Hayden–the iconic Toronto indie-folk rock fixture–has announced Are We Good, his first full-length studio album since 2015, due out April 5 via Arts & Crafts.
The news arrives alongside lead single “On A Beach,” which features Feist. The track arrived alongside a cinematic, star-studded official video, also featuring Leslie Feist with cameos by Matt Berninger of The National and beloved actor Steve Buscemi (who Hayden last worked with on the music for Trees Lounge, Buscemi’s 1997 directorial debut).
Spearheaded by “On A Beach”–a song unmatched in his canon for its immediate catchiness and clear blue sky production–Are We Good posits Hayden Desser, peppered and grizzled (by the pandemic or parenting), in an attic studio stand-off with writer’s block during early lockdown.
A couple’s duet about turning to hypnosis in search of the spark of their youth, the song’s ambling bass line and sparse hand claps blossom into Feist and Hayden’s indelible chorus of, “We’re on a beach, oh yeah, we’re on a beach/ We’re drinking income taxes and you’re fond of me,” with swirling synths adding to the ambience.
Accompanied by a transportive music video directed by Yael Staav, who has directed most of Hayden’s videos for the last 25 years, “On A Beach” brings an all-star cast together into a timeless artist’s singular realm.
“One afternoon [in] February 2021 I was asleep at my piano when I received a text from my friend Leslie (Feist), inviting me to be a part of a songwriting workshop with several other musicians of note. I was terrified, but joined in as an attempt to jolt myself out of submission. The idea was to write a song a day for seven consecutive days, sharing them later each evening with the other writers. A great combination of pure feet to the fire expression and accountability.
“‘On A Beach’ was my ‘day four’ submission. I continued tinkering with the song and recording in the following weeks, adding a bridge, tracking several synth lines to try to create what I thought hypnosis may sound like. A few weeks later, Leslie was in town and I invited her to sing on a newer verse I’d written to make the song more of a conversation. Who better than the best, and the one who basically made the song happen in the first place.”