Golden Years: Dublin’s Alt. Rocker Conor Furlong’s New Comp Takes Stock Of All Our Yesterdays

 “There’s no rule that says you can’t issue a career retrospective after only four years—especially when it isn’t just your own past you’re looking back on. With his new compilation, 2019-2023, Dublin singer-songwriter Conor Furlong recaps his achievements not only as an artist in his own right, but as a curator of our shared musical memories.

 The 22-song collection is a crash course in Furlong’s expert command of styles ranging from grunge-infused rock to spaced-out ambient pop. And its release is being heralded by a double-A-sided single that brings together two of the best examples of his ability to pay homage while honing a sound that’s uniquely his own. On one side is “Teenage Fantasies,” the first single from his 2021 album, Recurring Dream; on the other is “Alien,” the spotlight track to 2019’s Rapid Eye Movement. Both songs share a grand flair for heart-rending emotion, with Furlong’s reverberating voice floating soft syllables above arrangements dripping with lush yet unforced majesty.

 “Teenage Fantasies” is meant to evoke the spirit of 1991-1995, which Furlong calls “the last golden period of popular music.” Never let it endPut in it my veins, the song’s nostalgic refrain implores. Let me slip away/ In my fantasy. The accompanying video puts that yearning into fuller context, incorporating actual footage of American teenagers of the era hanging out and being themselves.



“I wanted to make something that felt uplifting but also long for a time that seems lost to the modern era of phones and the internet,” Furlong says. “If I did my job right, the video should make you simultaneously elated and wistful.”

“Alien” takes the wistfulness to an even greater level, pleading I can’t take it/ Say you love me do to summarize five minutes of achingly plaintive popcraft.Its own video matches that melancholy tone perfectly, with slow tracking shots taking us down empty streets covered by a light layer of snow.



A future single from 2019-2023 will be a re-release of Furlong’s fan anthem “We’re Listening to David Bowie.” He’s unabashed in his admiration for the Thin White Duke, along with other giants like The Beatles, Paul Simon and Phil Spector, and he isn’t afraid to hold his own work to their standard. Bernard Herrmann’s scores for classic Hitchcock films also fire his muse. But his influences aren’t solely musical: When he looks at the paintings of Monet, Miro, Dali, Hundertwasser and Van Gogh, he finds himself trying to come up with words and melodies to match the immortal images they left on the canvas.

 And as he’s now found out, putting together a greatest-hits record is an art in and of itself. Instead of sequencing 2019-2023 chronologically, he’s had great fun ordering its tracks to be “somewhere between a studio double album and a concert set-list,” with spacier selections like The Stars brushing up against grunge-rockers like Can I Make You Realise? for maximum drama and variety.

 “I initially designed this compilation as a showcase for my music, but now, having spent time with it, it has taken on a deeper meaning for me,” Furlong reflects. “There is something very emotional in bringing together what you think is some of your best work over a period of time and presenting it to the world.”

 To that, what else can be said but: Four more years!