"Song for Zula" is the second track on (and single from) Phosphorescent’s Muchacho, a melancholic romp chronicling how Matthew Houck basically lost everything, including his mind, after returning from tour. The song describes love as this fickle, fading, disfiguring entity, something I think we all can agree on…albeit in different ways, you know, depending on our personal love stories.
The song is also featured during the end credits of The Spectacular Now, a 2013 lesson in how to make a coming-of-age movie. Seriously. Watch it. If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch it RIGHT NOW.
I have a hard time deciding if the song is actually optimistic. I think Houck is admitting that his lost love destroyed him, but when he sings about never opening up like that again, I don’t think he’s given up on the idea of love. He’s just changed:
See, honey, I am not some broken thing
I do not lay here in the dark waiting for thee
No my heart is gold. My feet are light
And I am racing out on the desert plains all night