Pick of the Week: Lucius “Next to Normal”

Lucius "Next to Normal"
Graphics by Ainsley Basic

By Nora Onanian, Web Services Coordinator

Lucius’ new album is all about “dancing [their] way through the darkness,” the Brooklyn-formed indie-pop band shared in a statement. Second Nature, due April 8th, will be their first record of new material since 2016’s Good Grief and lead single “Next to Normal” sets off their new chapter on a high note. 



Compared to the angst-filled anthem “Born Again Teen” that first introduced me to Lucius, “Next to Normal” sees a different sound from frontwomen Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig. The two Berklee College of Music grads sing with a confident, relaxed tone, their vocals fusing together at moments and adding contrast at others. With its groovy, electronic soundscape, the track also stands apart from their acoustic hits like “Two Of Us On The Run.”

“Next to Normal'' creates interest from the start, opening with a flirty exchange between two guitars, a funky bass line, and popping, steady drums. Electronic sounds escalate the song’s ethereal quality. At times, Wolfe and Laessig’s vocals reach ghostly heights, but scattered, squeaky guitar accents cut through sharp. And across all of the song’s twists and turns, it is the drumbeat that holds a consistent rhythm. These elements together result in an incredibly original sound that captures Lucius’ quirky energy ever-so-authentically. 



Through the lyrics of “Next to Normal,” Lucius acknowledges and celebrates eccentricity. They sing of losing friends from “laughing at the wrong time” and valiantly declare “when everyone’s the same, it’s time to separate yourself” to close out the first verse. 

But it's not just a celebration of quirkiness, but rather one of finding someone that embraces them. “When I'm close to you, I'm next to normal, I feel immortal, I'm high without the paranoia,” goes the chorus. They perfectly capture the feeling of being able to let your guard down when around someone who doesn’t judge. This feeling is only echoed by the song’s sound, bursting with personality and oozing confidence. 



Lucius will put out their next album, Second Nature, through the label Mom+Pop Music on April 8th. The record was co-produced by Brandi Carlile and David Cobb and recorded at Nashville’s RCA Studio A. The historical site which remains active as a recording studio is said to have helped revive country music’s popularity and established Nashville’s prominence in the music scene with artists such as the Beach Boys, B.B. King, Paramore, and more using it. 

Those around Massachusetts will get two chances to see Lucius live on their U.S. tour. First, at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCa) in North Adams on April 28th. And second, at Boston’s newly opening venue Roadrunner on April 29th.

Speaking on her involvement with the project, Brandi Carlile hinted at the appeal of what’s to come. “This album feels like home to me and anyone growing up surrounded by 80s and 90s pop,” she said. “Somehow Second Nature is the beginning of a new era—not just for Lucius, but for all of us.”


Every Monday, our music staff brings you a new Pick of The Week, detailing some of our favorite songs. Check out our previous Picks of the Week here, and make sure to tune in to WERS 88.9FM!

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