With clever wordplay and spot-on observations of the new normal, folk singer Anthony D’Amato’s playful new single “When I See You Again” is an uplifting, hopeful anthem for a return to the good old days when friends and strangers could socialize in close proximity without fear of losing their life. And by good old days, we mean six months ago.
“I just started imagining what that day would look like when we can all come out of our houses and hug each other or get a drink without worrying about getting sick or spreading disease,” D’Amato says.
D’Amato’s lyrics manage to be both humorous and poignant in describing the effects of the pandemic. “The grocery store won’t seem so stressful, the restaurants will all have specials,” and most importantly, “everyone will be essential, when I see you again.” The song’s waltz-like rhythm will make you want to grab your friend by the hand and dance your worries away.
The fantastic video, premiered here exclusively today on American Songwriter, cleverly lets us know that we’ve been here before, but with strength and resolve, we’ll get through this. D’Amato uses old black and white public domain footage of simpler times, precisely edited to accompany each of the New York-based folk singer’s lyrical thoughts.
“I wanted to create a sense of perspective. Humans are resilient, and we’ll get through this one way or another. At the end of the day, though, it’s our willingness to work together, follow the science, and treat each other with empathy and respect that will determine how bad things get along the way.”
The single’s cover artwork features children getting ready for school during the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918. “It felt like an obvious fit for the cover art. These are unprecedented days we’re living through in a lot of regards, but in some ways, we’ve been here before, and we’ll likely be here again someday, too.”
The NYC-based songwriter originally wrote the song as a sign-off for his Social Distance Happy Hour live stream. “I would always close by telling the audience that I hoped I’d be able to see them again soon in their respective cities.”
After laying down a solo acoustic version, D’Amato felt the song would have more impact with the camaraderie of other musicians backing him, in much the same way the lyrics refer to the need to be together.
“When I See You Again” is driven by Michael Hesslein’s old-time Nicky Hopkins-influenced sounding piano that recalls classic early 70’s era Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart. Drummer Josh Fleischmann and vocalist Jane Beaird join D’Amato, who plays all other parts.
“I think my natural instincts as a songwriter tend to draw me more toward darker or heavier material, and this was a welcome opportunity to be a little tongue in cheek and playful for a change.”
That playfulness is exemplified in the Dylan-like verse: “We won’t need six feet of space dear/There’ll be no more bread to bake here/I’ll have read the works of Shakespeare/When I see you again.”
“I landed on the Shakespeare part of that verse first and immediately knew I wanted to keep it because it just worked so nicely with the melody.” D’Amato said. “From there, it was just a matter of singing the line over and over again and figuring out what flowed it into it and out of it with the same ease.”
D’Amato revealed his songwriting process and how he gets out of a rut. “When I’m stuck, I try to record what I have so far as a voice memo on my phone and then play it on a loop while I’m out walking or running so that I can just keep trying out different ideas until something clicks. In the end, I was really happy with the way that verse came together because it managed to capture both the grand hope for all the things we’d finally get around to accomplishing during quarantine and the monotonous reality of sitting at home scrolling through pictures of your friends’ sourdough loaves on Instagram.”
“When I See You Again” will be released on all platforms on Friday, July 3, with a pre-order setup on BandCamp: https://anthonydamatomusic.bandcamp.com/album/when-i-see-you-again. Once again, Bandcamp is waiving their share of revenue, as it has done every first Friday of the month.