Premiere: Derek Simpson’s Crafts a Playful Surrender on “Naked Forever”

Derek Simpson © Bryan Warner
Indie songwriter Derek Simpson’s latest single “Naked Forever” is an effortless piece of pop psychedelia and a reminder that when nature takes us for a ride, often the best thing to do is give in.
Listen: ‘Naked Forever’ – Derek Simpson

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Motivation in the strange world of quarantine often comes in cycles. Periods of inexhaustible creativity and productivity precede shut shades, Netflix binges and procrastination. As a victim of every aspect of this strange ebb and flow, I can attest to its stranglehold. Some have been lucky enough to break through the malaise with a little help from their muses.

Naked Forever – Derek Simpson

Derek Simpson is one such soul. Over the past several months, he’s tackled several projects, from the hypnotic slow jam “Hide + Seek,” to a free album and the short film “bad_connection,” and rounding it off with a slice of minimalist nu-disco titled “Sofia.”

But the wheels haven’t stopped churning. As the days slip by and this whirlwind year whisks us into eternity, planning and anticipation seem like foolhardy activities. In the same way that we can surrender to the whims of a chaotic universe, so can we surrender to ourselves and our own nature that’s clamoring to get out. Simpson took this to heart on his next experiment.

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Naked Forever” by Derek Simpson. With a laidback, dreamlike atmosphere, it pulls the listener into his untethered mind, free-flowing and associating as it drifts into parts unknown.

Wheel grind, no spare
Rewind, who goes there?
“Goeswith”, so we share
Real time, so rare
Derek Simpson © Bryan Warner
Derek Simpson © Bryan Warner

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Simpson’s lines evoke emotion more than they conjure concrete pictures. The mind wanders and expands when left to its own devices, a play on the typical cabin fever madness that quarantine usually suggests. It’s an effortless chunk of psychedelic pop. Airy vocals dancing around playful guitar licks and leisurely rhythms. This simple motif loops and loops, beckoning the listener into a laidback chill session before the guitar takes off on its own, stirring up falsetto harmonies and a curious synth, deepening the textures.

Through all its inquisitive musings, “Naked Forever” never flows out of a meditative groove. It pairs well with a morning mug of coffee as the brain unfurls for the day, or a relaxing afternoon on the beach, the breeze licking subtly at your face. Observing nature yields serenity at the same time that it induces sublimity.

“Nature taking its course is truly a wild thing to behold,” asserts Simpson. “Surrending to your own nature is an even more surreal experience. There is undoubtedly a playful air to it all though and this track is drenched in it, serving as a bubbly reflection of all this beautiful strangeness.”

Beautiful strangeness also describes the Southern California town Simpson resides in to record his music. A Long Beach resident by way of Boston, he distills a bit of that oceanside serenity into his easy-going musical offerings. He laces spacey guitars and synth with his introspective lyrics, like a thinking man’s Jack Johnson married to John Mayer at his most experimental. He maintains a positive outlook in most of his work, positing that optimism in the face of adversity can give one a leg up. Maybe that’s partially responsible for his prolific output in a time when motivation is hard to come by.

Derek Simpson © Bryan Warner
Derek Simpson © Bryan Warner

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With “Naked Forever,” that optimism lies in the resilience of life amid the unpredictability of nature. Becoming one with the tide and embracing an ever changing reality can ferry one to the other side, like a leaf flowing on the surface of a stream.

Mosquito, take your bite
Let me receive miracle sight
Mornin’ dew, flora and fauna
Roamin’ through our wildlife
Layin’ your head on my chest and
Releasin’ all of your stressin’

“Naked” here doesn’t necessarily mean “nude.” Instead it suggests sloughing off all the burdens and pretenses of our made-up institutions. Everything that needlessly complicates our existence. Maybe not forever, but for long enough to see ourselves in our natural state, free and capable of weathering anything the world throws at us. All it takes is a breathing out a little and going with the flow.

“Naked Forever” is out tomorrow, October 7th on all streaming platforms. Pre-save the track here.

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Listen: ‘Naked Forever” – Derek Simpson

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? © Bryan Warner

:: Derek Simpson ::

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