For those of you who feel like your life is going in slow motion, this song is for you. The distant, mesmerizing and repetitive violin in combination with singer Matthew Houck’s detached and waning voice promotes separation from everything bothersome to the point that I often close my eyes and take a deep breath when listening to this song without planning to do so. The rippled percussion can cause listeners to mistakenly feel as if their heart has a similarly rippled beat. These heartbeats force the audience to delve deep into their emotional crevices, mimicking the feeling of adrenaline and ecstasy flowing flowing through the body in times of calm excitement.
Phosphorescent, or the alias used by Matthew Houck, was inspired to write this song and the entire album that went with it after a series of emotionally destructive events. Due to New York City re-zoning, Houck was forced to move out of his apartment back in 2012. He had recently lost his girlfriend after troubles arose while touring on the road, with many of these troubles being fueled by alcohol and drugs. In Houck’s words, “I lost the place, lost the girl, and lost my mind.” The process of getting his life back together is spilled all over the lyrics of “Song for Zula.” With lines like “I saw love disfigure me into something I am not recognizing” and “I will not open myself up this way again,” Houck submits to the fact that his failed attempts at finding love have emotionally crippled him.