Today’s Song: Photo Ops Mourns a Friendship in “You Must Not Need a Friend At All,” a Wistful Indie Folk Reckoning

Photo Ops © courtesy of the artist
Photo Ops © courtesy of the artist
Aching with raw, turbulent emotions and tender indie folk sound, Photo Ops’ softly stunning new song “You Must Not Need a Friend At All” is the cathartic and oddly comforting release you need to hear if you’ve ever lost a close friendship.
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“You Must Not Need a Friend At All” – Photo Ops




With every song I write nowadays, I want to infuse quiet and natural sounds with the accessibility of power pop.

Nothing good ever comes from losing a friend – except, perhaps, a song about it.

Yet even then, one must imagine that Photo Ops’ Terry Price would rather have his friendship back and have never written “You Must Not Need a Friend At All,” than keep things as they are today. Even the most beautiful song isn’t worth the loss that that inspired it.

But there is no turning back time, and you can’t un-speak your words or undo your actions; whatever alternative realities we may or may not wish for, they don’t exist for us. People grow and change, and relationships must inherently evolve and adapt to those changes. Close friends might grow apart over the years, or a situation arises where someone shows you their true colors, and you can’t reconcile it or move on together. Sometimes it’s better to leave a friendship in the past, than to keep it alive; the healthiest solution to a damaged friendship might be the one that brings you the most pain in the short run, but relief in the long run.

Photo Ops reckons with a friendship’s ending in his softly stunning new single “You Must Not Need a Friend At All,” a wistful and heartfelt reflection aching with raw, turbulent emotions and tender indie folk sound. No one ever said closure comes easy; melancholy songs like this are a keen reminder that loss is an unfortunate, but inescapable fact of life, and that it’s on us to figure out how to process and move on from those painful experiences.

Still, when it comes down to it, wouldn’t we rather have our friend back in our lives?

You Must Not Need a Friend At All - Photo Ops
You Must Not Need a Friend At All – Photo Ops
i don’t want to be a burden on anyone
i could be forgiven if i…
i did not see the ending come
and go
with the breeze
a song is in the moment
just before
people leave
and i played one more before
i drove off for the last time

Released February 6, 2023 via paul is dead records, “You Must Not Need A Friend At All” is Photo Ops’ first song of the year and the lead single taken off his forthcoming fourth album, Burns Bright (out April 28, 2023). His first material since 2020’s Pure at Heart finds the Los Angeles singer/songwriter dwelling in the depths of grief, sadness, and anger – channeling those emotions into a heavy, yet cathartic indie folk exhale. This is more than a musical expression of closure; it’s an artist’s way of processing a traumatic event with everlasting repercussions on his world.

Photo Ops © 2023
Photo Ops © courtesy of the artist



If you’ve never lost a close friend, then lucky you. For those of us who have, “You Must Not Need a Friend At All” captures the complex, often overwhelming emotions we felt in the immediate aftermath of that loss. Photo Ops brings that inner conflict to life through gorgeous, soft, and sweet finger-picked acoustic guitar patterns, an emotionally charged vocal performance, and raw, introspective lyrics that pick everything apart, looking inward and outward to try and make sense of a situation that never can, and never will be fully understood to anyone involved. The best we can do is to find some kind of closure that lets us move forward and get on with our lives, and yet that’s far easier said than done. Wearing his heart on his sleeve, the artist lays it all on the table in a bittersweet, enchanting chorus:

you must not need a friend at all
you’d rather travel all alone
you are a hero and i am not
you are a victim and i’m the cause



Burns Bright - Photo Ops
Burns Bright, Photo Ops’ new album, out April 28, 2023

“I lost a close friendship right when the pandemic started, and I had just gotten a copy of Leonard Bernstein conducting Beethoven’s 6th Symphony – this is a song I wrote in that aftermath,” Photo Ops’ Terry Price tells Atwood Magazine. “I would eat an edible and walk through an empty USC campus to the Exposition Rose Garden everyday. Words and melodies cascading over textured acoustic and electronic instruments to the pulse of fingers snapping was the end result. With every song I write nowadays, I want to infuse quiet and natural sounds with the accessibility of power pop.”

“On the whole record, I was very interested in space, and the contrast being acoustic, natural sounds and instruments, and the analog synth,” he adds. “There is something very striking about how natural it can still seem – processing the loss of a relationship, from indoors, looking outside, allowing myself to feel the loss and the passing of anger into an honest grief and complaint of what is left.”

it turns out that fear
is more powerful than anything
who am i when you’re near
no one can be
what you want them to be
fly the flag and see
there’s nobody here
it’s bittersweet
the last drink of the night
and i awake at three to find
the moment left us both behind
Photo Ops © Bliss Braoudakis 2020
Photo Ops © Bliss Braoudakis 2020



you must not need a friend at all
you are a strong and lonesome dove
i’m no stranger to losing friends
you must not need them to begin with

… And i awake at three to find the moment left us both behind.” Sometimes, closure means learning to live with certain scars. We carry these unresolved emotions and broken relationships with us, and try our best not to dwell on them at every moment of every day. They eventually do fade over time, but they might come back and hit us in the chest when we least expect it. Grief can be sneaky like that – the torment lurking in the shadows of our periphery, waiting to strike at a second’s notice. Photo Ops recognizes and begrudgingly accepts these truths as he spends four minutes slowly coming to terms with the end of a friendship. It’s a wound that may never fully heal, and a memory he may find himself replaying over and over for years to come.

But hey, at least he got a nice song out of it; most of us don’t even get that!

A painful, poignant plunge into life’s dark and unforgiving depths, “You Must Not Need a Friend At All” is raw, stirring, and achingly beautiful.

It’s the cathartic and oddly comforting release you need to hear if you’ve ever lost a close friendship. Listen to Photo Ops’ latest wherever you get your music, and stay tuned for his fourth album Burns Bright, out this April!

the quiet before the storm has passed
the quiet of what’s left will ever last
you are a hero and i am not
you must not need a friend at all

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:: stream/purchase Photo Ops here ::
“You Must Not Need a Friend At All” – Photo Ops



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You Must Not Need a Friend At All - Photo Ops

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