Even as the first few thumps of the opening drums resonate and the waves of oscillating, experimental synths begin to roll in, bright pastel colors flood every corner of the screen in the new music video for NZCA Lines’ late March single, “Pure Luxury,” premiering exclusively today (April 8) on Billboard.
The track prominently features Michael Lovett — who records his solo work under the moniker NZCA Lines and recently joined English electropop group Metronomy — sporting an all-pink, formal outfit, though he makes a few wardrobe changes along the way.
Lovett, who co-directed the video alongside Alina Rancier, notes that they drew both from American Psycho and a gender-reversed Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (starring Marilyn Monroe) and specifically points to the line in the song “smile while we’re holding back tears” as one of the underlying themes.
“I think that embodies the approach we took: a superficial beauty hiding a grotesque underbelly,” Lovett tells Billboard. “I always pictured this song as a go-go freakout, like those 1960s musical TV shows with dancers and a colorful stage set.”
According to Lovett, the idea for the track first developed during a trip to New York in February 2018 — the British musician recalls witnessing a palpable shift in the attitudes of the city’s residents during his many visits there in 2017 and 2018, and as a result, struggled to pull from his usual science fiction-fueled inspirations when trying to write new material.
“I could feel the anger and disbelief at what was being revealed about society from the people now running the country,” he says. “It definitely felt like there was an energy to fight and promote positive social change. Writing about wistful dystopian fantasies felt trite.”
During that particular stay in New York, he remembers a 70-degree day with people walking around in t-shirts amid the city’s winter months, though just a few days earlier, people were bundled in heavy coats with snow falling. Lovett notes that it then immediately went back to frigid temperatures after the heatwave.
“It drove home the reality of our situation — that climate change is happening around us whilst powerful people disregard the destruction of our environment as a hoax. I made the demo of ‘Pure Luxury’ a few days later.”
The new single from NZCA Lines’ is its first release since it dropped sophomore album Infinite Summer in 2016. With its infectious chorus, smooth tempo shifts throughout the song and rollicking guitar solo, “Pure Luxury” serves as an enticing sample of how Lovett has evolved as an artist since collaborating with Christine and the Queens, joining Metronomy and touring worldwide.
“Other new songs of mine feature new collaborators,” Lovett teases. “This material is quite a sonic departure from Infinite Summer and [debut album] NZCA/Lines. There’s a lot more live instrumentation, such as grand piano I recorded in Paris whilst excruciatingly hungover, and disco strings.”
Check out the exclusive premiere of the music video for “Pure Luxury” below.