Patrick Droney’s New Album ‘Subtitles For Feelings’ Is Out Now
Patrick Droney’s sophomore album Subtitles for Feelings is out now. An original emotion picture from a child of the dedication line and VHS era, Droney survives on sentimentality. It hits him every time he hears Delilah on late-night radio or passes by the Blockbuster sign next to the bodega on his corner. Through Droney’s lens, the terms “album” and “movie” are simply interchangeable.
The 30-year-old Brooklyn-based artist/producer/guitar sensation proudly presents this new soundtrack as a deepening of his timeless and cinematic pop sound, led by two singles released thus far. The electric “Go Getter” sets the tone for the project with its enigmatic lyric, “More than anything, I wanna know / What’s time and where does it go?” while the 80s-tinged pulse of Caroline resurrects Eddie and the Cruisers right into 2023.
With streams in the hundreds of millions, Droney has shared stages with the likes of The Eagles and Sheryl Crow and has a list of collaborations running the genre spectrum from Kygo (Droney penned and featured on Say You Will from 2020’s Golden Hour) to Billy F. Gibbons, with whom he went riff-to-riff reimagining the ZZ Top classic Rough Boy for the deluxe edition of his debut.
Rewind to May 2021, when the East Coast native released his debut full-length album, State of the Heart. The long-awaited project was Droney’s own coming of age movie, offering striking snapshots of the human condition in songs like Glitter, The Wire and the title track, whose accompanying music video featured him co-starring alongside actress Lucy Hale.
Since then, Droney has toured extensively, headlining sold-out shows across the country (including stops at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom and Irving Plaza just a few months apart). He made his U.K. debut with the Eagles at British Summer Time in London’s Hyde Park, followed by a sold-out headline appearance and a feature at the O2 Arena London with his friends The Vamps.
He also performed at this year’s Super Bowl and can claim alumni status at Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Kelly Clarkson Show, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. But while every “sold-out” marquee and TV performance further proved his songs’ impact, the road ultimately offered a chance for Droney to connect with his fans.
“Live performance helps me set the scene,” Droney says. “I can see the aura of feeling in the room.” As he delivers this new collection of songs, he hopes that spirit of togetherness is regarded by his fans: “I want people to listen with me, watch with me, and apply these songs to their own films.”
Amidst the highlight reel of his last few years, Droney has simultaneously embarked on a deeply personal journey with time. “I’m trying to catch up because it’s outrunning me,” he explains. “This record is my way of slowing it down.”
At its core, Subtitles for Feelings represents the idea that each frame of life holds a deeper context—a subtitle meant to be translated in time. Droney’s correspondence with his own timeline is most poignantly demonstrated on My Grandfather’s Home, a mantlepiece lyric that follows Droney and his brother as they walk together through a place they can only return to in memories.
The landmark in his hometown of Lancaster, PA, is just one of the dots on the map that inspired the album. Chapters of the record were written during an extended stint in London and on a trip to the Scottish Highlands, where he penned several songs with fellow Irishman Foy Vance (Droney’s mother emigrated from Belfast during the Troubles). The remainder of the project was completed in Nashville, where Droney honed his production style, which he describes as “hifi colored with bedroom record nostalgia,” alongside collaborators Jon Green, Butch Walker, and Ben West.
It’s impossible, of course, to discuss Subtitles for Feelings—or Droney himself, for that matter—without highlighting the seasoned guitar playing threaded through every track. A bona fide prodigy by any standard, Droney was honored with the Robert Johnson Blues Foundation’s New Generation Award at age 12, and soon found himself playing next to heroes like B.B. King and James Brown. Yet as the years between those early accolades and his present-day pursuits span farther, his relationship with the instrument has evolved to reveal its true, evergreen purpose within his music.
“The guitar has always been a vehicle to emote, my longest-standing mic, the true voice,” explains Droney, who describes its steady presence on Subtitles as a constant collaboration with his younger self. “The process of meeting this album and connecting to my own movie has made me look at that kid and say, ‘Thanks, I need you to be where you are, swinging and boxing above your weight class’—this story has made the labor worth it.”
Where State of the Heart saw Droney in search of the most refined and complete interpretations of its songs’ subject matter, Subtitles for Feelings finds his zoom lens in constant flux. He counterbalances sweeping montages (Shotgun Rider, Memories, Wild Horses Running) with real-time close-ups that capture the intimacy of a moment and its immediate aftermath (2AM, We Got Old This Year). This reverence for the here and now runs so deep that many of the vocal performances on the finished record are demo takes left mostly untouched in the name of preserving the original intention.
Droney, who has been producing for more than half his life, applied a similar “first feeling” approach to the album’s overall palette, often venturing far into the sonic translation process on his own before involving his collaborators. The resulting songs not only complement the album’s cinematic concept, but also nod to his longtime affinity for matching sound and picture.
As he continues to add frames to his film, Droney aims to say more with less, always chasing the true context of the moment and the purest distillation of the feeling itself, no matter where memory lane takes him.
“Art is the train,” he says. “When you step off the platform you are transported. Maybe there isn’t a destination—it’s a game of chance, and the price of admission is not knowing where you’re going to end up, but being curious enough to say, ‘I want to find out.’”