alt-J heralded The Dream in September with the video for the lead single “U&Me.” The trio now follow with “Get Better,” which “is the stirring centerpiece of The Dream, and one the band’s most emotionally resonant songs to-date,” press materials for the single noted. “alt-J peel away the dense layers of sound that they are known for, leaving lead singer Joe Newman’s vocal next to a plaintive solo guitar and harmonies from bandmate Gus Unger-Hamilton.”
Newman himself detailed the genesis of “Get Better” in a press release:
“Get Better” is the union of two songs. The first was an improvised song I sang in 2018 to my partner. To her I sang “Get better my Darcy, I know you can”. She filmed it and I kept revisiting the fragment with a plan to write more. The second was a chord structure I worked on in lockdown that focused on someone living through a bereavement. I felt a nervous heat when writing “Get Better”. The context of the Coronavirus pandemic lent my words a chilling weight and gave me a new sense of responsibility as a lyricist. Whilst the direct events described are fictional, I believe – or I hope – that it’s emotionally the most honest song I’ve written.
Gus Unger-Hamilton also shared how the song struck him saying, “when Joe first played it to me I didn’t just get a bit tearful, I broke down. A big, big cry. A cry of the year.”
“Get Better” arrived with a music video helmed by Hamburg-based award-winning pixel artist Stefanie Grunwald. Watch it below:
alt-j is also conducting a charity auction around a Larrivee P-05 guitar with handwritten lyrics of “Get Better” inscribed by Joe Newman. All proceeds will benefit Plan International. Head here for more info.