Eclectic New Jersey Jazz / Punk / Rock quartet Joy on Fire have shared new single “Selfies”, another new track from their forthcoming album States of America. The track has a Stooges-inspired groove from guitarist John Paul Carillo, sardonic spoken word lyrics from frontman Dan Gutenstein about the “emptiness of social media narcissism”, and a saxophone part from Anna Meadors that builds in intensity to its chaotic climax.
The release of “Selfies” is accompanied by a music video for the track, which furthers the fractured visual style of the videos from the album so far, along the same lines of the video for “Anger and Decency”, as “heavy amounts of visual distortion and manipulation are placed atop footage of the band performing the song intercut with, of course, a number of video selfies”.
Talking about the origins of “Selfies” and their intentions behind the track, John Paul Carillo writes:
“Selfies” began with a riff I had hanging around for a while, a riff that has a bit of a Stooges vibe, especially with the reverse delay on it, and when lyricist / vocalist Dan Gutstein joined Joy on Fire, I arranged it for vocals. Dan has some great lines in it, displaying his edgy sense of humor: “Happiest,” goes the refrain, “we were happiest / Lying to each other.” The piece is a critique of narcissistic culture, with “Love is like gazing everywhere / Catching an echo with your hands…Why not, why not, why not selfies!” The impossibility, emptiness, and sadness of trying to catch an “echo with your hands” is (not) relieved by taking selfies, would be one interpretation.
Often in Joy on Fire songs, saxophonist Anna Meadors begins the song or at least jumps in pretty quickly. This time, she lays out for the body of the song, and then just kills it over a vamp that drives to the end of the tune, with Dan then sneaking back in, like the sax has driven him mad: “La-la-la-la-la Selfies!” The wild saxophone is a further Stooges connection. The acidy vibe that Iggy Pop asked for from Stooges saxophonist Steve Mackay — Anna certainly has it here, and then some.“
Their new album, States of America, is the band’s 7th album, their sixth for Procrastination Records. It will arrive on June 11th, 2022, and the band is planning a tour in support of the release.