Washington, D.C.-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Nick Hakim has announced a new album, Cometa (Spanish for “kite”), coming Oct. 21, and shared the video for lead single “Happen.” The follow-up to 2020’s Will This Make Me Good features collaborations with DJ Dahi, Helado Negro and Arto Lindsay, while Alex G and Abe Rounds contribute piano and drums, respectively, to the mesmerizing “Happen.”
Our first preview of Cometa reveals a new twist on Hakim’s sound, eschewing his usual psych-soul slurry in favor of a more purposefully constructed composition. A simple chord progression, steadily strummed on acoustic guitar, and Rounds’ looped drums serve as the framework for Hakim’s hushed vocals: “The sweetest angel fell into my world / She gives me reason, was lost for a damn long time / She pours honey down my throat / We stay up all night, I watch the sun scan her body / and just let it happen.” You can hear fingers moving across a fretboard and the pops of Hakim’s consonants, but the track is at its most atmospheric in the choruses—Hakim’s chants of “let it happen” ping-pong from one end of the mix to the other, with a distant organ hum eventually revealing itself as choral vocals. Hakim’s celestial imagery renders the preciousness of his life-changing love on an interstellar scale, with piano and pedal steel elevating the track ever further into the stratosphere.
The “Happen” video was directed by Johan Carlsson and shot at Roy Andersson’s Studio 24 in Sweden, where films like A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting Existence, You, The Living and Songs From the Second Floor were made. Hakim and Carlsson conceived the video—in which we follow a single slow-motion shot through a train car—around the concept of “sonder,” which a press release defines as “the profound feeling of realizing that everyone, including strangers passing in the street, has a life with experiences and emotions as vivid and complex as one’s own.”
“The idea for the video is very simple, we see people on a subway, all busy with their different lives, some are in great spirits and some in deep thoughts maybe because of trouble at work or in their personal life. Sometimes when you’re in a public space you’re not interested in your fellow human beings at all and sometimes looking at them is so interesting that you can’t stop,” says Carlsson in a statement. “I hope this video can be an example of when people are interesting to look at, in a way that helps you reflect on your own life. I think Nick’s music is fantastic and has a cinematic and visual quality I hope comes through in the video.”
Hakim recorded Cometa in studios and domestic spaces across Texas, North Carolina, California and New York, writing a set of romantic songs about “falling in love in a way that made him feel like he was floating”—this is where the comet/kite comes in. “The key is to find that extremity of love for yourself,” Hakim says in a statement. “It’s about growing into someone you want to be; it’s about finding pure love within yourself when the world around us seems to be crumbling.”
Watch the “Happen” video below, along with Hakim’s 2017 Paste Studio session, and find the details of Cometa further down.
04. Feeling Myself
06. Only One
09. Slid Under