A Dog, A Darling, A Pool Boy: The Desperation and Vulnerability of Foxing’s “Nearer My God”

Foxing © Hayden Molinarolo
Foxing © Hayden Molinarolo
Foxing are making a desperate plea with new single “Nearer My God,” wanting to do whatever it takes to be ‘the crown centerfold.’

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In a musical landscape where genre lines feel so harshly defined, Foxing stands out as a band whose music doesn’t fully fit the mold. Post-rock, indie-rock, emo… call it what you want; the band writes for everyone, and yet no one at all. This all-encompassing idea of being so much while simultaneously failing to fit so many categories is what brings us to their newest release, “Nearer My God,” the title track off their third studio album, which will be released through Triple Crown Records on August 10th.

Listen: “Nearer My God” – Foxing

From the second the song starts, it’s made very clear that it’s waiting for no one. The listener is immediately greeted by lead singer Conor Murphy as he begins singing, “I want it all” over a pulsating guitar. Soaring and cinematic, “Nearer My God” deals with the desire to be wanted – not just by anyone, but by everyone.

I want it all
I’ll watch the bridges all burn
And I’ll be your dog
I’d be a darling for you
Or anyone who wants me at all
Does anybody want me at all?
Nearer My God - Foxing
Nearer My God – Foxing

Both comical and vulnerable, this opening verse makes a statement: Murphy will do just about anything to find his place and be wanted. Of course, Murphy is speaking to his role in the music industry, but his words contain within them a familiarity to which listeners can relate.

‘Cause I’d sell my soul
To be America’s pool boy
The crown centerfold

Again, he seems to be making a joke, but it feels as though it’s coming from a genuine place. He’s trying to do something big with this single, trying to not just carve out a place for himself and this band, but take over the stage. In a podcast called “Nearer My Pod,” Murphy sat down and talked to the humor in this line, saying that on his sad days, he’d happily sell out to have America find him to be a “hunky, hot guy.”

“The pool boy I’m talking about is less a literal pool boy and more a pool boy of music,” Murphy said in “Nearer My Pod. “The guys in One Direction — those are pool boys. [They’re] hunky, early twenty-year-olds that aren’t actually writing their songs. Someone has just taken them and said, ‘you are so hot and can sing well enough for me to sell millions of records, just if I can put music in front of you.’”

“I just want somebody to come in and make me a goddamn star,” continued Murphy.

This is a passing feeling, but it’s one worth talking about. In an industry so fueled on appearance and star-quality, it can be hard to be an artist who isn’t finding themselves on Billboard’s Hot 100. Of course, Foxing does well, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their days where they want to be doing better. They haven’t sold out, but can you blame them for having that thought? This single speaks volumes to Foxing’s strongest qualities as a band: vulnerability.

Foxing © Hayden Molinarolo
Foxing © Hayden Molinarolo

But what makes this single even more successful is its release in five different languages: English, Spanish, Japanese, German and French. In a press release, Murphy told listeners that he used the help of over 70 translators to iron out all imperfections with the translation process. Murphy discussed really wanting to put in the same amount of work that international artists do, and I think this work shows in every aspect of this song, from the lyrics to the release process.

I’ve got it all
I feel the love in suspension

Someone’s gonna love me

Everything about this song feels both pleading and hopeful. Murphy comes to his music from a place of true vulnerability and packages it in a way that is both entertaining and relatable. “Nearer My God” feels far from forced, though one could argue that’s his intent. But while Foxing may still be struggling to fit that mold, this ability to be so adaptable is what sets them apart from the rest. They have something for everyone, because they’re writing about the one thing they know so well: themselves.

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:: stream/purchase “Nearer My God” here ::

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Nearer My God - Foxing

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