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The Story Behind Manchester Orchestra’s Unexpected Global Smash “The Silence”

Andy Hull discusses the song's massive success with over 111 million YouTube views

manchester orchestra the story behind the song the silence
The Story Behind the Song: Manchester Orchestra’s “The Silence,” photo by Shervin Lainez
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    Manchester Orchestra is one of Indie music’s darlings, and deservedly so. The band is fearless in how it has evolved over the years, moving from the in-your-face guitar thrashes of 2014’s Cope to the much more cinematic and layered approach of their last two albums, 2017’s A Black Mile to the Surface and their recent The Million Masks of God. When released last year, Consequence proclaimed it to be “not only Manchester Orchestra’s crowning achievement, but also one of the finest amalgamations of indie rock/Americana/indie folk in years,” and named it the 14th best album of 2021.

    But something strange happened along the way to Million Masks. The video for “The Silence,” the closing song from A Black Mile, began to gain traction on YouTube. Though never formally released as a single, the track did get a music video in December 2018 — a visual that now boasts over 111 million views. Even while the LP’s lead single, “The Gold,” remains the most streamed song from the album on Spotify, it’s clear “The Silence” has had its own unique impact on the band’s audience.

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    Lead singer and songwriter Andy Hull echoes that point, admitting that he frequently tears up when he reads fans’ comments to the video (which he regularly does). “The Silence” definitely has struck a nerve — the band’s loudest chord and statement to date — and opened up a broad new global audience previously unaware of Manchester Orchestra.

    In this bonus ninth episode of The Story Behind the Song podcast, host Peter Csathy interviews Hull about “The Silence” phenomenon, touching on why the artist believes this particular track blew up around the world with such resonance. He also discusses the remarkable “Angel of Death” from Million Masks, the latest single from the gorgeously complex album. (Csathy previously wrote a guest column for Variety about how Million Masks had a special healing impact on him during the time of his mother’s death.)

    Listen to this bonus episode about Manchester Orchestra’s “The Silence” above, or check out the full video of the interview ahead.

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    Make sure to like, subscribe, and review The Story Behind the Song wherever you get your podcasts. You can also keep an eye on the Consequence Podcast Network for updates on all our podcasts, and follow host Peter Csathy on Twitter @pcsathy and check out his company CREATV Media.

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