Bella’s Bartok’s newest release, Sticks and Stones, tells a story leading up to and through the Covid pandemic and the responses thus by individuals and the US government at large. The intent behind this song evolved over its lengthy writing process. The verse is the oldest part, dating melodically from late 2017 and lyrically from early 2018. It tells the tale of the dissolution of a long-standing romantic relationship, conjuring imagery of industry and failed emotional infrastructure.
Rust, rot and loss give way to the pre-chorus with the repeated call and response refrain of “We’ll work it out.” This section came about shortly before the pandemic, in November of 2019. More than a plea, the lyrics are an admonishment of despair, a reminder that hope does truly spring eternal — for both the individual and the community.
The key to this song is its chorus. Written in the deepest, darkest period of the pandemic. Rather than wallow in misery, the lyrics confront the certain doom of Covid, the loss and utterly inept response of government in trying to contain the disease. Like any good tongue-in-cheek political commentary, existential crisis can be defanged and declawed by taking the wind out of its sails. The world keeps spinning, even through the hypocrisy of those in power.
Started in the dimly lit alleyways of Great Barrington, MA, Bella’s Bartok gradually evolved from street-punk performers to an electric, interactive spectacle that has continued to entertain audiences for more than a decade. Find Bella’s Bartok on a variety of stages, at a myriad of festivals, or on the street across the continental United States. Audiences often pick up on the band’s main influences such as Goran Bregović, Frank Zappa, Mr. Bungle, System of a Down, Tom Waits and Oingo Boingo.
Floors may be broken but hearts will be mended.