Aaron Lee Tasjan Confronts the 'Horror Of It All'

Aaron Lee Tasjan Confronts the 'Horror Of It All'

By Ivan GuzmanJan 10, 2024

The opening lines of Aaron Lee Tasjan’s new single paint a perfect picture: “Tear drops on my dinosaur t-shirt/ Just a little kid swallowing my pain like a piece of spat-out candy.” An indie rock chameleon, Tasjan has returned with a glimmering new gem of a track that adds to his vault of '80s cinema-inspired sonic showings.

“Horror of it All” touches on the universal queer experience: coming out of your shell amidst the clamoring realities of adolescence. Written from the perspective of a young queer person at school, the song depicts the wild range of emotions that come with the longstanding act of coming out: joy, confusion, humiliation.

"All humans have experiences during their formative years that color and affect both their views of the world and their own personal experiences in their adult lives,” Tasjan tells PAPER. “'Horror of it All' is a song written from the perspective of a young queer person at school who is trying to find the courage to be themselves in spite of the very real threats posed to them in doing so. For queer people, it can be such a difficult challenge to figure out who it's safe to tell in those early years of finding yourself.”

It’s still an adventure, though.

The music video, premiering today on PAPER, is an '80s visual amalgamation of Teen Wolf, slasher films, Stranger Things-esque camera filters and tried-and-true high school movie motifs. With it, the Grammy-nominated Nashville crooner cements his place as a music industry veteran who still has something new and fresh to add to his repertoire.

The single is just a teaser of what’s to come this year. Tasjan’s fifth studio album, Stellar Evolution, is set to drop on April 12. It will be a dazzling mix of slacker indie, hyper pop and new wave — all inspired by his reality of living through dark times in the South.

“The video and song speaks to all of the anxiety, heartache and joy of the experience of letting go of the fear and embracing the changes that occur when you step out of your shell,” Tasjan says. “It's a message anyone can relate to, but I hope it finds every kid who grew up like I did, not knowing if it was okay to be who they are only to find as they got older their what made them different became their greatest strength.”

Photography: Shervin Lainez