Kate Boy: "Northern Lights"

Single (2012)

By Conrad Amenta | 3 December 2012

Okay, I give in. I give in to this song. It’s not hopelessly stupid-catchy in the way a “Call Me Maybe” is, but embraces its own particular stupidity. It’s a thoughtless worm that burrows deep into your brain, latches on to the stem, starts controlling your action. It trades in doe-eyed, adolescent sincerity for indie’s kind of lyrical stand-ins that mean truly nothing. This is a song that is truly meaningless, unless “reaching out for the northern lights” has some kind of subtext I’m not reading. But there’s no denying this song. I give in.

First: listen to this fucking production. This is Dolby 5.0-home-theater-while-playing-Black Ops sound quality. It’s crystal clear, robust, and perfectly balanced. So when those keys come in—more centrally important to this song than anything else—it’s simply glorious, and a reminder that the slightest aesthetic decision can take a derivative jam with meaningless lyrics and turn it into an end-of-year favorite.

I’m suspicious that this can only be the first leak of a grassroots campaign for Kate Boy. After all, there’s no single, no album, no EP; I can’t even buy this one track on iTunes. All the band has is a website with an immaculately composed video and a song with what must have been very expensive production. I feel like there’s some serious money behind Kate Boy, and this infectious thing is meant to simply soften up the ground for the inevitable multi-platform commercial campaign. What can I say guys? So far so good.