June Jones has a problem: How do you close the infinite expanse of cyberspace? That’s the question at the heart of the Melbourne-based musician’s latest single, “If Only,” a queer internet friendship ballad that touches on the desire to connect and the fear of venturing out of one’s house.
“I don’t always wanna be alone / I’m sick of living on the telephone,” Jones confides on the track, a somber synth-pop number that was written, recorded, and produced by Jones and features vocals from Katie Dey. “And sometimes I wonder if there’s more to life / Than what we find inside our homes / So why is it so hard to walk out of the door / What if they don’t like my kind out there and show me what for?"
“‘If Only’ was one of the first songs on the new album that I wrote,” says Jones, referencing her forthcoming LP Pop Music for Normal Women. “I had just bought a coffee machine because I’d been spending too much money on takeaways, and when I heard the stuttering of that little robot alongside the monotonous hum of the microwave, the opening line was born. This song is about the lingering remnants of adolescent agoraphobia, memories of playing MMORPGs as a form of socializing, and missing friends so much that you’re idealizing going to a rave even though you’re not actually someone who goes to a lot of raves.”
Jones tapped Dey to contribute vocals with their own history in mind. “Katie and I were internet friends from about 2016 until we met IRL in late 2019,” she shares of her fellow Aussie. “As a pair of ailing transsexual girlbosses, we are both well-acquainted with the importance of online friendships. I’ve loved her music since her first EP came out, and I was really honored to have her singing on this track with me.”
An accompanying visual directed by Daniel R. Marks shows Jones and Dey joining forces as sword-wielding video game avatars. “I had been playing a ton of Elden Ring earlier this year and I think [Daniel] had as well, and I said that Katie played a lot of Final Fantasy,” recalls Jones. “The clip takes ideas from both of those games, but is ultimately the product of Daniel’s unique artistic palette. We were both excited for him to channel a PS1-era animation aesthetic, but when I saw what he did with it I was like, ‘OMG, this goes hard—but in a melancholy kind of way.’ J’obsessed.”
On “If Only,” Jones' music also goes hard in a melancholy way, landing like a knowing hug from across the world. Watch the video below, and pre-order Pop Music For Normal Women here ahead of its September 23 release.