On March 22, American Football will release their third self-titled album, which will feature guest vocalists—a first for the Midwest emo band. Yesterday, they dropped “Uncomfortably Numb,” which features contributions from Paramore’s Hayley Williams.
The vocal interplay between frontman Mike Kinsella and Williams is the clear highlight of this song—she enters during the second verse, singing different lyrics beneath Kinsella’s lead vocal, and provides goosebump-inducing backing vocals for the chorus. She matches Kinsella’s anguished narrator in her verse, singing, “We were gentle to begin / Then I pushed you around to break you in / Now whenever I try to be clear with you / I only end up feeling see-through.”
Williams—as well as Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell and Land of Talk’s Elizabeth Powell—were the band’s first choices for guest vocalists. “I did a rough track of me singing Hayley’s part, which sounds like dogs dying compared to what she did with it. She killed it,” Nate Kinsella told Rolling Stone last December.
The song also dropped with an oddly calming music video that plays on Kinsella’s final lyric: “I’ll make new friends in the ambulance.” Watch it below: