New Rules – Ghost Town

Since their debut release in 2019, UK/Irish trio New Rules have steadily grown into a force to be reckoned with within the music industry, and with the release of “Ghost Town,” they further prove their mettle as a band worth time and attention. The track beautifully captures what differentiates them from other comparable pop artists. Complete with contrasting vocals, addictive melodies, and haunting harmonies, the song is the perfect example of why the artists have such universal appeal while holding onto a style that is uniquely theirs.

Written in collaboration with John Ryan, known for his work with One Direction, Niall Horan, and Sabrina Carpenter, “Ghost Town” is inherently reminiscent of the chart-topping, universally beloved X-factor alum’s sound. The pop anthem perfectly blends the vocal talents of the New Rules members, giving each of them time in the spotlight as they wrestle with the feelings of abandonment that often come at the end of a relationship. The opening half of the chorus, “I’m feeling stressed out / upside down / My heart’s a ghost town / when you’re not around / I’m running out of ways to tell you that I need you now,” perfectly depicts the lack of desire to find someone new in the immediate aftermath of a breakup.

The lyrics are backed by a syncopated track that further progresses the story they tell. The beat-driven instrumental denotes the anxiety of finding yourself on your own as the result of someone else’s decision. As the synths and outro vocals bring the song to a close, listeners are left with a feeling of unease that makes it almost necessary to hit the replay button, making it no surprise that the single was chosen to premiere on BBC Radio 1’s Future Pop.

Fans who are familiar with New Rules’ recent releases “NOPE!” and “Old Days” likely aren’t surprised by the sonic direction of “Ghost Town.” While it is not a complete shift away from the songs of their first album, it does make it clear that the next collection from the band will illustrate their growth. The new songs are more mature in tone and showcase an advanced skill set expected from 4 years of experience.

The single was released with a supporting video that leans into the concept presented in the song’s title. Directed by Devon Kuziw, the visual stars the band as passengers on an “empty” tube car, their only companions a hoard of ghosts. The phantoms are costumed in thick plastic sheets, which stimulate a sense of discomfort as they grow restless over the course of the song. Choppy edits similar to those in a horror film cement this feeling as New Rules become specters themselves.

“Ghost Town” is a track that leans into the approaching holiday just enough to pique the interest of new listeners eager to get into the Halloween spirit while also appealing to longtime fans. It’s merely the latest in a series of releases from New Rules that prove they deserve a run at being the “next big thing” and have the talent to back a long and successful career.