Award-winning composer Danny Elfman is gearing up to release Big Mess, his first full-length solo album since 1984’s synth-pop LP So-Lo. Elfman has now officially announced his forthcoming album with his new slow-burn track “True.”
On April 12, Elfman unleashed a chaotic new video for “True” which offers another preview of what fans can expect to hear on Big Mess before it arrives June 11.
Over the past few months, Elfman has given fans a few tastes of his forthcoming album. All the way back in October, he introduced Big Mess with a haunting video for “Happy.” As it turns out, Elfman originally planned to debut the solo single during his Coachella set. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Coachella was postponed until 2021 before being canceled again in January.
“I originally wrote ‘Happy’ to perform at Coachella 2020,” Elfman says in a press release. “It was written to be an absurd anti-pop song, designed to begin as a very simple pop tune that degrades into something more subversive. The cynical nature of the lyrics echo how I feel about living in a semi-dystopian world turned upside down.”
Soon after the release of “Happy,” Elfman returned with an unsettling visual for his dynamic song “Sorry” which debuted in January. Then, in February, he shared his own view of the global pandemic with the otherworldly video for his guitar-heavy song “Love In The Time Of Covid.” More recently, in March, Elfman let out all of his built-up emotions in the chaotic video for “Kick Me.” On April 1, Elfman revisited “Kick Me” for a new remix of the track which was produced by Zach Hill.
Now, Elfman is back with another new single off of Big Mess. This week, he debuted his slow-burn track “True,” which is accompanied by another truly captivating visual. For the video, Elfman worked with director and artist Sarah Sitkin, who also created the Big Mess cover art, to incorporate numerous eerie visuals and ominous effects.
From various body parts of Elfman floating away at sea to houses ablaze and squirming animal skeletons, “True” is another visual that further brings viewers into the intriguing world inside Elfman’s head.
“The video is an exploration of fractured identity, muffled through the lens of memory,” Sitkin says in a press release. “Danny is a central figure within the video, yet only in his reproduced likeness via prosthetics, masks and 3D printed body parts. I wanted to make a video that was gritty, unpolished and uncomfortable.”
Throughout his decade-spanning career, Elfman has been responsible for creating some of the most iconic film scores. In the 1980s, he created the music for Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice and Batman, the latter of which earned him a Grammy. Then, in the 1990s, he went on to arrange the soundtracks for films such as Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns and, of course, The Nightmare Before Christmas. As well, Elfman also provided the singing voice for Jack Skellington in both the original film and on the soundtrack.
More recently, he worked on the soundtracks for 2015’s Goosebumps, 2017’s Justice League and 2019’s Dumbo. He is also arranging the soundtrack for the upcoming Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness. Currently, the Marvel film is slated to arrive March 25, 2022.
However, Elfman is now turning some of his focus toward his solo music. As his first solo album in 37 years, Elfman is putting out all of the stops for Big Mess. The upcoming double album has a staggering 18 tracks, most of which were created during the COVID-19 pandemic last year. After experimenting with aggressive rock sounds and orchestral string arrangements, Elfman soon found himself with enough material for a full album.
“Once I began writing it was like opening a Pandora’s box and I found I couldn’t stop,” he says in a press release. “None of it was planned. I had no idea how many songs I would write but from the start, it quickly became a 2-sided project with heavily contrasting and even conflicting tones.”
Along with Elfman’s distinct sound and artistic vision, Big Mess encompasses a lot of the feelings the entire world felt amid the pandemic this past year.
“2020 was an intense year, to say the very least,” Elfman says in a press release. “I knew from the start that this wasn’t going to be a neat, easy-to-categorize record. It was always destined to be this crazy cacophony because that’s who I am. The Big Mess is me.”
Alongside Elfman, Big Mess includes a few other incredibly talented artists. Drummer Josh Freese (Weezer, The Vandals), bassist Stu Brooks (Lady Gaga, Kid Cudi) and guitarists Robin Finck (Nine Inch Nails, Guns N’ Roses) and Nili Brosh (Tony MacAlpine, Paul Gilbert) all perform on the upcoming double album.
This fall, Elfman is releasing a limited edition Big Mess box set. The collector’s edition includes the full album along with unreleased remixes and alternate renditions of the songs. As well, the package contains collectible artwork, a USB drive with video content, an exclusive art book featuring Sitkin’s original illustrations and much more. Additional details regarding the box set will be released soon.
Big Mess tracklist
3. “In Time”
4. “Everybody Loves You”
5. “Dance With The Lemurs”
6. “Serious Ground”
7. “Choose Your Side”
8. “We Belong”
10. “Just A Human”
11. “Devil Take Away”
12. “Love In The Time Of Covid”
13. “Native Intelligence”
14. “Better Times”
15. “Cruel Compensation”
16. “Kick Me”
17. “Get Over It”
What are your reactions to Danny Elfman’s new video for “True”? Let us know in the comments below.