Rick Moon's thoughtful new single "Faulty Design" is just the ticket to help you crawl out of a pit of pessimism or avert a full-blown existential crisis. On the track, the singer-songwriter helps the listener embrace a nihilistic but somehow heartening solution: to surrender to life's cyclical and ever-changing nature and enjoy the demise.
Released last month via Public Works Records, "Faulty Design" echoes the state of loneliness that so many have been dealing with during the pandemic — and perhaps even long before. It's also Moon's first release since his 2019 EP, Electric Lunch, which earned him a nod as Best Solo Musician spot in New Times' 2020 Best of Miami issue and cemented his reputation as a heavyweight performer and creator.
Director Gregory Stefano came onboard to execute the visual component for the track, bringing to life a series of vignettes referencing classic Renaissance paintings reimagined against the backdrop of modern life — in this case, the set was downtown's Club Space. The video features familiar faces like Jenna Balfe and Dennis Fuller from Donzii, Danny Kokomo from Jacuzzi Boys, and Corey Perez, proving it takes a village to put together a stellar video. In each scene, Moon embodies the identity of different archetypal groups: a pack of hedge-fund bros, a flock of mean girls, a crew of construction workers, a group of Florida retirees. Each scene slowly unfolds in the background as Moon seamlessly melts in and out, a metaphor for our own impermanence.
While the track and the music video speak to each other, it was essential to Moon that the video didn't try to interpret the song literally.
"Gregory took it in its own abstract direction," he says. "I had this moment recently, however, where I realized I really am the characters in the video, and they're all me. The point is, we're not so different."
The overarching motif of the song is life's impermanence.
"When I first wrote the chorus, it was like I was moaning to God: 'Why did you make this all so hard?'" Moon explains. "Everyone has had their faith shaken. Not that I'm religious at all, but when you analyze life, you sometimes just look up and think whoever's doing this is kind of an asshole. When I sat with [collaborator and Public Works Records head Nick County] to finish the lyrics, we spoke a lot about impermanence. The fact that nothing will stay how it is, even you won't stay the same. We are in constant motion."
Moon's ability to create music that acts as an emotional release valve for himself and his audience is coupled with his skill at tapping the perfect collaborators. This time, he ventured into a new, unexpected synthy realm, perhaps in part thanks to producer Luis Alfredo Del Valle of Buscabulla.
"I wish I had a better way of saying this, but Luis has always known what's cool," Moon says the producer's taste and attention to detail.
Moon and Del Valle were in a band together back in Puerto Rico, where they both grew up, with Moon eventually leaving for Miami while De Valle made his way to New York City. "Faulty Design" marks the pair's first musical collaboration in years.
Moon's reworked sound isn't limited to this collaboration, however.
"This synth vibe is something I've wanted to do for a while, and I have a lot of songs coming that are in that vein. It's just where I'm at right now," the singer teases.
One thing is for sure, the track holds steady the through-line of Moon's work, and that's expert song construction, with sharpened hooks, unflinching lyrics, and an easy-going melody.