We're in the middle of the most stacked music month in recent memory. Pitchfork is handing out "Best New Music"s like candy, this writer is drowning in Big Thief and Saba and Black Country, New Road and Cate Le Bon and and and... So you could be forgiven for missing the memo that Portugal. The Man is staging a comeback.
The self-professed Lords of Portland have been in collab-and-cover mode recently, dropping team-ups with Weird Al and Cherry Glazerr and their takes on Metallica and Annie classics throughout the pandemic. They also dropped a live record, Oregon City Sessions, but it's been roughly four years since we got a new, solo, honest-to-god Portugal. The Man song. That changed on Wednesday.
"What, Me Worry?" is the first single from the band's as-yet-untitled ninth album, due in June. Produced by pop juggernauts Ryan Tedder (the OneRepublic frontman who's sat behind the dials for the likes of Adele and Taylor Swift) and Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, Harry Styles, Lana Del Rey), it's classic Portugal with the sheen cranked up. Falsetto vocals, handclaps, and lethal hooks meet disco strings, thick bass, and what can only be described as "a subtle brass section" for an earwormy slice of summery psych-pop. While press materials describe the track as an ode to childhood's uncomplicated joy, some lyrical darkness seeps in: "Happy as a clown / What, me, worry? / House is burning down / Don't disturb me," goes the pre-chorus.
The song came accompanied with a busy, fascinating music video directed by local artist/photographer Josué Rivas and music vid veteran Aaron Brown. Check it out below, and below that, check out Portland Monthly's ever-growing Songs of the Week playlist, updated every Friday.