Look at any city skyline, any evening, anywhere around the world, and you’ll see the same thing. There’ll be thousands of lights, in thousands of windows, in hundreds upon hundreds of towers, each representing an individual life in progress. So many people, so many stories, so many tales unheard, swallowed by the vastness and silence of the night. For every city-dweller who becomes well known to his peers, countless others simply get lost in the crowd. Ethan Gold, a specialist in radical empathy, feels for every one of them. “Bright & Lonely City,” his latest single, is an anthem for the introverted — a gorgeous, sighing electronic rock song that confronts loneliness, alienation, and the desperate desire to be known.
As complete an artistic statement as it is, it’s just part of a greater musical tapestry. “Bright & Lonely City” is the kickoff track and introduction to the recently released Earth City 1: The Longing, Ethan Gold’s long-awaited second album. Two more volumes of Earth City will be released in the coming years, deepening, extending, and enriching Gold’s musical and lyrical themes. The challenges of modern urban life, decay and renewal, the unquenchable desire for connection, the indispensable place of compassion in a changing world: these are the subjects that Gold is grappling with, and everything he writes is candid, well-considered, and overflowing with love for his fellow humans. Even encountering a little bit of Gold’s gorgeous music is an immersive experience. The three Earth City albums promise an embarrassment of riches: a warm, wide, welcoming sonic universe for music lovers to get lost in.
“Bright & Lonely City” follows prior Earth City videos “Our Love is Beautiful”, “In New York”, and “Alexandria & Me”, and it’s paired with a clip that simultaneously reinforces its transcendent qualities and its relevance to the world we all know. On this video, Ethan is working with his brother Ari Gold – a daring artist with a singular feel for the illustrative power of illumination – as well as various artists filming around the world. Ari Gold is exquisitely sensitive to the emotionally provocative quality of different kinds of urban light, including the seductive lure of neon, the watchful radiance of streetlamps, and the desperate blasts of color from the high and distant windows of towers. He bathes his subjects in light as they move around their cities, always by themselves, always searching for a connection that remains elusive, forever just beyond their reach. The Gold brothers clearly feel for all of these characters in their lonely city: ordinary people in an extraordinarily alienated time, searching for meaning and friendship in a place as emotionally hazardous as the planet Earth.