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First Watch: Lower Dens, 'Real Thing'

Lower Dens frontwoman Jana Hunter in a scene from a video for the band's new song "Real Thing." (Courtesy of the artist     )closemore
Lower Dens frontwoman Jana Hunter in a scene from a video for the band's new song "Real Thing." (Courtesy of the artist )

The '80s are alive and well in "Real Thing," a retro, synth-heavy new song and video from Lower Dens. Shot through a lens presumably slathered with Vaseline and captured on grainy VHS tape, the video features frontwoman Jana Hunter singing and playing guitar on a darkened stage, dimly lit by hazy red lights. "I'm married to a terrific guy," Hunter sings. "I'll never leave until I die. But I just love to get out and get it on."

Hunter co-wrote the song with musician Arthur Bates, with help from producer Ariel Rechtshaid. "Arthur and I have had a very long, intense, chaotic and very close friendship," Hunter tells NPR Music via email. "He's also been a major influence on me personally and artistically. I love him. When we're together, the air is full of intense melancholy, reckless abandon and a very goofy kind of dark humor. Somehow, in our years of knowing each other, we'd never written a real song together. We got together specifically for that purpose, in Houston, the town where we met, and wrote this song in about an hour. The lyrics were inspired by an advice column in an old copy of Oui magazine I found in Arthur's apartment. The woman writing in to the column seemed genuinely torn between her love for her husband and her desire to f**k around.

"I find that kind of selfishness entirely relatable, the kind of thing all of us know about ourselves and find nearly impossible to admit. Those kinds of simultaneously internal and yet universal struggles bring me to tears. What if we could all acknowledge just those kinds of flaws, accept them, resolve not to judge each other? I mean, who wants this misery? This alienation? The greed that follows generations of repression? The jealousy, oppression and injustice that come next? No. Hell no. If that's reality, I don't care to be a part of it. Or at least that's how I let myself feel from time to time, until I realize I love people and I'm part of the community of humankind and if things are gonna be better for anybody it's on me to do my part. Might seem like a lot but, for me, it's all in this song."

"Real Thing" follows last year's full-length Escape From Evil. The video was conceived and directed by SSION (a.k.a. Cody Critcheloe). Lower Dens is heading back to Baltimore after their current tour, with plans to work on a new album.

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