Nervous City Nervous Self. Harmonizing melancholy and renewal in ‘Act V’

Beneath its surface, it harbors a complexity of melancholy and longing, set against a backdrop of dreamy production that includes bass, bells, strings, guitar, drum machines, synthesizers, and Josephson’s haunting vocals
15 March 2024

Nervous City Nervous Self, the captivating artistic project of Swedish singer-songwriter David Josephson, embodies innovation and emotional depth. His latest release, Act V, masterfully blends elements of pop, singer-songwriter traditions, and the emerging genre of folktronica.

Act V emerges as a romantic ballad, but beneath its surface, it harbors a complexity of melancholy and longing, set against a backdrop of dreamy production that includes bass, bells, strings, guitar, drum machines, synthesizers, and Josephson’s haunting vocals. The track is the product of a dynamic collaboration with producer Diamond Heist, showcasing a back-and-forth creative process that spanned the distance between Uppsala and the southern reaches of Sweden, where Josephson currently resides. This geographical exchange has culminated in a track that marries electronic dream-pop with lyrics that transport the listener to another realm.

Photo by Yohanna Idha

The essence of Act V lies in its portrayal of a moment of bliss and rebirth under a “vast honey-dripping sky,” a poetic depiction that signals the end as merely a prelude to a new beginning. It is a testament to the cyclical nature of life and art, where the final act is just a gateway to new adventures for the lover, the clown, and Hedda Gabler, a character from Henrik Ibsen’s play, who all find their fates intertwined in this lyrical odyssey.

Born and raised in Stockholm, David Josephson’s musical path took a significant turn in Berlin, a city known for its rich artistic tapestry and history of harboring poets and prophets. It was here, amidst the echoes of German expressionism, that Josephson found his true calling and the inspiration for what would become Nervous City Nervous Self.

Photo by Yohanna Idha

Josephson’s bold proclamation, “I shall become Sweden’s Leonard Cohen or die!” was met with skepticism in a nation unaccustomed to such audacious claims. Yet, it was this very skepticism that propelled him into the artistic exile that would shape his sound and vision. His debut album, The Early Fears, released in 2023, introduced the world to a melancholic, introspective artist with a penchant for extroverted beats, garnering attention across Europe and securing his place as a noteworthy voice in the international music scene.

In Act V, Nervous City Nervous Self demonstrates that amidst the turmoil of everyday life, there is still space for peace, self-reflection, and, crucially, a new beginning. As the track spreads its wings, much like the birds in its lyrics, Josephson’s vision soars, promising more honeyed drops of wisdom from the stratosphere of his unique artistic universe.

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