Rostam, the enigmatic, multi-hyphenated musician-producer-songwriter-etc., is back with a new song, ‘Changephobia’, the first single off his new album of the same name.
The hazy, lo-fi track is riding the bedroom pop boom currently engulfing indie music: blissed-out synths, mumbly lyrics about anxiety, a heady atmosphere perfect for a summer day with a drink or joint in hand. It’s got some sweet saxophone on it too, so it should be right in my wheelhouse.
Here’s the thing: there’s nothing wrong with ‘Changephobia’, it’s just that this is the same person who gave us Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City, Clairo’s Immunity, Frank Ocean’s ‘Ivy’, Solange’s ‘F.U.B.U’ and Lykke Li’s ‘Hard Rain’. Sorry if I expect a little more than a low stakes chillaxed tune that sounds like a million other interchangeable tracks floating around the indie rock ether. Maybe ‘Changephobia’ is the proverbial spoonful of sugar for a more challenging, musically ambitious album to come later. I hope so, because Rostam is one of music’s most forward thinking artists. It’s sad to see him throw out a completely forgettable tune.
Appropriately, the track sounds a lot like Haim’s ‘Summer Girl’, which Rostam helped write and produce. A lot like it, but without the sense of joy and energy, much less the catchiness, that the Haim sisters bring to all of their tracks. I’ll bet you five bucks that it’s the same saxophone player, Henry Solomon, playing the same saxophone on both too.
The career arc of one Rostam Batmanglij is a fascinating ascent: cutting his teeth and earning acclaim as one of the two leaders of everyone’s favourite New York Afropop-indebted indie rockers, Vampire Weekend. When Ezra Koenig took full control, Rostam jumped ship and began parallel careers as an indie-pop artist and in-demand producer. Hopefully, he’s got a lot more to come, but ‘Changephobia’ is more akin to dipping your toe in frigid water rather than diving in headfirst.
Check out the lyric video for ‘Changephobia’ down below. Changephobia is due out on June 4th.