Urban Cone, an electro-pop outfit of five high school friends from Stockholm, are building a dynamic catalog. Their sound tends to drift between synth-heavy disco and feel-good indie pop, but lately, they’ve been tackling heavier topics.
Earlier this year, they collaborated on the song “Lionhearted” with Porter Robinson for his buzzworthy debut album Worlds. It details a heart-wrenching, down-and-out fight and has been played millions of times on Soundcloud and YouTube.
The band’s new single, “Sadness Disease,” sounds uplifting at first, but the lyrics are an even deeper dive into sadness, loneliness and exhaustion: “We were so alive and now it’s sunday, You’re gonna lose me now,” they sing. It’s the first single off of Urban Cone’s forthcoming album that is due out next year on Astralwerks.
The song will be officially released on Oct. 7 as a double A-side single that also includes a cover of “Lionhearted,” but you can listen to it first on Billboard right here:
Bandmember Rasmus Flyckt said the contrast is partly a response to Sweden’s long, dark winters, which can weigh heavily on one’s worldview. “We write music in an attempt to create sunshine,” he said. “It’s a reactionary impulse to create light out of the darkness. If you listen to the lyrics, they’re quite dark. It’s serious music that’s made for dancing.”
Emil Gustafsson, another bandmate, cast a wider, cultural net. He said the track is about the “psychological damage” of trying to be perfect and beautiful in order to fit societal ideals. “It’s something both men and women experience, and it’s not real.”
The cover of the single, a cut-and-pasted face with exaggerated lips and eyes is a statement on perfection. “What you’re actually left with is not beauty, it’s distortion,” he said.
Urban Cone’s debut album Our Youth was released in May 2013.