Visual and musical artist Young & Sick delivers an ode about the dangerous seduction of nostalgia in a blossoming, exotic flower of a song.
Like an usher escorting you to your seat right as the show begins, a warmth of strings greets you at the start of “CICADAS,” the new song from Young & Sick. Once all are seated and situated, the song introduces the aethereal voice of Nick van Hofwegen, the Dutch artist Young & Sick moniker. “I romanticize the past too much / but can you blame me for longing,” Nick sings, a striking vocal performance that conveys the pain you’d find with someone struggling with time, like an aging starlet refusing to face that final curtain call.
With self-reflective lyrics (“I’m aware that I’m a grumpy bastard”) that flirt with absurdity (“let me complain about the kids and their lack of rock and roll”), “CICADAS” is a dynamic piece of music. The production is just as enchanting, one part “Eleanor Rigby” orchestra flair, one part dreamy, modern exotica — Martin Denny by way of Madlib, Kava Kon, and/or Monster Rally. “Cicadas” is an unfolding flower of a song, one that reveals something new with each additional listen. As to how this piece came to be, Young & Sick tells HollywoodLife, “ ‘Cicadas’ started its journey as a young Hollywood cowboy, and ended up as an old sheriff’s horse.”
As one would expect from this multi-hyphenate, there’s a little more to it than that. The band, in a press release accompanying the song, cited Argentine novelist Julio Cortázar and how he “once wrote about ‘nostalgia for the kingdom.’ You know the feeling; that full-body yearn for something never known, that deep-set desire to return to a place never inhabited, never been, never left. That’s what we’re dealing with here. Nostalgia for the Kingdom.”
“CICADAS” marks the fourth single from the upcoming Young & Sick album, BROTHER. It follows the previous track, “ANGELS,” a mid-tempo burner featuring Montreal’s MUNYA. BROTHER will also contain “MONDAY” and “DINNER PARTY,” two songs Young & Sick released in 2020. That year also saw Young & Sick establish himself as a presence in the audio/visual NFT space. While some might see NFTs as trendy digital trinkets, Young & Sick has seen the potential NFTs have for artists – and how they can be used for good. In fact, this past spring, Young & Sick partnered with Goldflyer, a fundraising initiative spearheaded by Neon Gold Records, Venue Group, and All Things Go, for an NFT fundraising campaign to benefit the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA). The effort raised $250,000 for independent venues struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
BROTHER is out on Sept. 24. Preorders are available now.