alt-J are back with “Get Better,” the second single from their forthcoming album The Dream.
The plaintive song is essentially a two-hander, with dummer Thom Sonny Green sitting this one out. Instead, Joe Newman strums out gentle acoustic notes while Gus Unger-Hamilton joins in with harmonies and subtle piano. As Newman describes it, the track “is the union of two songs.” One was a little improvisation he sang to his partner, Darcy Wallace, back in 2018: “Get better, my Darcy/ I know you can.” The second was a chord progression written during lockdown while Newman thought of the thousands of bereaved around the world.
“I felt nervous heat when writing ‘Get Better,” Newman said in a press statement. “The context of the Coronavirus pandemic lent my words a chilling weight and gave me a new sense of responsibility as a lyricist. Whilst the direct events described are fictional, I believe — or I hope — that it’s emotionally the most honest song I’ve written.”
The lyrics certainly impacted Unger-Hamilton, who said he “broke down” after hearing the demo. “A big, big cry,” he recalled. “A cry of the year.”
“Get Better” comes with a lovely animated video from pixel artist Stefanie Grunwald. Check it out below.
If you too are moved by “Get Better,” you can enter a charity auction to win a Larrivee P-05 guitar — just like the one Newman used to record the song and write much of The Dream — inscribed with the track’s lyrics. Proceeds benefit Plan International, a charity focused on creating lasting equality for girls and protection for the rights of children in over 50 countries. Enter here, and see the prize guitar ahead.
The Dream, which was first previewed with lead single “U&ME,” awakens on February 11th. alt-J will support the release on a 2022 tour with Portugal. the Man, Sir Chloe, and Cherry Glazerr; tickets can be found via Ticketmaster.