Watsky is a lyricist through and through. He’s part of a rare breed nowadays, and his lyrical dexterity and content stems from his early career as a poet, winning the National Youth Poetry Slam at the Apollo Theater and appearing on the final season of Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam on HBO. He’s long released underground hip-hop and turned in great efforts with 2013’s Cardboard Castles LP and 2014’s Anderson .Paak-produced All You Can Do. After taking a hiatus and turning to prose with the essay collection How To Ruin Everything, he’s back with another heady Anderson .Paak-produced jam called “Midnight Heart,” taken from his latest effort x Infinity out later this month. The song is a piano-driven hard-hitter with big slapping drums with Mal Devisa lends some punk thunder on the hook and Watsky switching between rapid-fire cadences and contemplative flows. The video features Watsky battling it out in the boxing ring with some clever choreography involving his opponent and the referee. It’s a very fitting visual for a song about perseverance. He’s what Watsky had to say about how everything came together:
Between all the people who worked on the song and video, “Midnight Heart” is the track on my album I can take the least credit for. I rewrote my verses three times because I wanted to make sure my lyrics were up to the quality of the rest of the song elements. I love the production, and Mal Devisa, with her versatility switching between the punky shouting sections and the choruses, is one of my favorite features ever. When I started brainstorming with the video director, Carlos Lopez Estrada–who I’ve been a fan of for a while– we always pegged this song as one to go big for. I did four rehearsals with the choreographer Jillian Meyers and the co-star Matt before we started shooting, and wanted to make it clear to everyone watching that this was a project we were committed to, and were willing to put in many many hours for. So anything good about this song I can never claim as fully my own. But working on it was everything I love about being an artist– collaborating with a bunch of creative talents, committing fully, and coming together to make something awesome. And that’s really the message of the song– pushing back against the segment of “the industry” that often prizes the product over the process.
x Infinity is out 8/19 on Steel Wool Entertainment. Pre-order the album and find tour dates here.