Richard Swift’s The Hex – a posthumous LP from the late producer, songwriter and member of multiple prominent bands, including the Shins and the Black Keys – is out digitally on Friday, September 21st via Secretly Canadian, with a physical release following on December 7th. The label previewed the album on Thursday with “Sept20,” a melancholy ballad that marked he and his wife’s 21st wedding anniversary.
“Sept20,” the final song Swift wrote, offers a startling self-awareness, as the musician – who battled depression, anxiety and alcoholism – ruminates on isolation and “fixing” himself. “Trying not to drink from a poisoned well,” he sings over a haunting piano progression that conjures vintage Beach Boys. The anniversary also appears to factor into the chorus, as he croons, “Death do us part, sickness and health.”
Notably, the song’s final line – “And all the angels sing, ‘Que Sera Sera” – appeared in a post on Swift’s Facebook page on July 3rd, confirming his death at age 41 from effects of hepatitis in addition to kidney and liver distress. The previous month, it was revealed that the songwriter had been hospitalized due to a “life-threatening condition,” with a fund established to help pay for medical expenses.
11-track The Hex was recorded in bursts over several years and finished in the final months before Swift’s death. The multi-instrumentalist worked as a solo artist and member of several bands – including five years in the Shins, touring as a bassist for the Black Keys and playing drums in the Arcs. He also produced several prominent acts, including Foxygen, Sharon Van Etten and Damien Jurado.