Premiere: Wicked Man Explores Life from Above on “When Will I Be Flying?”

Wicked Man © Palmer Morse
Wicked Man © Palmer Morse

Urgent static — reminiscent of a helicopter’s rotating blades at takeoff — pulls at your ears. You watch as your life and all of its intricacies become smaller and smaller. Suddenly, you’re disconnected by distance; somehow, you’re seeing your own life play out. What could you see from the sky that you weren’t able to see up close? And, once your feet hit the ground again, what wisdom will you bring back from your journey?

This is the journey of Wicked Man’s newest single, “When Will I Be Flying?” This track — which Atwood Magazine is thrilled to premiere today — falls in line with the Oakland based band’s existing catalog of self-proclaimed “indie-soul-pop” music. It is fantastical, contemplative, and so very unique.

When I am scared and on my own,
I will learn from the unknown
Lonely broke and in my head,
cleaning messes from the dead
Listen: “When Will I Be Flying?” – Wicked Man
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Singer Yonatan Tietz says that the inspiration for this song came from his frequent “urge to concentrate [his] inner world into a moveable soul that could escape the body and fly.” He hoped to write something that would reflect his “desire to observe [his] own experience from outside [his] body — from the air, from a distance.” These inspirations and goals are realized through both the musicality and lyricism of the song.

When Will I Be Flying - Wicked Man
When Will I Be Flying – Wicked Man
Pleading silence is a crime
when each word makes up a dime
But strong words are heard by few,
only liars can undo
When will I be flying?

After the frenzied introduction, bright guitar and banjo enter. Following close behind, the airy vocals join in. This combination of sounds truly evokes the idea of drifting through a perfectly blue sky. Even when the drums are added a few seconds later, their rhythmic weight is not enough to pull the song out of the sky.

The first verse ends with the provocative, titular question: when will I be flying? The vocals are much stronger as they sing this phrase; the importance and intentionality of these words is made very tangible. The layered vocals ascend as they sing the first three words of this lyric, signaling the same upward movement that has been evoked in the music.

Around the 4-minute mark, Wicked Man dives into an instrumental section that brings all of these feelings to a climax. The newness of this experience is felt as the different instruments collide. Like the very beginning of the song, this section is very cinematic and helps to reinforce the idea of the disorienting yet exciting experience of being outside of your body. The album artwork — of a person falling through the clouds with their parachute yet to be opened — seems to fit perfectly in this moment. You have seen your life from afar and now it’s time to fall back down to earth. Eventually, the song begins to fade out; the parachute has been pulled.

Read the silence on the wall, they say,
every thought projects a sound on your soul
Saving money for my own,
worship demons i’ve outgrown
Consider pain as the cost,
times of love will soon be lost
Read the silence on the wall,
they say, every thought projects
a sound on your soul

Once the exhilarating journey has found its end, the overarching questions that remain are: what did our narrator see when he was above his body and, maybe more importantly, what did he learn? These answers to these questions are intentionally unclear, allowing the listener to insert themselves into the song and explore what their own answers might be. The ability to take a personal experience or desire and make it accessible to others is a great gift; Wicked Man’s provocation of our imaginations shows a level of maturity that is not found in just any band.

Wicked Man’s debut LP is due out in early 2018. And while “When Will I Be Flying?” sets the bar extremely high for the rest of the album, Atwood Magazine has no doubt that they will be able to rise to the occasion.

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When Will I Be Flying - Wicked Man

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photo © Palmer Morse

:: Listen to Wicked Man ::

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