Deep, Dirty Love: Safer’s New Single “Stuck On You”
Cupid takes a new form this year! Brooklyn band Safer’s new single is an unshakeable love song that you can literally mail to your crush, lover, or significant other. Cell Vision correspondent Sarah Gooding spoke to band leader Mattie Safer about pandemic love, glam rock, and his new postcard record.
Photos by Kevin Condon
Video by Pat Raymond and Matt Brown for NYC Live
We may be stuck inside our apartments right now, but it doesn’t mean the pining stops; it only grows stronger. You know what they say: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Mattie Safer knows this. His new single with his band Safer, called “Stuck On You,” chronicles the overwhelming desire that swells up inside you when you’re infatuated with someone. He calls it a “deep, dirty love that you know might be kind of wrong but you just can’t shake.”
Glam-rock guitar chords and a pitter-patter drum beat that mirrors the rapidly beating heart of someone nervously approaching their crush (or composing a flirty text), set the tone for Safer’s singing, which is almost menacing in its affection. “Don’t think that you can just walk away from me / now that you’ve got my love / cuz I’m stuck on you.” It’s a nod to the slightly sinister vibe of all the best love songs that teeter on the brink of too much. Because what is love without a little danger?
The song is being released as both a digital single and a limited-edition playable postcard record, designed to be bought and mailed to a friend, crush, lover, significant other—whoever you’re really stuck on. A headless rose graces the cover art, depicting the thorniness of horny love. Handle with care—or don’t.
In the spirit of oversharing, we asked Safer some slightly invasive questions to glean an insight into this left-field lovers’ anthem and find out just how far this total romantic would go for love.
CELL VISION: Without giving too much away, what can you tell us about how and when “Stuck On You” came together?
MATTIE SAFER: I wanted to write a song that had that fun kind of glam swagger to it—just something kind of earnest and heart-on-the-sleeve, but that also feels like sex and fun. I think this is a line I walk (and cross) a lot in my own personal life, so ultimately, the song feels like an expression of self.
"I've always thought the phrase 'I’d eat chips out of her knickers' was a wonderfully expressive and gross way to describe that feeling of obsession. When I crush on someone I crush hard, so I probably do all kinds of weird things."
CELL VISION: You’ve said that the song is about being so hung up on someone that you’d drink their bathwater just to get next to them. What’s the weirdest or grossest thing you’ve ever done for love?
MATTIE SAFER: I've always thought the phrase “I’d eat chips out of her knickers” was a wonderfully expressive and gross way to describe that feeling of obsession. When I crush on someone I crush hard, so I probably do all kinds of weird things. I’m probably most guilty of thinking that someone’s relatively pedestrian—or even somewhat poor—qualities are proof that they are a fallen angel walking amongst mortals. Love songs are a funny thing, they walk a thin line between sweetness and stalker energy. This song, in as much as it is about devotion, is also meant to highlight that the obsessive nature of a crush is also kind of abnormal, and makes us behave in strange ways we never would otherwise.
CELL VISION: There’s a line from the song: “Cuz I’m stuck on you / like gum on a shoe / like a drunk tattoo.” Do you have any drunk tattoos? Regrettable or not!
MATTIE SAFER: I am free of all tattoos and piercings, but I’ve been feeling like there finally might be one coming in my future.
CELL VISION: “Stuck On You” is being released as a playable postcard record. How did the idea for that format come about?
MATTIE SAFER: We were just looking in the manufacturer’s catalog, saw that it was possible, and thought, “Who doesn't love getting something in the mail?”
"These postcard records are like a nice thoughtful love note, but I like that it adds music, which I think is just so much more emotionally expressive than words on paper alone. Hopefully, this will help some people bridge the gap and connect. I’d love to meet a couple in five years that said, 'We’re married now, it all started with your record.'"
CELL VISION: It feels like the perfect time to be releasing a song this way, because not only is it nearly Valentine’s Day, but a lot of people have been separated from their loved ones and forced into these long-distance, pen-pal relationships due to Covid-19. Was the format for this release inspired by the lengths people are going to for love right now?
MATTIE SAFER: We were definitely thinking about how hard it is to connect with people, physically, at this stage of the pandemic. Life is on hold in so many ways. Dreams are being deferred on the daily. Even going out to buy someone a present is a difficult thing. These postcard records are like a nice thoughtful love note, but I like that it adds music, which I think is just so much more emotionally expressive than words on paper alone. Hopefully, this will help some people bridge the gap and connect. I’d love to meet a couple in five years that said, “We’re married now, it all started with your record.”
CELL VISION: In a way this record is like a public service, encouraging people to be more creative with their Valentines! Do you want to inspire people to be more unconventional when it comes to wooing their crushes or showing love for their partners or friends?
MATTIE SAFER: Definitely. Flowers and chocolates are like saying, “I don’t know anything about you at all or care to get to know you, but I know I’m supposed to do something.” The thing that makes a person happiest when receiving a gift is the feeling that someone actually took the time to think about who they are and what their interests are. We all just want to be seen. Maybe this can help.
CELL VISION: Have you prepared any cute romantic rhymes or favorite poems to write on the postcards, if anyone requests help with what to say to their boos in the handwritten note?
MATTIE SAFER: If somebody requests help I’ll have to reach out for more information about who they are sending it to and why. Again, everybody wants to feel special, so it’s gotta be personal.
CELL VISION: What’s the best, most creative, or most memorable valentine you’ve ever sent or received?
MATTIE SAFER: I think to write a song for someone and never release or record it is about as personal as a gift can be.
CELL VISION: “Stuck On You” brings the element of glam rock that’s present in other Safer songs—namely, “Countercultural Savior”—to the forefront. But instead of big hair, you have big feelings! The glam sound illustrates the grandeur of falling head over heels for someone—the intoxication of desire. Was this simply a style you felt compelled to go with for this song, or does your attraction to glam go deeper than that? And if so, what is it about glam that really resonates with you?
MATTIE SAFER: I am a wild romantic and very bombastic in my feelings. The glam sound really captures that shouting, churning, dancing-in-the-streets kind of energy that resonates with my feelings around love. There are certainly bigger fans of glam out there than me, but when I’m feeling optimistic about life and love that’s the sound that best expresses that combination of romance and sexuality.
"Increasingly in my life, I’ve learned to stop asking and to just be like, 'This is it, this is me, take it or leave it, but I’ll be fine either way.'"
CELL VISION: The super cool, glam-rock swagger of the song also makes me think of the swagger that we try to have when we’re around someone we like and we want to be perceived as “cool.” It reminds me of what you said about starting this project in the first place—deciding to “stop worrying about being cool” and just be yourself. Do you feel you still grapple with the pressure to look or act a certain way? Or have you managed to break free of that and leave it behind?
MATTIE SAFER: I’ve been thinking about this lately. I used to always ask people what they think of what I’m doing, and then they tell me that they wish my music was a little more X or a little less Y... You can go crazy and really lose your confidence chasing that around. Increasingly in my life, I’ve learned to stop asking and to just be like, “This is it, this is me, take it or leave it, but I’ll be fine either way.”
CELL VISION: In addition to the postcard record release, you’re also sharing a special playlist you’ve put together for Cell Vision. Would you say these are your favorite love songs or are they more capturing a specific mood or moment of lust or desire?
MATTIE SAFER: Last year I made a playlist for Cell called DESIRE that was also intended for a woman I was involved with. She told me she liked the feeling of being desired, so I put together a set of songs that I felt best expressed my desire for her specifically. That relationship went the way of the dodo, but I took that playlist and added a bunch of new songs; the new playlist is called LUST. I think that is a great energy to be able to connect to right now—that yearning, I’d-drop-everything-I’m-doing-to-lick-your-toes kind of excitement is something we could all use in our lives, at least every once in a while.
CELL VISION: Do you have an all-time favorite love song?
MATTIE SAFER: I think “Midnight Sun” as recorded by Nancy Wilson is just perfect.
CELL VISION: What do you plan to do next, after you make everyone fall in love with Safer with this release?
MATTIE SAFER: We are planning to release a follow-up single later this spring, and will keep writing and recording until it’s safe for us to all get-together and have a big party.
Safer's "Stuck On You" is out now and available for purchase via the band website, or to listen to on all streaming platforms.