I Hate Heroes’ full album stream of ‘Save Yourself’

Post-hardcore outfit I Hate Heroes released their debut full-length album, Save Yourself, in early September this year. Propelled by a run on Warped Tour and a popular Taylor Swift cover, the band has seen rising success. Today, they’re proud to release a track-by-track commentary on each of the songs from the album.

Vocalist Ephraim Francis speaks with HM Magazine about each track on the record.

Here’s to You

I remember when I first heard the instrumental track for the song, and thought to myself, “This has to be really good.” It’s the first impression of the album introduced by a long and energetic assault of chugs and beats, so the pressure was on to create a vocal track that was worthy of it.

To me, it sounded like an anthem so I wrote it in line with the primary message of the whole album: Life is hard and unfair, but don’t give up. You have the power to make it whatever you can envision, no matter your age or the hand you were dealt. Congratulations on making it this far, you should be proud of who you are even if you had a rough past. You can’t let that affect your future in a negative way.

Stand Tall

I feel like everyone seems to be obsessed with the idea that there’s only one right way. Whether it’s their definition of success, happiness, or a plethora of more controversial topics, we fight tooth and nail to make that point to strangers so we can validate ourselves.

I find this disturbing and pointless; I believe that many roads can lead to the same destination, and it’s quite audacious of humans to assume they know the answers. You don’t have to be one certain way or another to make a difference. As long as you can remain strong through hard times, that will separate you from people who aren’t courageous enough to keep trying.

Silver Linings

I’m probably the biggest fan of “softer” music in the band, and pop-punk is a not-so-guilty pleasure of mine. I insist on peppering in the genre on all of our albums – as well as throw in an acoustic track – and I’m glad they’ve humored me so far.

This song was one of the very first demos we wrote before hitting the studio, and I’m very happy with how it turned out. As the name implies, sometimes, in order to see the good in a bad situation, we need to not overthink it. Life is unpredictable and full of ups and downs. To navigate them, it’s best to stay positive and go for it even if “it” seems unattainable.

Alive

(This was) the first song we tracked as a demo and thus the song that made me realize, “Hey, you’re about to write a full-length album.” At first the thought was intimidating, and the process seemed tedious and overwhelming. I had never worked with so many other creative minds on the same project before, but it became more and more rewarding as we all got into the swing of it.

Essentially, if you neglect your passions, you will always be filled with regret. If you take some time to step away from a stressful, depressing personal situation, you can better see it for what it is. Sometimes this requires an impartial outside perspective, but, in the end, it’s our choice to give in or not, and that choice is a weighty one.

Ghost in the Mirror

I’ve got to make it clear here: You can’t save everyone. Some people – even close friends – can break our trust and betray us. This song was an outlet for me during a time when I was watching someone I used to be very close with drift away and never come back. Although I’m aware we have to let people make their own decisions and mistakes, this situation was especially hard for me. We can’t let people who hate themselves bring us down with them. Sometimes it’s necessary to cut ties with toxic people for our own good.

Drowning

It should come as no surprise that depression is a major problem for many people. We all have slightly different triggers and ways to combat it, but, still, the particularly low points of our lives tend to feel like huge obstacles in the way of our personal fulfillment. I tend to not deal well with the feeling of being stagnant. Even if I’m working a job and making progress on my hobbies and skills, I start to feel like I’m going nowhere if I’m forced to stick to a routine every day. Boredom and complacency with a predictable life can be destructive, leading us to dwell on our negative thoughts and prejudices due to an underlying unhappiness. Change is the only constant in life, and it’s almost always a blessing in disguise.

Remember Me

This song was actually the last one I recorded vocals for on the album. It took me the longest time to decide the theme and feelings I wanted to elaborate on, but I’m satisfied with the final product. The melancholy, longing tones of the instrumental track begged me to finally allow myself to write an honest and vulnerable ode to something we all go through: heartbreak and rejection. The song is written in the perspective of someone who has been rejected by a lover with whom they had an unhealthy, codependent relationship. The person is filled with self-doubt and self-medicates to cope with the separation.

Light the Way

My personal favorite track on Save Yourself, by a large margin. From the drums to the guitars to the bass and vocals, this song is all-around the best in my opinion.

I remember being very excited when I first heard the skeleton of the song, and it filled me with the energy I needed to write about the topic I find most important: perception. You shouldn’t believe everything you hear, or read, or even see with your own eyes. The world will tug on you from all angles to influence you one way or another, but it’s best to take that with a grain of salt and form your own individual thoughts and opinions. So many people are comfortable with the idea of simply regurgitating “facts” gleaned from various unreliable sources without questioning all the inherent inconsistencies and contradictions. Always question everything.

The Battle

This song, at first glance, seems like a rather harsh critique of personal responsibility (or lack thereof). However, I intended it to be more of an argument with myself. I tend to move back and forth between philosophies on how to deal with hardship in its many forms, but, ultimately, I believe that I have the power to surmount anything that comes my way. Everyone seems to have some excuse for why their life isn’t the way they want it to be, but the reality is that it’s in our control. Most people just give up when life gets difficult and settle for what they can accomplish while avoiding the rigors of working hard for their dreams. It’s mainly the fear of mediocrity that propels me forward and gives me the strength to accept the terms necessary to beat the hard times.

If Looks Could Kill

The message of this song can be summed up in the first few lines. The value of letting go of something or someone that is causing you pain is tremendous, even though it may not be immediately apparent. In fact, at first, it may seem counterintuitive but months or years down the road you will end up thanking yourself. In the wake of a break-up, sometimes we seek strings of casual encounters in an effort to find someone we click with. Often this is a coping mechanism for deeper issues that affect our family life and how we interact with everyone else, and it can lead to deeper loneliness. If one is unable to diagnose their own self-destructive behavior, and they have no one else to help them through it, the path to recovery will be long and arduous.

Sing Me to Sleep

This song is the only one on the album that I wrote in its entirety, and I’m flattered that the others allowed me to include such a delicately personal flavor to an otherwise very intense record. It was written as a tribute to my relationship, which had a rocky and impersonal beginning but turned out to be the best thing to ever happen to me. I’ve learned the valuable lesson that mutual support is essential for emotional growth and finding someone who is willing to fight to understand you is a rare and precious thing. Never take someone who loves you for granted, or you will regret it forever. Treat them with the same respect and eagerness that they give to you, and you can help build each other to heights you never thought possible.