On “Forever,” NYC’s Refs brings the pain, infusing his infectious indie pop with contemplative piano and soaring falsetto vocals, worthy of John Legend.

The cover art for the long-anticipated new single from singer/songwriter/producer Zach Lipkins showcases either a monochromatic heart-shaped box of chocolates, some kind of shattered Play-Doh factory, or else a heart forged out of die-cast steel. However you choose to interpret the sharp, colorful visuals, it would be an apt metaphor for “Forever.” In the case of a box of chocolates, “Forever” conceals syrupy sweetness and nugget-y sentimentality beneath its shiny futuristic veneer. In the case of a shattered Play-Doh factory, one could interpret Lipkins squeezing real tunes and heartfelt songwriting out of a battalion of synths and rhythm boxes. The die-cast heart, however, might be the closest comparison to “Forever,” with Refs ruminating on the end of a relationship, wondering how he’s going to find the strength to keep on keepin’ on.



Pop music and dating aren’t that dissimilar, in a lot of ways. We’ve all been burned by getting our hopes up, only to be let down by our favorite pop stars, or else we succumb and surrender to the burn-out of too much, too fast, too often. Getting your hopes up for a new pop single is like hoping to find your soulmate on Tinder - sure, it happens, but it seems too much to hope for. And yet, every once in a while hope prevails over cynicism, and we find a true love match with a new pop single. We Are: The Guard are smitten with “Forever,” with its union of high-tech production, sharp songwriting, and good old-fashioned musicality! Considering that “Forever” made its debut on HBO’s “Girls” the other night, many more are about to make the same connection.


J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.