all these new songs."
Slowly but surely, Anderson completed all of the lyrics for the album. He and Benson eventually compromised, and now, nearly two years after the band initially signed with Reprise, Single File will release its debut album, Common Struggles. The cover of the album depicts a sad-looking cartoon character with a cast on its arm, soaking wet, while a solitary storm cloud dumps buckets of water on him. It is hilariously tragic with a sweet side that almost makes you feel sorry for laughing at the little guy. This sentiment pretty much sums up the album, which is happy and peppy enough to be played at any high-school prep rally, but lyrically sad enough to be sung by the insecure nerd looking onward. "Mannequin Loveseat," in which Anderson bemoans, "I'm sad about pretty things just out of reach," is a classic opener for an album that almost didn't get released.
"They really wanted us to push us through the machine," says Anderson, "and this project almost came to an end because of contention between us and Howard Benson. In the end, I think Howard was happy that he compromised some of his production style to make a more honest, Weezer, grungy type of sound. I think he's more proud of this than most records that he has done."
If their standing up strong and throwing a spoke in the mainstream music machine until they made a record they wanted to make isn't the most punk-rock thing about the men of Single File, their desire to continually do so may be.
"Our label is a great label, and they are absolutely the right label for us, but we are constantly fighting them," says Ginsberg. "They try to throw things at us and tell us this is the way it's gonna be, and we tell them, 'No, that doesn't work for us; that's not how we want to do this.'"
"Nothing's going to change from how we started," Anderson concludes.