When new wave groups were churning out then-futuristic-sounding songs about love back in the 1980s, the future they’d envisioned probably wasn’t the dystopian moment we’re currently living through. Dating—to pick just one relatively trivial facet of this modern period of global pandemic—has become an activity largely delegated to your lonely bedroom where you sift through google results yielded by the subject of your interest, all while some indistinct governmental entity likely sifts through the trail of data you leave behind. Yet it’s become so normal to us that it also yields upbeat pop songs inspired by those first-wave new wavers, such as the new single from Near Tears.
Blending ’80s-set pop sounds with eerie modern dating rituals and technologies, “Love Under Surveillance” feels like a refreshing take on falling in love over the internet—as if it could all potentially be worth the uneasiness that comes with the experience. “Lovers surveil each other,” Near Tears’ Justine Dorsey explains of the song’s premise. “You can google your new crush’s name and find out everything about them—their LinkedIn profile, their Letterboxd account! And of course every move you make on your phone (planning dates, sending nudes, declarations of love and affection) is being monitored by Big Brother. Do algorithms feel that affection too? Can they fall in love with you?”
The track arrives ahead of her debut EP, produced by Rilo Kiley’s Blake Sennett and stocked with more workout-ready tracks detailing the malaise of our modern era. “This is a really nostalgic-sounding album about modern anxieties,” she continues. “The title track is probably one of the most depressing songs I’ve written—I mean, in it I legitimately say I don’t wanna grow old in this world anymore! But at the end of the day I am choosing to grow old in this world (as much as it’s within my control to do, anyway) and in the meantime I’m using music to deal with the stickier feelings that arise from making that choice.”
Check out the video below, featuring Dorsey singing the tune in her bedroom—which makes the uncomfortable parallel between phone and computer cameras and those more covertly placed on ceilings—and pre-save the EP here.