Today, Eighty Ninety — the musical project of brothers Abner (vocals, production) and Harper (guitar, production) James — are releasing their new track, “Happier.” The single, which premiered exclusively on Variance Magazine, is the first of a set of songs recorded with Grammy-nominated producer Gian Stone (Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa) earlier this year.
Grappling with the themes of loneliness and loss, as well as love and hope, “Happier” felt like an obvious next single choice for Eighty Ninety: “There are so many people we love and miss that we can’t be with, and a lot of late night calls to try and bridge that distance.” Remaining true to the duo’s signature breezy indie-pop sound, “Happier” is guided by Harper’s gentle melodious guitar, laying a beautiful foundation for Abner’s ethereal vocals and harmonies. “We all want the best for the people we love. Sometimes, that means letting each other go. ‘Happier’ is about wanting to hold on for just a little bit longer.”
Eighty Ninety first broke out with their hit 2016 single, “Three Thirty,” which climbed to #2 on Spotify’s Global Viral Charts and was closely followed by their debut EP Elizabeth. Since then, the duo’s music has garnered over 25 million streams and was hand-picked by Taylor Swift for her official Spotify playlist “Songs Taylor Loves.”
The Brooklyn-based duo’s songs fuse intimate storytelling, sticky melodies, and minimalist pop productions built on acoustic instruments and electronic sounds in a style they call “808s and telecasters” — a shorthand for both their music and their anything-goes mentality in the studio. “We let the emotional arc of the song, rather than any set of genre conventions, lead us to instruments and sounds,” the brothers say of their process.