Bon Bon Vivant’s new single, “Die Young”—premiering below—is a joyful ode to not growing up, but it’s also a love letter to the folk-rock revelers’ beloved home city of New Orleans.
“‘Die Young’ is a rowdy song about revelry, rebellion, and celebration in the face of social pressure to grow up or conform,” frontwoman Abigail Cosio tells American Songwriter over email. “As a musician and a New Orleanian, there is a sense of agelessness here in our city. This song is inspired by that lifestyle where value is put on living fully. Here we do what we want. Age is a concept of mind in a lot of ways. New Orleans approaches all things differently, and aging is no exception. We drink and we dance at any stage or circumstance of life.”
“‘Die Young’ is about choosing not to abandon that lust for life that is associated with youth,” Cosio continues. “All the energy and adventuring spirit of our younger selves can be kept alive, but it is a choice. It’s a knowing nod to our younger selves and the genuine surprise that we didn’t get ourselves killed yet. And a little play on the cultural allure of dying young, because we’ve even failed at that. So, damnit… let’s live well.”
Cosio wastes no time driving that point home in the song. “Fill your glass / Shake your ass / Leave your hesitations at home,” she booms in the first verse, “Put this on your tongue / Baby it’s too late for us to die young.”
For Cosio, the song reflects a recent shift in her thinking about what it means to grow up. “The song came about during this particular chapter in my life where it seems growing older has made me younger in spirit in relation to the fears I held in my earlier years,” she explains. “My expectations of the future started to shift and adjust as I began to meet realities, soften ideals and collect experiences. Theory versus practice. Adjusting the map along the journey, maybe even ripping it in half. A relaxation of standards has occurred as I get closer to death and I feel more youthful in my willingness to try new things. A general lightening up.”
“There is joy and peace in knowing that we are gonna be fine, relatively speaking,” she adds. “A gift of aging. It seems to me there is a particular threshold you pass that living longer has shown me, when youthful aspirations meet realities and they blend together thanks to the knowledge gained overtime. It highlighted all my wasted time in hesitating based on societal standards and ultimately has made me want to live more authentically and saturated as I collect years.”
Cosio isn’t on this journey alone. In “Die Young,” she’s joined by Jeremy Kelley on saxophone, Jason Jurzak on sousaphone, Cory Tramontelli on upright bass, Ry D’Antonio on drums, Mike Rocha on trumpet, and Ido Meshulam on trombone. Cosio’s sister Glori lends backing vocals, while Cosio plays guitar. “Die Young” is the third single off Bon Bon Vivant’s forthcoming album, Dancing in the Darkness, after the soulful, jazz-inflected album opener “Ship Is Sinking” and the stormy, klezmer-inspired album closer, “Hell or High Water.”
“This song fits into the album’s concept of finding joy or hope in all situations,” Cosio says of “Die Young.” “Our current times are providing us with lots of reasons to give in to negativity, the wear and tear on a soul. This album is our way of saying that the only thing we can control is our mindset, as we go forward into these insane times happening all around us. It is a collection of songs written over the last few years, songs of intense personal loss, unprecedented world events, and committing again and again to life’s fullness despite the inevitability of pain. ‘Die Young’ is the album’s most joyful moment about shucking off the hesitations that may keep us from experiencing all shades of living.”
Dancing in the Darkness comes after a pair of live albums—2019’s Live at the Circus and 2018’s Live at the New Orleans Jazz Museum—and 2016’s Paint & Pageantry. Listen to “Die Young” below, and catch Bon Bon Vivant’s live streams here.
“Die Young” is out now. You can pre-order Dancing in the Darkness—out December 4—here.