If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you’d be familiar with Mark Roberts, the creative mastermind behind the critically acclaimed, Brooklyn-based indie electro pop project, We Are Temporary. Roberts and his recording project have developed a reputation for crafting music that draws from a wide range of influences within contemporary electronic music from future beats, dream pop, witch house, post-rock industrial techno as well as classical music. And he pairs that sound with confessional lyrics based on his own personal experience and personal philosophy; in fact, some of his earliest solo work has focused on suffering through debilitating anxiety attacks, the near breakup and reconciliation of his marriage, his privileged but tumultuous childhood as the son of a renowned American opera singer, living abroad in Europe, as well as his humanistic atheism versus his wife’s devout Mormonism.
After the 2013 release of the Afterthoughts EP, Roberts released a deeply moving protest song inspired and informed by Eric Garner’s death and the grand jury decision that resulted in the acquittal of several police officers for Garner’s death. Simultaneously, Roberts had been spending time writing the material that would wind up releasing his soon-to-released and long-awaited full-length debut, Crossing Over. Interestingly, the album — especially its first single “You Can Now Let Go” was partially inspired by a conversation that Roberts had with his own mother about death. During this conversation Roberts’ mother announced “I’d like to be wide awake when it happens. Dying seems like such an important event in life; I’d hate to miss it.” According to Roberts, this conversation had helped change his mind about death — instead of something to avoid or delay, but something that can be complex, meaningful, beautiful and profound. After all, we and everyone we’ve ever loved and cared about will die; and without death our lives would lack meaning. Additionally, Crossing Over and “You Can Now Let Go” were inspired by Roberts’ own near-death experience: a drug-fueled anxiety attack, which landed him in the ER. Shock and confusion eventually turned into peace and acceptance — and as a result, it inspired a song that depicts a nonviolent death as a quietly beautiful fade to black. Sonically, the dark, unsettling yet hauntingly beautiful song is comprised of huge, tweeter and woofer boom-bap inspired beats, skittering drum programming, ominously swirling electronics and industrial clang and clatter, layers of undulating synths, soaring melodies that subtly arch heavenward are paired with Roberts’ plaintive, deeply emotive vocals.
The album’s second and latest single “Who’s Going To Love You Now” is a brooding and slow-burning ballad consisting of shimmering and chiming synths, swirling electronics and propulsive drum programming paired with Roberts plaintive and achingly desperate vocals. The song was written while Roberts was separated from his wife, and as a result the song thematically speaking focuses on real feels that many us have felt as a relationship was seemingly falling apart — i.e., the fear of not knowing how to love or not knowing how to love enough; the fear of being so fucked up and so damaged that you’ll end up alone. But it also explores the fact that all relationships, especially romantic ones are rooted in the uncertainty of compromise — sometimes compromise that you might be uncertain of actually wanting. In other worse, it points out that human relationships mirror the neuroses and doubts of the people within them, and it does so with a great deal of empathy, while not offering much of a solution one way or the other.