“Trapped in a photograph…”: Human Barbie Embraces the Gloom on Hauntingly Intimate ‘no worries’ EP

Human Barbie © 2022
Human Barbie © 2022
Human Barbie’s Christopher Leopold dives into the deeply intimate and haunting depths of ‘no worries’, a soothing, stirring record that finds comfort in the gloom.
Stream: “no worries” – Human Barbie




Cause we’re living in California, like we’re trapped in a photograph. And everyone keeps changing, but you keep going anyways…

First and foremost, props to Christopher Leopold for choosing one of the most interesting artist names we’ve heard in a decade.

What do you think of when you hear the name Human Barbie? Is it the plastic quality that comes to mind; the materialism and consumerism of Western culture? Perhaps the phrase conjures up visions of a puppet on strings, its limbs moving involuntarily at the whim of an invisible force from above. There’s a darkness to being a Human Barbie; an inescapable, undeniable layer of turmoil underneath a superficial surface layer of glitz and glam.

Or, as is the case with the artist’s new EP, there’s no surface layer at all, and the darkness is exposed for all to see, hear, and feel. The Germans must have a word for the visceral, vulnerable emotions no worries conjures up; a cousin of Schadenfreude, applied to situations around your own misery, rather than the misery of others. A deeply intimate and haunting record, Human Barbie’s no worries finds an eerily soothing, stirring comfort in the gloom.

no worries EP - human barbie
no worries EP – Human Barbie
No hate, no worries
Believe it or not, it’s cool with me
No shame, no hurry
Just pack your stuff
And leave your key
I’ll ring your phone
I guess there isn’t anybody home
No words, no wonder
You heard enough obviously
No shape, no color
It’s just physical memory
– “no worries,” Human Barbie

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the dark and gentle no worries, out October 12, 2022 via Poor Man Records. Following his 2020 debut album Get a Life, Human Barbie’s new EP is a half-hour indulgence of achingly raw alternative, shoegaze-laced bedroom pop music. Atmospheric and wistful, intensely emotive and ever-so-lightly ethereal, the record sees Human Barbie’s Christopher Leopold dwelling in the hazy depths of listless observation, reflection, and reckoning: In the absence of external activity, the songwriter dove inward and explored his own psyche and being.

Human Barbie © 2022
Human Barbie © 2022



The result is a deeply cerebral collection of songs that delve unapologetically into themes of existence, identity, purpose, and meaning.

In point of fact, no worries is a funny name for an album full of unbound dolor, philosophical waxing, and existential dread. Human Barbie’s songs aren’t necessarily sad or sorrowful, but they definitely express a deep misery and grief; the kind of woe that bleeds out from a despondent heart. It’s helpless anguish, in one sense; melancholy manifest, in another. Embracing a moody, captivating shoegaze sonic template, Human Barbie’s songs ache.

Drink the water until you’re clean
Hidden wonder come unto me
And stay a little longer
Soul secret, we’re safe out here
Slipping under and reappear
So sleep a little longer
I can wait a little longer
I know, I know where you go
It’s too late, it’s too late
And the sun blows away
So we wait, we wait and follow
– “Wait,” Human Barbie




Human Barbie © 2022
Human Barbie © 2022

Suddenly we are born, and suddenly we are gone. We feast for now, should fate allow…

– “one taste,” Human Barbie

For Human Barbie’s Christopher Leopold, no worries is a product of the pandemic, his own inner world, and an inherent evolution in his artistry.

“My first album took so much time, effort, and energy, I was kind of left scratching my head afterward,” Leopold tells Atwood Magazine. “Get a Life came out in October 2020, so right in the thick, dark part of lockdown; especially in LA, everything and everyone felt isolated, confused, and alone. So at the time, I was staying with my partner in Baltimore pretty frequently, just trying to get a change of scenery and feel some connection.”

“Their apartment is in a huge warehouse space on the top floor of an old, creepy, gothic, haunted-feeling building overlooking a colonial-era cemetery; I think that warehouse was built in like 1897. And Baltimore itself is ancient and spooky-feeling in the winter; old Victorian houses and buildings, crumbling brick streets, flickering green streetlights in the fog and snow…. There were huge arched windows in their apartment, and it felt like we were looking out on a ghost story.”

“And there was an old janky electric guitar there, so I would just wander the halls, playing around with ideas and riffs and weird tunings. I kept being drawn to shoegaze-y drones, and slow, languid harmonies; pretty soon, a concept started to take shape, and I had a collection of songs that captured the whole vibe of that moment. Every time I was back in LA, I would chip away at the recordings in my weird little bedroom analog studio, and keep writing on the East Coast. It was a magical, painful, haunted, inspiring time, and I think that energy really shows up in the EP; I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to work that way, and I’m really super happy with how it came out!”

Words wrap around
On the way back down
Hell of a year
Savage and silent hiding here
Purple and red
Till the bulb is dead
Baby I tried
Pushing till I was purified
Promises and pride
Cause we’re living in California
Like we’re trapped in a photograph
And everyone keeps changing
But you keep going anyways
But you keep going anyways
– “purple and red,” Human Barbie
Human Barbie © 2022
Human Barbie © 2022



Lyrically intense and sonically blurry, no worries is as moving as it is gut-wrenching, as revealing as it is mystifying, and as breathtaking as it is quietly stirring. From the tender churn of the opening title track and the bittersweet beauty of “wait,” to the poetic grace of “purple and red” and the sweetly soaring drive of “empty” (“lazy, high and overflowing, we’re floating…“), no worries inspires us to bask in the gloom, too: To find comfort, even if it’s spiked with an unabating sadness.

We were so happy forever
Just gotta keep the dream alive for another year
Cold and jaded but whatever
Come over, kiss the scene goodbye and disappear
Hazy LA river floating
Lazy, high and overflowing
We’re floating
Too late to fade, oh no never
Just maybe taken for a ride when we were here
Midnight empty city running
Everything we ever wanted
Hazy LA river floating
Lazy, high and overflowing
We’re floating
– “empty,” Human Barbie

Experience the full record via our exclusive stream, and peek inside Human Barbie’s no worries EP with Atwood Magazine as Christopher Leopold goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of his new EP!

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:: stream/purchase Human Barbie here ::
Stream: ‘no worries’ EP – Human Barbie
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:: Inside no worries ::

no worries EP - human barbie

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No Worries

NO WORRIES is loosely inspired by a breakup – someone I had been seeing for about a year, and we were living together at the time. As far as I knew, everything was going great, although in retrospect, we had exhausted the magic of the honeymoon phase, and settled into a routine of slow, festering resentment. Anyways, one day I came home, and noticed her shoes were gone from the shoe-rack. I opened the door to the apartment, and it was half-empty – literally everything of hers was gone. No Worries is kind of about that, but you know, emotionally fictionalized.



Wait

Sometimes I just write a few lines of a song, something I think sounds cool, let the words take their own direction, and tell their own story. This song is like that; rippling tide pools in the moonlight, the trace of a lover’s hand on your skin, a dream hovering somewhere between midnight and dawn; it’s definitely related to the feeling of being alone, safe, dreaming with your lover somewhere in the woods…



Purple and Red

“PURPLE AND RED” is actually a mixture of new material, and a chorus idea I’ve had bouncing around in my head for like 6 years. I originally wanted to use it for my old band The Fuzzy Crystals, but I could never figure out how to make the song work – but while I was writing this EP, it came rushing back and it was obvious exactly how it would fit with the new verses. So I think this song is actually partly about the feverish dysfunctional family of that band, and losing touch with friends that meant so much to you, and the whole insane emotional vibe of lockdown in Los Angeles. Trapped in a prison of paradise…



Empty

For a while, way back in like 2010, the drummer in my (even earlier) band actually lived in a shed down by the LA river. We had all moved to LA together to ‘make it’, and it was one of the most insane, inspired, painful times of my life. We wanted something so badly, we put all of our chips in on a dream that seemed so close, so tantalizing, but also impossible. We practiced every day, wandered the neighborhoods, went to shows constantly, took drugs, and sat along the cracked, concrete banks of the river… ‘Empty’ is also a rare co-write; normally, I work out all of the parts, and Human Barbie band members play on the recordings here and there, but on ‘Empty’, my guitarist Louie Gonzalez actually wrote a ton of the ethereal textures and accompaniments. He crushed it, and it totally transformed how the song sounds in an amazing way 🙂



One Taste

[laughs] This one kind of speaks for itself… Here are the lyrics:
Suddenly we are born, and suddenly we are gone
We feast for now, should fate allow
Anything you want, one taste at any cost
It’s just a dream, untouched and barely seen
Finally we are lost, vanity cracked and crossed
We seek again, not if but when
You gave up the ghost
Just when you need it most
Hung up inside
With nowhere to run or hide
Anything you want
Is there hidden in the dark
It’s only a dream
Held just beyond your reach

— —

:: stream/purchase Human Barbie here ::
Stream: ‘no worries’ EP – Human Barbie
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/1454171299?secret_token=s-NQWDIcasobX” params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&visual=true&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”425″ iframe=”true” /]


— — — —

no worries EP - human barbie

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