At the end of 2019, it was revealed that Cold War Kids‘ “First” was the most-played song on alternative radio for the 2010s. Speaking with ABC Audio, frontman Nathan Willett reflects on what that decade-long accomplishment meant to him and the band.
“My first response when our manager told me was, ‘That can’t be true. That just can’t be accurate,'” Willett recalls.
“On one level, it’s very much been a hit song,” he continues. “But then on the other hand it’s been the sneakiest and quietest hit song ever.”
“First” appears on Cold War Kids’ 2014 album Hold My Home, and was released as a single in 2015. Having already put out four albums prior to that, Willett feels that the success of “First” hit at the right time in the band’s career.
“The best thing that I think can happen with a hit song is when a band has been around for a long time and already has a following,” Willett muses. “Then you get a little bit more of a following with a song that does really well, but it’s hard tell how much of what’s changed is because of this song.”
“It’s interesting,” he adds. “I know there’s probably a lot of people that know that song that don’t know anything about Cold War Kids.”
Overall, Willett is grateful for the radio success of “First,” which he calls the “greatest blessing.”
“That’s how bands are able to keep doing this for so long,” he says. “You’re financially more able, you get your name on the wall a little bit higher on the wall…it feels great, man, it’s amazing.”
Cold War Kids released their latest album, New Age Norms 2, in August. It’s the second entry in a planned trilogy of albums.
By Josh Johnson
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