Red Hearse’s captivating new single “Half Love” features three distinct creative energies coming together in the most genuine way.
Listen: “Half Love” – Red Hearse
It’s no secret that multi-hyphenate musical all-star Jack Antonoff is the industry’s jack of all trades (and master of many). As if he weren’t busy enough producing some of this summer’s biggest pop hits and finishing the highly-anticipated third Bleachers record, Antonoff debuted a new side project worthy of your full attention.
Red Hearse is an unlikely supergroup, but a mighty one nonetheless. Songwriting heavy hitters Sam Dew and Sounwave (who produced St. Vincent’s MASSEDUCTION alongside Antonoff) help Antonoff step outside of Bleachers’ trademark crisp and syncopated sound. Red Hearse is put together, yet carefree – a testament to the harmonious marriage of three distinct creative geniuses. On their third single, “Half Love,” Red Hearse invent a synth-pop tune that’s both slick and dirty, elegant and irreverent.
According to a statement on Antonoff’s Instagram early this summer, Red Hearse’s sound was built on an almost idealistic spontaneity. He’d meet up with Dew and Sounwave whenever they all happened to be in California, without any real plans on what they’d be creating. There’s a real sense of artistic comradery found beneath the layers of each Red Hearse song we’ve heard so far, and “Half Love” is no different. This track is eclectic in terms of influences – contrasting some hard-hitting percussion with a delicate, Prince-like falsetto. Antonoff says there’s something about these songs that feels freeing and genuine like they were created out of pure coincidence.
“So many things in the art world can get overcooked / over A and R’ed / etc” explained Antonoff in a statement. “We made these songs me, Wave, Sam, and Laura Sisk engineering. That’s all. No other writers, producers, or players. Red Hearse is the sound of the 3 of us in a room. I love that about these songs. I love that nobody thought it should exist – it just happens to be something that moved us.”
Watch “Half Love” – Red Hearse
It’s worth noting that although Antonoff is probably the most widely recognized of the three masterminds behind Red Hearse, he’s not often the one singing lead. “Half Love” features Sam Dew’s dulcet tones front and center, speaking volumes to the collaborative spirit of this project. There’s no hierarchy, just three creative energies coming together in the most real way.
‘Cause everybody’s playin’ it loose, but what if we were real with it?
‘Cause honestly, I’m just too good for that half love
Know that you’ve been feelin’ it too
I’ll admit the truth, never gonna love another like you
Dew’s voice brings both gentleness and ferocity to this powerhouse single. His piercing falsetto is almost saccharine against the perfectly timed visceral wail that follows the first chorus. The emotion picks up when the tempo slows down after the bridge and Dew steps out from beneath the shadow of that higher register. He unveils a gorgeous mid-range vocal, resigned and pleading, soaking up sentimentality as your heart plummets to the floor.
While “Half Love” may feel repetitive to some listeners, there’s almost a strategy to the bare bones lyrical nature of this tune. You feel the spontaneous nature of this group in the simplicity, reinforcing their origin story: just three dudes making the music they want to make on their own time.
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