Exclusive Song Premiere: ‘Human Nature,’ Caught a Ghost

Published March 10, 2014

ABOVE: TESSA THOMPSON (LEFT) AND JESSE NOLAN OF CAUGHT A GHOST. PHOTO COURTESY OF JAMIE DELANEY

Los Angeles-based trio Caught A Ghost pulls from different genres, creating a unique pastiche of ambient, psychedelic, and electronic sounds. The first album from the trio, comprised of Jesse Nolan, Tessa Thompson (also an actress, most notably in buzzy Sundance satire Dear White People), and Stephen Edelstein, debuts on April 1; but in the meantime, we’re pleased to premiere their latest song, “Human Nature.”

In the opening verse, the mellowness of the funk guitar has a lulling effect; it’s dreamy and soothing, but there’s also a hint of darkness to it. This ominous tone gradually builds until the chorus hits: “Getting money, getting love / Getting fed, getting fucked up / It’s human nature.'” Despite the somewhat cynical nature of the lyrics, the hook is infectious and light. There’s an ’80s synth rock quality to the single, but also a contemporary soulfulness reminiscent of Mayer Hawthorne.

In postmodern fashion, “Human Nature” is designed to parody a contemporary pop song. Lead vocalist, songwriter, and producer Jesse Nolan is particularly interested, he says, in “pop music as a mechanism of constantly evolving self-definition for American and global culture. It has the potential to distract us from our worries, fall in love with each other, and better understand ourselves.” This explains the singsong quality of the chorus, but knowing the intention behind the piece gives it an entirely different meaning.

“For example, is there an intersection between the rise of Miley Cyrus and the voracious consumption and normalizing of pornography in this country? Does Macklemore deserve the amount of shade he caught around Grammy time?” Nolan continues. “Discuss amongst yourselves. “

The song is catchy enough as is, but the members of Caught A Ghost have planted a new seed in our heads: “We are fond of Chinese food, and often find ourselves singing ‘Hunan chicken’ in place of the ‘human nature’ in the chorus,” Nolan says. We know what we’ll be singing next time we order takeout. 

HUMAN NATURE IS OUT APRIL 1. FOR MORE ON CAUGHT A GHOST, PLEASE VISIT THE BAND’S WEBSITE.