When Jake Lazovick first started making music as Sitcom, he was coming from more of an indie-rock background — see his work alongside the very good band Foozle — but he’s been increasingly experimenting with synths and beatmaking and more conventional pop structures as time goes on. On 2016’s Gig Bag, he demonstrated his malleability in a trio of songs — “Wind Blows,” “Wind,” and “Wind Blo s” — that I still can’t get out of my head all these years later, and over the last year he’s fine-tuned his pop sensibilities in a series of one-offs that have all led to his next full-length release, Be The One You Love, which officially comes out tomorrow.
The music that Lazovick made this time around is sticky and bright. Be The One You Love is a fantastic showcase for his slick compositions and back-bending beats, and those lighter qualities are offset a bit by his characteristically gruff vocals, which are pitch-shifted and processed to make the album feel significantly less insular than it actually is. The handful of guest spots — from Philadelphia artists Orion Sun and Adam Amram, and Claire Cottrill (aka Clairo) — serve to highlight the isolation that often hangs over Lazovick’s songwriting.
Be The One You Love is darkly comic and painfully sincere at times; Lazovick alternates between goofy and deadly serious about what’s been plaguing him. And, primarily, he’s being gnawed by the shrinking expanse of time, stressed about what his standing in the world will be when all is said and done. A lot of the songs are fixated on his career and what it means to be a working musician that’s trying to build a following. Lazovick is concerned about what sort of legacy he’ll leave behind, both in the music sphere and among his friends. “Here’s the password to my Macbook/ If I pass away, pass out my artwork/ I don’t want to end up like Arthur/ Damn, but I might (I might),” he sings at one point, worried that he’ll toil in obscurity like Arthur Russell, his work not properly recognized until long after he’s gone.
It’s an awkward topic to make music about — wondering if the songs you make are good enough as you’re actively singing them — but it’s a fascinating look into the constant artistic process of self-editing and self-evaluation. One of the songs, a dizzying miasma called “Keep Your Mind,” is about the benefits of methodical creation: “Just show your work when your work is done/ If you’re not working on your work/ What will your work become.” On closing track “Still Alive,” Lazovick sings, “Be myself, let myself be/ Feel so comfortable failing/ Don’t know if I let myself succeed/ But I know I’ll try.” Putting any sort of art out into the world is never a safe bet and that anxiety, that fear of failure, can be crippling, and that’s what Lazovick struggles with throughout this album. But Be The One You Love has a positive takeaway — the title acts as a mission statement: to be yourself and hope that will be enough.
You can listen to Be The One You Love in full now. For the album stream, Lazovick shot a full-length visual that plays out in a barren field, a persistent picture-in-picture frame offering an alternate viewpoint of the production. Check it out below.
Be The One You Love is out 2/24. Sitcom are performing at a release party in Philadelphia that night with Orion Sun, Dirty Bodies, Osagie and Baby.com.