You might remember seeing him at Neon Lights in 2016, or in a solo gig in Singapore in 2019. Mesmerizing us once again, José González has revealed a new song ‘Head On’, lifted off his eagerly anticipated new album Local Valley, scheduled for release on September 17 via City Slang.
The song released just last month has had over a million streams on Spotify to date and comes as the third single to be released by González this year. His previous two releases include ‘El Invento’ and ‘Visions’ which have over 5 and 2 million streams respectively.
You may also notice the accompanying official music video which is directed by longtime visual collaborator Mikel Cee Karlsson (Fever Ray, Junip).
Speaking of the track, José says,
“I wrote ‘Head On’; as a combat song or a list of instructions…a manual. I mean both ‘straight ahead’ and head ON – as in switching on your mind. It was inspired by Fela Kuti’s ‘Zombie’; and the way I used to write lyrics for my hardcore band. It’s also in the vein of my song “What Will” from 2015. That one and this one are both antidogma, pro reason songs. Some of the terms that I use, like ‘rent seeker’ or ‘value extractor’; are from books on economics that I’ve been reading, like The Value of Everything by Mariana Mazzucato.”
On the concept behind the video, director Mikel Cee Karlsson elaborates,
“The animations for ‘Head On’ are based on a cellular automaton called ‘Game of Life’ created by mathematician John Horton Conway. ’Game of Life’ has emergent properties, meaning that complex forms can arise, or evolve, through simple individual parts. Without any designer, plan or intent. In the video, we used visuals from ‘Game of Life’ as an analogy for the flow of information; bits of information forming patterns. Adapting. Evolving. Mutating. Like memes, or mind viruses; positive, neutral or negative. Travelling from mind to mind in a never-ending war of ideas that we all participate in and are influenced by.”
José’s stellar career can only be described as a dream. With over a billion streams under his belt, the Swedish artist is set on dominating the global stage, having earned platinum records in the UK and his homeland as well gold in Australia and New Zealand. José’s warm, intimate voice and tender harmonies, underlined by a dextrously plucked Spanish guitar and muted percussion, deliver profoundly thoughtful lyrics largely revolving around ideas of civilisation, humanism, and solidarity. A sincere, artful performer whose singular approach to songwriting and sonics sets him worlds apart, José González is in a class by himself.
Cover photo: Peter Toggeth