Side note before I get into anything: If anyone could explain why hero is pluralized with an extra “e” and yet zero isn’t, that would be greatly appreciated. Confusing English grammar aside:

So there’s this band. And they’re from Norway. And they’re called Heroes and Zeros.

That’s the basic info. Now, the more complicated stuff… This band is getting a lot of hype lately for a few reasons, the foremost being the single “Into the Light” of their latest album Strange Constellations which was released in April 2007–the song being featured on the video game FIFA 08. Their song “Into the Light” was my introduction to the band, and it is a good song. It’s what is becoming a somewhat standard rock song with solid lyrics, take a gander if you care to (not the complete lyrics, just a sampling):

I wanna be with you
despite the stupid things that I’ve said
it was just that my cool got scared

Hey, you’ve got eyes like burns of prey
that made me shy away
oh, you’re gonna tear my heart out

Hey, this insane flesh has failed,
let’s burst this ribcage jail
oh, and then we’ll be together

Let’s carry on into the light…

But besides the lyrics and the understanding of what makes a good pop/rock song, these guys really impressed me with their philosophy of music. It’s an old school philosophy if I’ve ever heard one. They wrote in their blog:

In spite of our success with single songs, we feel our greatest achievement is we’ve managed to create a complete album, just as we set out to do…. Being album lovers, we still admit the times they are a’changing, and people don’t save money for weeks to buy an album they listen to for months anymore. Music is found everywhere; on every street, in every commercial, in every video-game, in every store, on every phone or mp3 player. And of course we acknowledge the effect and impact one song can have on ours, as well as on our fans lives. In spite of this, nothing can beat the feeling when you turn your lights down low, pull down your winter curtains, lay back in your sofa and press play on your iPod/CD-player/record-player after your parents or neighbours have gone to sleep, and listens to an album you really like from start to stop, going crazy in between. If only a handful of people have done so with our “Strange Constellations”, it’s worth all the struggle making it!

Reading that truly made me want to listen to the whole album just as they had intended it. I haven’t yet so I’m going out on a limb here writing these things, but merely the fact that these guys have taken an approach of such care leaves a distinct impression. It resonated with me, thinking back to those days in the ’90s when I would buy a new CD (Radiohead’s The Bends leaving the biggest impression) and putting it into my boombox back home and just listening to it straight through. It’s a good feeling to know that a band understands they are making a whole product and not just a product that’s supposed to contain a few hit songs.

Just knowing that makes me treat the band and their music differently, knowing they intentionally put two songs on their album, one called “The Foolproof” and the other called “The Argument”, that are meant to complement each other, knowing they meant the album to be taken as a whole makes me want to like them more–whether or not I will.

To contrast: I would never treat a Nickelback album like this. Ever. Not even if aliens came to earth and admitted that they did build the pyramids as giant landing pads that they flipped upside down so no one else could use them. Not ever. Nothing could convince me they are a good band. Just like nothing could convince me that, despite it’s chart-topping success, “4 Minutes” by Madonna and Justin Timberlake with Timbaland at the helm is a good/decent/better-than-fish-guts song, or that a Grammy is a consistently valid award. There are just some things my mind is hardened against.

So coming across a band who takes the time, goes the extra mile, I figure that’s worth reporting, even if that mile they go isn’t too spectacular.