The Gruesome Truth Behind 2008’s Biggest Pop Song (And Why You Won’t Find Any Trace Of It)
I used to work on my university campus radio station in college. We used to talk about current events around the school, any news around the surrounding town, and played requested songs for students, something our school surprisingly allowed. I remember a very weird couple of months where students who tuned into the show constantly requested a song called “See You After, Babe”, a pop song by some one-hit-wonder group called Symmetry Icon, the dumbest name for a band I’ve ever heard. But that song was huge around October and November of 2008. As one of the campus radio’s DJs, I had to play that song over like a hundred times in two months. I heard it everywhere, in malls, gas stations, on real radio stations, and I think even on MTV.
Something was weird about that song, but I couldn’t remember exactly what. I tried Googling the song and band, but nothing came up in the results for either. Not even YouTube had a single clip of the song.
I frequent an alumni Facebook page for my school, and I posted a question on there asking if anyone remembered the song. The post got a bunch of likes and a lot of people started hitting me up about things they recall about Symmetry Icon’s mysterious hit. One girl wrote to me that she couldn’t remember how it went, but that the lyrics were kind of awkward and unconventional. Another classmate told me that the song was so catchy that it was stuck in his head for like weeks.
A week went by since I had posted on the alumni page, and then I got a message from a guy that used to live in the dorm next to mine named Matt. Matt private messaged me asking if I found any leads about the song. I told him no. He told me that he had nothing but bad memories about that song. Here are his messages verbatim (*NOTE: Paul was his dorm roommate):
“yea dude I haven’t heard that song since that year… I remember paul would always crank it up in the room. I can’t remember how it went, but I remember it was kinda unusual and not a typical pop song, but everyone loved it. I couldn’t stand it. Paul REALLY loved it tho, he was always humming it. And then one day, I never heard the song again, and Paul was acting totally strange. He was always partying and outgoing and shit but around that time he got super depressed. One day I asked him what was up, and he said that he couldn’t get the song out of his head and that it’s gone forever now and he’ll never be able to hear it again. Idk if you know now dude, but Paul is still not doing so well, he’s got no job, no girl, hardly ever talks to anyone… I message him every now and then and he just says how he misses 2008 when life was good. I told him to see a shrink, but he says that won’t help, he just needs ‘something new to listen to’. He’s a part of that alumni group, and I know he’s seen your post, and I’m worried he’s gonna snap dude. Can you talk to him?”
I messaged Paul soon after, asking him how he was.
Me: “hey paul! Long time no see man. How you doing?”
Paul: “SAL!!!!! Yooooo! Good to hear from you”
Me: “how’ve you been bud?”
Paul: “I’m okay, just trudging along as always.”
Me: “that’s good!”
Paul: “I saw what you put on [the alumni page]. Dude…that song was my life. I miss it so much, I cant believe it’s gone.”
Me: “Well I’m sure someone can find it!”
Paul: “Nah man…it’s gone. That’s how the world is, things come and go. SI made a song that was alive, and now it’s dead. Man I miss it. Those were the days”
Me: “? Uh…”
Paul: “I know im actin weird, Matt always says I need to get some help but I dont. I just need to hear the song again, and it sucks knowing I never will.”
Freaked out, I stopped talking about the song after that and just resumed making small talk with him until we both signed off. The next evening, not even 24 hours later, I come home from work to see people posting on Paul’s Facebook wall with “R.I.P.” and all sorts of condolences; Paul killed himself that day. I was horrified to hear that he had done it by stabbing himself in the face multiple times.
And the thought that I was one of the last people he talked to made me feel even worse.
Matt messaged me that day, too: “It was because of the song. I’m sorry, Sal. It’s not your fault.”
While I think now it wouldn’t have been in the best taste to do it, right then and there I thought it would be a great idea to find “See You After, Babe” somehow and put it up on Paul’s wall. Just for some sort of closure. I spent the entire following week asking Yahoo Answers, posting on music forums, and commenting on YouTube videos of 2008 pop songs. Nobody knew anything about the song or the band. I had put my email up on some of these, but heard nothing until last night, December 27th.
In my inbox was a message from someone named “Brad Hoskins”. The subject was “Song by Symmetry Icon”. Attached to the email was an .mp3 file, and in the body was this:
I saw your post on [forum] inquiring about Symmetry Icon’s song, ‘See You After, Babe’, and thought I’d send you an email to clear things up and perhaps dissuade you from your search. I am sending this to you with the hope that you will keep things discrete, as there are not a lot of people who know anything about this song and should the nature of it be released, it won’t exactly be hard for any higher-ups to pinpoint who spilled the beans. But, you seem like a nice guy and I don’t want you to do something you’ll regret.
Symmetry Icon was a young three-member pop group that started up in 2007 and came out with an album by 2008. Hard to believe 2008 is close to being a decade ago, but obviously you know how a lot of pop music was in that year: it was catchy, not too technical, upbeat but not very hardcore club-ish yet. Kinda cheesy synths and sounds. Look at Billboard’s Top 100 for that year, you’ll see what I mean.
Well, anyways, I was working as a part-time engineer for a sort of smaller record label that was trying to find a big break. They thought they found it with Symmetry Icon, because the group was very talented, especially for being so young (all three were 19-21 age). It was crazy how they could just start playing around on their instruments and just come up with a tune catchier than anything else the label had produced.
While Symmetry Icon was signed on for our label, their manager was an outside hire that came with them like a package deal. This guy was the definition of weird, he looked like a stereotypical slimy businessman. He was super close with the band, though, and they wouldn’t drop him no matter what deals the label dangled in front of them. At every recording session and every meeting, that weird manager was right there, whispering into the band’s ears. It felt like behind every song and every decision was that creepy guy. The band was even comfortable telling us that for the most part, their manager was coming up with the ideas for their songs.
So, one day, the band misses a recording session because the lead singer’s girlfriend is caught in a car accident that destroys her face. I had seen the girl before, she was absolutely beautiful, but after the accident she looked like a monster. No right eye, lips gone, a forehead that caved in. It was horrific, and she knew it too, so she unfortunately ended up killing herself, though I’m not sure exactly how. We were all very bummed about it at the studio.
The lead singer for the band, Andrew, was devastated. We told him to take some time with any new material, but at the next session we saw him he came in with a new song the band had written themselves. They had given their creepy manager the slip. When we asked where he was, Andrew just said, “He can go fuck himself”.
Well, the song they brought in was ‘See You After, Babe’, something Andrew had written in light of his girlfriend getting disfigured. It was catchy and upbeat, but unlike anything the band had recorded for us. They handed us the lyrics, and we were taken aback by how odd they were. I’ve been holding onto a copy of them for years now:
I just wanted to be a big name
But I got caught up in this craziness
We made a deal with him,
He said he’d rise us up
In exchange for something small.
But he took your… (x3)
At first it was just little things.
And then it came to this.
I didn’t think he’d take something
That I’d actually miss.
It wasn’t an accident.
I’m so sorry.
I’ll see you after, babe.
Depressing stuff, yeah? At the studio we thought so, too. Plus, the chorus was four words and an incomplete sentence that went off into a four-note riff, so we all doubted its potential.
But we still recorded the entire song, mastered it, and sent it to the higher-ups who loved it and thought it’d be a big hit.
It went out to quite a number of radio stations, who played it like they would any other single. After a week, DJs asked us to interview the band, but Symmetry Icon wanted nothing to do with the press.
One day during another session, their creepy manager barged into our studio and started screaming at Andrew and the band for releasing the song without his approval. Andrew started yelling right back about how he didn’t want any of this, how he just wanted to play music and not get drawn into anything too serious. The manager was freaking out, saying the band would be nothing without him and how Andrew was the one who made the deal in the first place. I specifically remember Andrew saying, “It was supposed to be just blood from us, not anyone else!”.
The manager stormed out of the studio, going on about how he was going to ruin the song and the band for this. Said that he was gonna make anyone who liked the song “end up like his [Andrew’s] girlfriend”. We never saw that guy again.
After that fight, the weirdest shit I’ve ever seen in the industry happened in regards to that song. People were really getting into it. We even had huge companies trying to purchase rights to have the song in their commercials. For a month, we heard it on the radio all the time. But suddenly, we got calls from radio stations saying that their listeners were acting weird about the song, it was the only thing they ever requested and they called constantly to hear it. One station’s DJ kept calling us daily to meet the band to talk about their “life-changing” track. He even left voicemails SCREAMING at us to meet the band.
It started scaring the higher-ups at the label. People were getting calls, death threats, and all sorts of horrible shit just to hear a stupid pop song. It was like it was a drug. Symmetry Icon dropped off the face of the earth, they wouldn’t respond to our calls or anything.
Soon, the label and studio were both visited by these government types who wanted to see if everything was okay with our operation. Our CFO was interviewed about the nature of the track, and was told that something weird was going on with the people who were exposed to it for too long. I never heard exactly what the CFO was told, but the rumor was that people were offing themselves because they couldn’t get it out of their heads. It affected some people more strongly than others, but those who did killed themselves in a very specific way that freaked the label out and pulled the song.
With the help of those government guys, the label pulled ‘See You After, Babe’ and removed any trace of its existence. The staff was never told exactly why, but for a lot of 2008 we heard stories of agents going to radio stations and stopping DJs from playing the track, even arresting those who persisted. As if this wasn’t disturbing enough, we later heard that all three members of Symmetry Icon had killed themselves not long after the song was taken off the air. Apparently, they had sliced up their own faces with shards of glass and bled to death. They left a note saying that they’d never be able to top “See You After, Babe” and there was no point in trying. They were haunted by the song, and used to glass to try and “dig it out”.
I’m not sure if you believe in the supernatural, but I am telling you right now that there is a shady reason why you can’t find that song anywhere. It’s some bad voodoo, it makes people do some fucked up things to themselves. I know you want to do this for your friend, and I’m sorry for your loss, but trust me when I say you will never find the full song. That shit is buried.
For a long time, we were told to immediately let the company know if the song was played anywhere. I heard it in a dressing room at a mall one time when I was out shopping around mid-2010. I recorded it on my phone at the time to show my bosses, but kinda never got around to showing them. The issue hadn’t been discussed in a bit over two years, and I never heard it again after that. I like to listen to it every now and then and think over all the things that happened because of it.
My recording is attached to the email. Sorry in advance about my cough in there. It would’ve been nice to hear the whole thing but I honestly was too afraid to stick around and listen to it.
Only listen a couple times and then never open the file again. Whatever happens with this song, it kicks in when you listen to it repeatedly. Please be careful.
And if you ever hear the full song out in public, get the hell out of wherever you are hearing it. Like I said, I don’t know what you believe, but I for one am damn sure that Symmetry Icon made some sort of deal with a devil, and this song is the punishment for breaking that deal. Please be careful.
Best of luck,
I downloaded the file and listened to it immediately. I recognized the song the second I heard it. I have no idea whether or not Hoskins is telling the truth, so I put the clip up on YouTube and sent it to some friends to see if they recognize it. They all agree this was the song, including Matt.
Check it out…
I don’t know what to make of this. I mean, it is kind of catchy in an out-there kind of way, and I’ve listened to it a few times just because it is kind of enjoyable and reminds me of my days in college.
Does anyone else remember “See You After, Babe” from 2008???
I just…I need to hear the whole song again, and it sucks knowing I never will.