“Can I call you on your birthday? Just to make sure that you’re okay?”
The reliably great duo known as Disclosure is dropping a new album called Energy on Friday (August 28), and like their past records, the track listing features an enviable array of superstars, from Kelis to Common.
Just ahead of the record’s release, the electronic duo dropped the latest offering from the set on Wednesday (August 26): “Birthday,” a collaboration with Syd and Kehlani.
The track plays like a nostalgic, buttery-smooth ’90s R&B throwback classic with a slick, modern electronic twist, as the crooners contemplate the concept of giving an old flame a ring on their special day. (Personally, I’d opt for a text at best but, you know, you gotta do what you gotta do.)
“Syd & I were going through a similar thing at the time, trying to work out if it was cool to call your ex to say hi or is it too awkward / mean to do so out of the blue?” says Howard Lawrence.
“We wrote the song with Syd originally, and we were definitely going on that Brandy, Monica, and Aaliyah vibe; that was just how we were all feeling that day. And then we decided halfway through writing it, we were like, you know what, this would actually be great as a duet. So who should we get on it? And she was like, ‘Oh, well, maybe I’ll just get Kehlani.’ We were like, yeah, that’s fine. But also, people say that stuff a lot in sessions and it never happens. So we just went like, yeah, sure, thinking that’s not going to happen. And then two weeks later, it was just in the inbox. Yeah, which is really strange,” he further explained to Zane Lowe on Apple Music.
“It’s been a foundational song for the record,” Guy Lawrence added.
“Also, another cool thing to mention about that song and with Kehlani is, always, whenever we can, we always get in the room with the artist and write the songs from scratch,” Howard continued.
“We’re not the type of people who like to write a song and just send it to a singer and be like, ‘Do that.’ We like to sit down and be like, how are we all feeling today? What should we write about? And make the music there and then. So we did that with Syd and then she sent the song to Kehlani, and we had to just trust Kehlani to understand the vibe of the song and to really feel the vibe of it. And it’s the first time we’ve ever done that, and we were lucky, I think, because Kehlani nailed this first one. She came back and there was nothing we wanted to change. It was just perfect.”
To provide a little extra energy (eh heh), the boys also released the “VIP Remix” of the song, which provides a pulse to the original production, perfect for the at-home anxious dancing in between contemplating whether or not to ring them up.
Energy will be released as a transparent double LP, CD and tape on August 28.
This song is featured on the MuuTunes Spotify playlist.
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Photo credit: Island Records / Hollie Fernando