Sade Fox shares a visceral ache for the past in their new song “Necessary Nostalgia.” The four and a half minute track is framed in a gentle piano loop, making plenty of space for the bright and enchanting vocals. Sade Fox boasts a clear, shimmering voice that will remind listeners of alternative artists like beabadoobee and mxmtoon. “Necessary Nostalgia” finds the speaker mourning the end of a relationship: “You built a town for me/That’s when I knew/That when you left me I’d be broken in two.”
The track grounds its power in vulnerability. It grants the listener access to the speaker’s emotional world during one of the most brutal stages of a breakup: wanting your lover back. The song follows a simple melody, mimicking a steady sort of longing, a grief like a pulse—constant, thrumming under your skin, making itself known. Sade Fox doesn’t shy away from that sort of emotional intimacy. The production is structured so that the listener feels like the singer is standing right behind you, their voice in your ear, their breath on your neck. It is a confession and a question, a soft-spoken plea for the return of their lover…or perhaps not even the return of the lover but the return of the idea of the lover, a return to the place in the speaker’s life that the lover represents. Nostalgia is brutal like that. We had a chance to chat with Slade Fox to get more insight to their track and songwriting process.
When and why did you start making music?
I wrote my first song when I was six years old. It just kind of came out of me, and it hasn’t been able to stop since then.
What is the most challenging and rewarding aspect of the songwriting process?
The most challenging part of the songwriting process is sticking to it. It is easy to begin to write a song and then give up on it, so really working to finish it is the most difficult. When you do, though, it is incredibly rewarding to see something that you created and be like, “Hey, I made that! That’s pretty cool!”
What’s the story behind this song?
I wrote this song about a relationship I had with a friend, though it can really be applied to any situation the listener wants. There wasn’t really a huge fight that broke us up, we just kind of drifted apart. Because I couldn’t really put my finger on what did it, the pain of our separation was different than anything I had experienced before.
What did you learn from putting out your first album?
I learned so much after putting out my first album. I learned about production, mixing, mastering, and performing. Sometimes I can’t even listen to the first album without getting physically uncomfortable. At some point in my life I will probably go back and fix a bunch of stuff from it, but for now I am more focused on my upcoming album.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I would love to get more people to hear what I have to say, but that is far from the most important thing. I write music so that I can stay sane, so mainly I just want to do that. If people like it, then that is awesome and I would love to take them on this journey, but if not then that is totally fine too. I have a list of venues that I want to play in my life if I ever get the chance, but that is probably much farther in the future than your question was asking about. For now, I just want people to be able to hear it.