Analogue Music | The Naked and Famous - Recover
The Naked and Famous - Recover

The Naked and Famous - Recover

Artist: The Naked and Famous · Written by Matt Conner

Date Released

24 July, 2020


Somewhat Damaged

"I can regain myself and recover."

One creative truth has been proven again and again throughout the ages: Great art is borne from great pain. From poems to paintings, the intensity and raw emotions of such moments have been channeled, time and again, into meaningful and memorable expressions.

The remaining (and original) two members of The Naked and Famous, Alisa Xayalith and Thom Powers, would likely not have to endure such pain and loss before recording albums in the future. In the present, however, the hopelessness experienced by the synth-pop duo over the last few years has given way to a truly excellent album, one rooted in an authentic presence and power that marks great art.

Recover is the resulting package of a long, confusing season for both Xayalith and Powers. The pair detailed their frustrations in a recent interview here at Analogue, but one listen to Recover makes clear what is detailed in our conversation. It all begins with the opening stanza of the album:

I can't replace the loss of my mother
I can't erase the loss from my father
I can't replace the loss with another
But I can regain myself and recover

The buoyant production and vocal work by Xayalith and Powers both keep the subject matter on Recover from ever feeling too heavy, but The Naked and Famous aren't afraid of inviting the listener into the deep wounds still healing. As Xayalith sings, "Sometimes I wish I could speak to you." It can potentially prove a difficult listen for some fans.

"(An)Aesthetic" details a recent near-death experience for Powers (blood poisoning) and the ensuing thought processes of what's most important. "I won't forget this," he sings, while reflecting on the presence of those closest to him through his darkest hours. Xayalith echoes the same sentiments on "Sunseeker," a song of appreciation for those who remain close in those harrowing moments.

Oh, I never chose this
But you came at the right time
Follow you to roses
Show me to the sunshine

The tension of "Death" is the true lyrical highlight on Recover, a mature track that sits unflinchingly in the face of the tension of uncertainty of all of life. Powers boldly acknowledges the reality of our mortality as he sings, "There will be a last time that we see each other." Yet even then, he asks, "Could you be someone I could cling to in moments of despair?"

It's here that The Naked and Famous reveal the greatest value of Recover. In the face of the inevitable—debt and defeat, confusion and doubt, questions and uncertainty—it's the community around us that makes it worth it all. It's the reason Powers states his request, "Slow dance with me to every heartbeat."

Love in the face of loss. Presence in the midst of pain. With Recover, The Naked and Famous point the way to wholeness in a broken world by documenting their own journey, and they make it all sound so beautiful. A true gift of an album.