Derek Ted wastes no time diving into soft and stripped-down folk on his latest single, “Acting Right.” Taking a hiatus from the rock quartet Owl Paws (where he fronts as Derek Schultz), the independent Derek Ted has delicately crafted an EP (Wilted in Summer) that stokes those feelings of loneliness and self-deprecation. The song is brief—just missing the minute-and-a-half mark—a fleeting moment of reflection about what could have been.
The accompanying music video is a montage filmed in dark, shadowy filters. It takes place entirely at night, opening on a dimly-lit suburban street as a woman twirls, trees stretching overhead. The remaining images follow this theme, an array of silhouettes or projected branches against a blank wall. The camera angles switch between fairly straightforward shots to ones that are more asymmetrical, highlighting a woman’s boots or looking down at a somewhat eerily-lit purple bouquet (one of the only pops of color throughout). It’s a video that feels like nostalgia incarnate—a memory now filtered through a painful lens, of what was and perhaps won’t ever be again.
Derek Ted’s voice has that raw and slow tonality often associated with forlorn folk. It’s either tender and (intentionally) strained or hitting a pastoral falsetto, evocative of the most peaceful, lush landscapes. “I now recognize I have a problem,” he opens, before admitting, “I couldn't ever be the one to love you right / I couldn’t ever know I wasn’t acting right.” It’s a bittersweet blip, and just enough to get you hooked.