Every now and then you come across a song that tickles your brain and pokes your heart in such a way that it would be almost rude not to share it.
Introducing Sparkbird, the musical project of the delightful Oregon-based, queer non-binary artist, Stephan Nance. Their latest release, Envy is a thoroughly enjoyable musical gem that speaks to the inner struggles we face in the age of social media, and it’s one that Millennials and Gen Z listeners might especially understand.
Of particular interest for fans of Regina Spektor, Decemberists, or Rufus Wainwright, Envy stands as an exceptional and cerebral chamber folk-rock anthem “for anyone who compares themselves to others on social media.” The single was produced by Josh Frigo (music featured on MTV, ABC, CMT) and features percussion/drums by Mathias Kunzli (Regina Spektor) and bass by Jeni Magana (Mitski).
Right from the start, Envy grips your attention with its cuttingly confessional lines, delivered over a cascading piano line:
“Rough time of year/ Do you sit through it too?/ With that envy so strong/ That you can’t even move.“
At the bridge Sparkbird gingerly enunciates each syllable of a relatable sentiment:
“I don’t need to be rich, only so wealthy as to pay for my food. I don’t need to be huge, only so big as to ever be noticed.“
Instrumentally, Envy is beautifully composed and richly layered, unfurling with lots of satisfying syncopation and delightful flourishes. The lyrics succintly portray a sense of of enveloping envy and anxiety many of us experience in the current digital age, as we are bombarded daily through screens by influencers and public figures boasting the admiration of hordes of followers, ‘a beautiful home, bestselling novel and effortless style‘.
This song is an instant source of reassurance for those who may feel isolated in their shared thoughts, making it a much-needed anthem for the present moment.