Today’s Song: Surf Curse’s “Self Portrait” Elevates the Beautifully Painful State of the Unknown

Surf Curse © Julien Sage
Surf Curse © Julien Sage
Surf Curse’s Nick Rattigan leans into his recurring disappointment in life’s painful inconsistencies in “Self Portrait,” fresh off the group’s recent album ‘Magic Hour.’
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Stream: “Self Portrait” – Surf Curse

Life’s not always kind, you better get used to it.

Surf Curse’s Nick Rattigan certainly has a way with words, doesn’t he? A brutally blunt yet significant opening to the group’s fourth single titled “Self Portrait” off their new album, Magic Hour.

Magic Hour - Surf Curse
Magic Hour – Surf Curse

The bitterness of the unknown, the pains of an ever-running brain that never ceases to wander and self-dissatisfaction run rampant as Rattigan attempts to make sense of a life that lacks consistency and certainty.

Rattigan switched focus away from his solo project “Current Joys” to regroup with his original Surf Curse partner Jacob Rubeck (guitar), with the recent additions of Henry Dillon (Bass) and Noah Kholl (drums) to morph the once-duo into a garage surf punk quartet. Magic Hour, released October 7, 2022, is the group’s fourth studio album and their first for Atlantic Records.

“Painting with a knife
To get me through it

Painting an image with a knife is certainly not a typicality for most artists, but Rattigan enjoys pushing the envelope. Cutting inwards in hopes of some bit of self-discovery to make sense of life’s bitterness is met with a classic Rattigan scream – his angst-filled brain is at full capacity.

Surf Curse © Julien Sage
Surf Curse © Julien Sage

A nice little instrumental interlude with harmonizing guitars playing seemingly distressed riffs prefaces Rattigan’s next self-realization:

“I am full of fear
And contradictions
Easier to hear
Beautiful fiction

Rattigan exclaims the reality of being shackled to fear and contradiction results in a never-ending cycle of mystery – questioning, doubt, and fear lead to an abundant lack of certainty. Once again, the plea of freedom from such a mindset is conveyed through a scream, followed by the repeated distressed guitar bits.

Rattigan then attributes such feelings of helplessness to his Achilles heel – his mind. An unspiraled force of despair that has no off switch is the culprit of fear and contradiction.

“My brain is automatic
It always shifts with no break
I wanna do without it
I wanna sleep for a day”
A self-portrait gave me hope for the day
Just like the rest, I threw it away”

What’s the point of ever painting a picture of yourself – a representation of constancy – if your state of mind, your appearance, your passions, could all completely be altered the very next day?

Surf Curse © Julien Sage
Surf Curse © Julien Sage

Self Portrait - Surf Curse
Self Portrait – Surf Curse

Rattigan struggles with the idea of consistency, which comes in many forms. The realities of life, met with disappointment, contradiction, and injustice don’t warrant any bit of consistency for Rattigan. He’d rather get used to the unkindness of life then waste time memorializing certain moments due to constant change resulting from life’s continuous contradiction, seen in the imagery of a self-portrait – a piece of art that typically represents a beautiful reflection that’s meaningful and representative of one’s current state in life.

The song wouldn’t be complete without one final angsty cry, followed by guitar combos that reflect pent up frustration and dissatisfaction.

Immerse yourself in the pain of life’s disappointing contradictions with Surf Curse’s “Self Portrait.”

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Stream: “Self Portrait” – Surf Curse

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Magic Hour - Surf Curse

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