5 AM, the latest single from Russ Nelson was born out of the intersection between artistic inspiration and personal experience. Nelson borrows heavily from The Hollow Men by TS Eliot, which is a poem filled with sentiments about post-World War I anxiety. The chorus for 5 AM is taken from the poem itself, describing the experience of going around the ‘prickly pear’. Our modern lives reflect the same emotions from almost a century ago as we are slowly getting consumed by apathy. The routine of decay and self destruction creates an army of Hollow Men. It’s chilling how so much time has passed and yet we are still plagued by the same trappings as before. 

Russ Nelson wrote the song by itself in his own studio, an impressive feat considering how intricately composed and layered it is. His sound evokes a 90’s alt-rock nostalgia, with layered riffs headlined by a minor-arpeggio that evokes the feeling of someone dragging their weight–The Hollow Men personified in both sound and verse. Nelson’s vocal inflection is similar to Kurt Cobain’s angsty rasp, but he can just as easily go soft during the later part of his call-and-response chorus, achieving a sweet balance. 

5 AM is deeply personal and poetic. A cerebral alt-rock piece that marries two mediums together to reflect the world we live in. Russ Nelson is an artist that’s a one-of-one and we’re excited for what’s next.

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