"Nobody Hangs Out Anymore" begins in a golden room of golden dunes as the submerged London O'Connor stares into a submerged TV screen. Our hero, who also directed the video, pours a jug of golden sand onto his golden cereal and sings: "All my friends are on the net / and all my friends are in the net / and all of us are out of it / and none of us are into it."
The artist tells NPR this song "came from a period where I really didn't feel connected to my surroundings at all. This is still a problem for me, both as a child of America and a child of the Internet... Idk what to do about it."
It's a lament for the age of digital isolationism, delivered with such unflinching sincerity it may cause discomfort. We're a screen-addicted culture that fills its social quota without even leaving the couch and, barring a cataclysmic solar flare, there's no going back.
Through this bedroom requiem, O'Connor forces us to confront our collective addiction. The artist remains deadpan, lagging behind the beat as he slides in and out of pitch. Alone together, he and a cast of ostensible friends lip sync the chorus, comprised of a single mantra: "Nobody hangs out anymore in the real." Not a note of irony to be found.
In this sandy hyperreality, there's no breaking the fourth wall; there was no fourth wall to begin with. O'Connor and company maintain almost constant eye contact with us, through our screens. We may well be closest thing these kids have to social connection — only, from the other end of a wifi connection.
O'Connor begins his tour February 22 with a headlining show at Rough Trade in New York, before supporting BADBADNOTGOOD and Glass Animals. His remastered 2015 album O∆ comes out February 17 on True Panther.