“Irene” (feat. Alan Sparhawk) by Ben Watt

The latest single from Ben Watt’s upcoming album is a poignant rumination on a retired singer and a bygone age.

Following Everything But the Girl’s dissolution back in 2000, Ben Watt has kept busy working as a DJ, author, club owner, and record label head. He’s also released a couple of well-received solo albums, with his next album, Storm Damage, due out early next year. The album’s latest single is titled “Irene” and features guitar and vocal contributions from Low’s Alan Sparhawk.

As Watt puts it, the song “is about the power of nostalgia and the artist-audience relationship, which seems to obsess us all at the moment. It is also about the simple brutality of social change — how cities move on, scenes die, and how people get caught up in that.” You certainly get that vibe from the song’s poignant lyrics, which reflect on the career and influence of a retired singer (“The crowd has grown older, too/But some of them, they still want a piece of you/They yearn for some golden age/The time they first heard you from the stage”).

Storm Damage will be released on January 31, 2020 on Watt’s own Unmade Road label.