For those looking for a song that perfectly blends melancholy, second-hand grief, and human tenacity set to the tune of a hopeful acoustic, look no further than indie folk artist Albert Kass and his newest single, “Downward,” released on May 31.
With simple poignancy, the lyrics describe the emotional journey of the narrator watching a loved one struggle with addiction. The song explores how complicated the emotions of someone watching, and how the depths of their emotional capacity could be plumbed so far that eventually one has to resign themselves to watch that someone reach rock bottom, despite their best efforts to help. While the lyrics and soft vocals blend together to spin that tale of despair, the acoustics defy that melancholy with bright and airy chords that seem to represent hope amidst that human despair. They leave the listener with a lingering sense of sun rays piercing through the clouds of frustration and heartbreak, assuring them that despite it all, there are ways out through family, human stubbornness, and other loved ones.
According to Kass, this new track “draws from the act of callusing over after one has entered a state of general malaise. This track not only shines a light on how difficult it is to be powerless in such an intense situation, but also exists in the space where grief and apathy meet. It is a recognition of the brutal reality that I need to cut off the person they love to spare my own mental health and that he can only hope this person comes to their senses before succumbing to irreparable damage.”
Albert Kass developed a connection to music early on in his life. Initially drawn to the darker classical music that his sister would play on the piano, Kass eventually began experimenting with composition as a creative medium to express himself. The alternative folk singer states that singing was not part of the initial plan he envisioned for himself; however, it “sort of happened of its own volition.” With a voice as smooth as silk and a knack for lyrical storytelling, Kass has become a notable folk riser. “Downward” is from his upcoming debut album Young Old Man, which he created with the help of Grammy award-winning producer Billy Mohler.