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Scott Hardware offers a dose of classic poptimism with his cover of the Style Council’s “Shout To The Top”

The FADER’s transgender charity covers compilation FADER & Friends Volume 1 is out now, available exclusively on Bandcamp until December 1, 2023. 100% of the proceeds go towards the Transgender Law Center, Mermaids, and Rainbow Railroad. Throughout the month of November, we’re speaking to the artists who contributed to the 44-song collection about the songs they covered.

It’s not a huge surprise that Scott Hardwood, the Toronto-based singer-songwriter known as Scott Hardware, is a fan of the Style Council. Paul Weller and Mick Talbot’s sophisti-pop group left a blueprint for left-field artists to find their own approach to catchiness, something Hardware showcased with impressive results on last year’s Ballad of a Tryhard. Today he offers his own take on the Style Council’s rapturous 1984 hit “Shout to the Top.”

Listen to the song below and buy the full album on Bandcamp. Scroll down to read Scott on the original song and his cover.

What’s your first memory of this song?

It’s hard to pinpoint my first memory of this song, but I know why I loved it right away. It gives me the same exact sensation every time I hear it. It’s a shot of energy — shameless in its optimism — with the capability to make my eyes water every time. I take it like a pill when I need the energy to keep going, specifically to keep hacking away at life as an artist. There’s a special code baked into the melodies and arrangements that transmits a little message: “Don’t give up!”.

Why did you decide to record it as your cover?

I think I chose to record this song because I knew it would be a challenge. I’ve been unfocused in my music-making since my last record, trying to find where to go next sonically, and this project provided a concrete project for me to focus on. I don’t think I have a “favourite song,” but when asked I can always conjure a top five, and this song is always there. The arrangements are dense, and the writing is brilliant, so I wanted a challenging cover to remind myself of how rewarding tough material can be.

What does this song/band mean to you personally?

I love the Style Council so much. The way I see it, they use pop structure as a provocation. I think Paul Weller probably took a lot of shit from Jam fans about making a chic, pretty, and sophisticated suite of music as Style Council (along with Dee C. Lee, Mick Talbot, and Steve White). I’m so turned off by narrow-minded genre stuff, so I can’t help but giggle that in their way, the Style Council were provoking punks!

What’s another song you’d love to cover and why?

I thought for a moment about doing Scott Walker’s “Angels of Ashes,” but I dunno… maybe one day.