Phosphorescent’s Muchacho is a graceful thing — a strikingly personal and naked sixth album from Matthew Houck, which, as he recently explained to SPIN, was influenced by ’70s Brian Eno and a general want to “ascend towards light.” But one can’t climb without first getting low, and the record’s first single is a beautiful meditation on mustering the strength to move on after a painful brush with what seemed to be true love. “Song for Zula” begins with the bittersweet line, “Some say love is a burning thing, that it makes a fiery ring / Oh, but I know love as a fading thing, just as fickle as a feather in a stream.” Meanwhile, the song’s swirl of strings and electronic heartbeat seem to enhance the heaviness of the thing.
In the just-out video for the track, which Houck co-directed with Djuna Wahlrab, a woman wearing rags and a pelt uses attempts to free herself from bondage by smashing a large rock into the chain attached to her ankle. Each time she hits the thing, a light shines from the site of impact, until her efforts begin to transform her reality. “I could kill you with my bare hands if I was free,” sings Houck, and it seems she might have the same idea.