The tone of South Central artist Barney Bones’ latest single “Lifeline” is apparent seconds after pressing play. There’s a mood building, an internal tension on the verge of release. As we learn the context through Bones’ lyrics, a scene inevitably develops in our head. Accompanied by a video, “Lifeline” proves to be a cohesive release across all mediums, every component aligned and in sync with one another. Bones co-directed the visual with Inés Marhaba, filming in Paris. An animated performance from Bones in the video parallels his passionate delivery vocally, both betraying his underlying tranquil demeanor. “At the edge of the dark, you’re my lifeline,” he raps to conclude the chorus, melodically maneuvering the serene instrumental. As the drama at the center of the track unravels, it’s hard to imagine an adequate resolution. Instead, Bones offers one himself, and somberly at that: “At that moment, you realize nothing is real. Everything and everyone turned out to be empty. You sort of run from the idea for a while, afraid to realize the emptiness lives inside you, too. The only way out is, well, escapism,” he concludes, obviously weighed down by this discovery. Bones explains the song’s sentiment even further in a press release, stating “Lifeline” is “a song about my fear of abandonment and how it relates to the toxic cycle of nightlife.” This fear lives in the echoes of the track and the shadows of the music video, omnipresent but only visible when paid attention to.
Living in the shadows is an environment Bones knows all too well, having spent years collaborating with artists mostly behind the scenes. In 2018 he formed a relationship with 88rising, serving as Rich Brian’s DJ on tour while writing for fellow label-mate AUGUST 08. Bones furthered his reputation through his work with Gus Dapperton, Giveon, Channel Tres, and Terrace Martin, the latter of which earned Bones a Grammy nomination for Martin’s LP Drones.
Today, however, the shadows have evaporated and Bones is ready to step into the spotlight. His other single of 2023, “Praise”, emphasized dance rhythms and tempos that, alongside “Lifeline,” proves Bones’ versatility. With an EP projected for release this year, Barney Bones has quickly become a name to know moving forward.