Alt-pop bop with wicked perspective on how we’re starting 2021.
“It’s not bad to be lonely” is the inspirational phrase for 2021. “Lonely,” the new single by Alex2e, has a beat you can dance around the living-room to (by yourself), coupled with a message that’ll stay comforting after we all emerge from hibernation.
While the message is timely, the song is not primarily about the pandemic. “But everything’s about the pandemic,” you say. In a sense, yes—especially for musicians deprived of opportunities to play live and trying not to waste a year. The inspiration for the song was how as you move through your twenties, making new friends feels harder. As Bolde put it, you know “you’re not going to be besties with someone just because you get your mail from the same community box.”
The power of finding people who are truly compatible—“having the friends we want, not just the ones we’ve got”—drives the joy of the song. Musically, there’s a comforting family resemblance to the hits of a 20-something’s childhood, a lusher and more electronic sound than, say, 2019’s “Blanket Sea.” The point-of-view of “Lonely” is what happens between the bravado of *NSYNC’s “It’s Gonna Be Me” and the triumph of Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors.” It’s a song for the chapter after a new beginning, when the apartment seems a little empty and there’s time to think.
That space for introspection is a hallmark of Alex2e’s songs, as much as his gossamer tone, which is equally effective at whispering your own secrets in your ear or rousing the crowd to an introvert’s party anthem. The verses of “Lonely” are a wickedly accurate internal monolog about going out for one of those evenings when you’ll barely know anyone and you already semi-regret making those plans at all. (Remember those evenings? By 2022, we’ll be back to finding excuses to cancel on people we aren’t that into!) The ebullience of the chorus starts with the realization that it’s possible to have our own party where we can be ourselves. It builds. And builds. And builds. If you ever dance around a room while listening to music, I dare you not to dance to this one.
“Lonely” was co-written with Brian Jarvis, another of New England’s excellent singer-songwriters. For production and mixing, Alex2e worked with Ghost Hit Recording, which mixed and tracked his 2018 EP “Half Grown,” and Sean Croteau, best known for his role in the band Pridefalls. When live music is a thing again, hearing him play at clubs throughout New England is an experience you won’t want to back out of—bring your real friends, wear your favorite shirt, and look forward to comparing which songs spoke to you best.
Listen now on Spotify (of course, it’s available everywhere you look for music!). Check out his official site as well.
Disclaimer: I received an advance listen in exchange for a fair and objective review.