An immediate standout on Americana trio Near North’s full-length debut Most Every Night is the holler-along brawler “Good About You.” The song channels the best of classic rock, bringing to mind bands like Thin Lizzy. But the artist that actually inspired the song couldn’t be more different: Adult-Contemporary pop singer Anna Nalick.
The song’s story begins a decade ago in frontman John Nicholls’ music class. His teacher assigned the students the task of writing a new song based on a current pop hit’s chord structure. Nicholls selected Nalick’s “Breathe (2 AM),” on constant radio rotation at the time. “I banged out a verse, pre chorus and chorus, just enough to satisfy the assignment and never thought about it [again],” Nicholls says.
Some time later, Nicholls found himself playing a show with more set time than he had material. He strummed through his half-written pop riff onstage, improvising the rest of the lyrics. His girlfriend encouraged him to flesh it out into a real song, which he did by channeling his anger at the recent re-election of George W. Bush. Like we’ve seen with several post-Trump songs, though, he tried to use the opportunity to find some light in the darkness. “[I felt] that perhaps righteous outrage could only take me so far before it would be necessary to take a step back, find deep gratitude and use that as inspiration to move forward with more purpose,” he says.
Listen to “Good About You” below, then go here to play Anna Nalick’s “Breathe (2 AM)” and see if you can spot the similarities.
Other album highlights include the Walking Dead-inspired “Dead Inside (Really Alive)” and the seasonally appropriate “Wish for Winter.” “I like the cold,” Nicholls says. “I was purposely trying to be obtuse enough with the lyrics that people might mistake it for metaphor but this is just my stream of consciousness while sweating one day.” Stream the full album below, then buy it at Bandcamp.