Lord of the Flies & Birds & Bees

Lord of the Flies & Birds & Bees

He may have chosen a nondescript stage moniker that defies the rules of search-engine optimization, but Nicholas Durocher—aka the Apple Music Up Next star TALK—stands out in every other way. Beyond his flair for glamtastic, self-mythologizing iconography (just look at that album cover!), Durocher possesses a disarming voice that’s appealingly earthbound (bearing traces of his formative years playing country music in his hometown of Ottawa), yet capable of reaching interstellar heights. Written during the darkest days of the pandemic, TALK’s 2021 debut single, “Run Away to Mars,” captured the sound of a housebound singer-songwriter imagining a stadium full of people singing along with him, elevating a simple campfire serenade into a heaven-sent hymn. But after a belated TikTok boost propelled the track to No. 1 on Billboard’s Adult Alternative chart a year later, that scenario feels like less of a fantasy—and with his first full-length album, Lord of the Flies & Birds & Bees, TALK continues reaching for the stars and beyond. “I started making music for the same reason a lot of people do: because there was something that didn’t exist that I wanted to hear,” TALK tells Apple Music. “I love music from tons of artists and tons of different genres, and I kind of settled in between them.” Executive-produced by Britney/Gaga hookmaster Justin Tranter, Lord of the Flies & Birds & Bees belongs to a lineage of unapologetically grandiose pop music that extends through the rock pageantry of Queen, the skyscraping anthems of Journey, and the unabashed emotionalism of Coldplay. Whether TALK is scaling a mountainous power ballad like “Afraid of the Dark” or blazing down the freeway via the guitar-charged indie-pop escapism of “Wasteland,” the songs on Lord of the Flies & Birds & Bees are all headed in the same direction: over the top. But for all its epic ambitions, the album retains the essential quality that inspired millions of listeners to join TALK on his maiden voyage to Mars. “It all boils down to heart,” he explains. “As long as the songs mean something, they're gonna be impactful to others, and I think that there's a lot of music today that's missing that. But when a song really does have heart, it resonates with a lot of people.”

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