Our latest single “Toy Soldiers” is out now! You can listen to our version of the song & watch the official video HERE. We also have “Toy Soldiers” available on limited 7” vinyl through the official SSPU Shop HERE.
Note from Brian:
We were performing a cover of a song from The Lost Boys soundtrack for a for SiriusXM special and that got us thinking about songs from the ‘80s that we loved growing up, that had a big radio moment and was part of our cultural DNA. A song that you know right away when you hear it. We thought of “Toy Soldiers” as a great example of this and decided we should try and record it.
It’s a song that so many people are familiar with, and it was so important to not mess with the tonic of it. Vocally- this song is carried completely on the melodies, so we made that our anchor. We wanted to make sure it had all the same vocals, melodies and background melodies. The way the vocals are layered – that can’t be moved – that was a must. Vocally- this thing is carried completely on the melodies. We knew that was our anchor. We decided to strike the kid vocals, and this opened up a great space for Nikki.
There’s something about this song that hits me emotionally – this song has always hit me that way. At first, it wasn’t about the lyrics, but the feel of it. To be honest, I was not initially aware what the song was about, but listening to the lyrics, it was clearly about addiction. Someone else’s addiction. It’s pretty painful and very personal. You realize it doesn’t matter what the shell is, what the production is, what the era is…this is obviously a very personal story that at first I wasn’t sure we could touch. We ended up framing it into our own world and we think it works.
The song took a while to wrap our head around once we started recording it with Butch Vig, who clearly knows our history. I don’t think I’ve ever sung this intimately before. This version doesn’t feel bombastic and over the top, it’s crackling and tiny at times. Butch really helped with this. At one point, we thought it was done, but Butch wanted a more complex bridge, and this is where we threw in a curve ball, some weird things, inspired by Johnny Greenwood. The guitar solo during it was very important to me, and we quickly realized that the solo worked during that time period, but not when we did it. We put our weird stamp on it and it really came together. Ultimately, it’s going to feel heightened because it wasn’t our song – that was really fun to conquer.
We recorded this back in January and didn’t know where it would land, but now with this world the way it is, we felt it was a good time to release the song. We just wanted to shine a spotlight on Martika and this song.
?: Claire Marie Vogel & Aaron Hymes.