Jerry Paper, “Halfway Zen”

Raz Robinson

Lucas Nathan is Jerry Paper. Or is Jerry Paper Lucas Nathan? Does it matter who’s who, can you even know? Maybe seems like the only good answer. When Lucas Nathan described the equally bare and charming Jerry paper as the “crystallized version of all of [Nathan’s] vulnerabilities,” he’s almost delegating, to the listener, that existential rigmarole. On his 2014 release Big Pop For Chameleon World (which was accompanied by a dope video game), Nathan encouraged listeners to “go into the system preferences inside of you…Don’t be afraid to change the settings.” In the video for the song “Halfway Zen” off his most recent release Carousel, Nathan affirms that sentiment by continuing to embody that unending search for self.

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The video for “Halfway Zen” spawned from an email a fan had sent Nathan, in which he asked him to play a show at a Surinamese restaurant in Aruba. After some deliberation Nathan decided to legit make the trip to Aruba. Footage from the trip was cut up and edited into the video for “Halfway Zen”.

The video just captures Nathan playing the show and moving through life in Aruba. Throughout scenes of Nathan on the beach applying suntan lotion, day drinking, or in half empty bars and bus terminals he’s almost always wearing content content expression, but one with no trace of scathing indifference to the world around him. It really is a look that very much says almost-ok. It’s only fitting that he’s dropping lines like “I am the dude / who swallows all my platitudes” or “Gotta be halfway zen / I think I can see the end.” You gotta be halfway ok before you’re all the way ok right? As a song and a video “Halfway Zen” echoes the truth that life’s how’s and why’s can be impossible to figure out and sometimes we’re just cruising through it until we’re not anymore.

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