ALEX THE ASTRONAUT released her new single “Haircut” from How to Grow A Sunflower Underwater, her upcoming album and follow up to acclaimed debut album The Theory of Absolutely Nothing (2020), out July 22 via Nettwerk. The track was inspired by a dramatic haircut in 2020 when the artist cut off all her hair for charity. The bubbly and upbeat “Haircut” is a song about personal growth and enjoying the journey of self-discovery with your friends and follows the singer, songwriter and storyteller’s previous singles – the gloriously anthemic “Octopus,” inspired by her shift in self-perception brought on by her recent Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis; the sublimely devastating yet hopeful “Airport”; and her rumination on the kind of life uncertainty that is worldview-shifting, “Growing Up.”
“Haircut” shines a light on Alex the Astronaut’s unique ability to contrast the small moments many of us share (“Hot chips, Uno cards, books I should have already read / They keep stacking up I should just stop buying them”) with the profound and life-changing ones. Throughout the song, Alex celebrates the power of going through big life shifts with friends and the pure euphoria that can follow large life decisions – in this case, feeling more like herself than ever after she cut off all her hair for charity. (“Cause since I cut my hair I’ve been feeling so much better / It was more than that / Now the mirror looks back / And I feel like who I am supposed to / Do you know that feeling? / Like the lights are up and you’re the best thing they’ve seen ever”). “Haircut” is the perfect companion soundtrack to sunny days, mid-week road trips and friends taking over the living room at a houseparty, jumping and shouting along to your favorite song in a circle.
“When Australia opened up for a brief month or two last year my friends and I went to the blue mountains for a few days,” noted Alex on the moment with her friends that informed the genesis of “Haircut.”“We went swimming in this very cold waterfall that gave me and my friend Taz a headache because it was so cold. This song is about then, that even though the world is a scary and sometimes mean and dangerous place to be in if you’re different, if you have a group of people that love you it can help you be okay. (And, if you listen closely Dan [Hanson, from Ball Park Music] pretends to be a seagull in the second verse.)”
Alex the Astronaut’s forthcoming second album How to Grow A Sunflower Underwater is an intimate exploration of post-traumatic growth, and a body of work affirming Alex as a truly essential songwriter, capable of transforming the way we view ourselves and the world around us. The album documents both the seemingly mundane (a haircut, a therapy session, a trip to the beach and the supermarket) and utterly life-changing moments (her experience as a caretaker and the PTSD that followed, her recent autism spectrum diagnosis) imbuing her songs with equal parts awareness and sensitivity, imagination and idiosyncratic humor. Reinforcing Alex the Astronaut’s graceful ability to merge the playful with the profound, How to Grow A Sunflower Underwater taps into new vulnerabilities for Alex as she documents the complexities of life, her strength as a songwriter magnified by her sense of empathy and embracing a new level of emotional transparency.
Photo Courtesy: Jamie Heath