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Bright Light Bright Light's new music is pure queer joy

Bright Light Bright Light's new music is pure queer joy

<p>Bright Light Bright Light's new music is pure queer joy</p>
Austin Ruffer

How a cat helped the Welsh dance-pop star's mental health — and return with his most joyful album yet.

Like many of us, Welsh pop star Rod Thomas, better known to fans as Bright Light Bright Light, had a hard time feeling any joy and excitement for life after Covid. The pandemic had forced him to give up two of his passions, traveling and performing, and he didn’t know if he could feel hopeful anymore.

Then he adopted a cat from a rescue shelter. At first, the cat had been in bad shape — it was found abandoned in a paint bucket — but soon, he and Thomas bonded, and his trauma began to heal.

“Watching the effect of love, compassion, and patience on a living creature and watching him bloom and trust and just be so happy over the last couple of years has really helped me to keep some kind of mental health in my life,” Thomas says. “Everything is just so fragmented and so volatile and so depressing. People just don’t care about being kind to people anymore. And watching kindness and laughter and joy change his life reminded me that before everything felt like the end of the world, that was what we were all trying to do.”

Now, with his new album Enjoy Youth— a beat-filled pop party that will have you dancing even while sitting at your desk — Thomas hopes to spread some of that joy and optimism around in a way that he hopes would make his 1980s pop heroes proud.

“What I learned from them back in the day is that simply being is an act of rebellion,” he says of artists like Andy Bell of Erasure, Jimmy Somerville, Sylvester, Pet Shop Boys, George Michael, and other queer artists from the era that inspired him and the album.

“The thing that conservatives and right-wing people want to do is to try and show people that we don’t belong in the

world. They’re afraid of people having joy because I feel like they truly don’t have any joy in their own lives,” he says. “And watching other people be happy is so terrifying to them that I think that what all of those ’80s pop stars did — just to show joy and love as an act of defiance.” “I had to make a real active effort

to reclaim a bit of my identity and remember that life can actually be really fun and really special and really full of opportunity and joy and laughter,” he adds. “So for me, really this album was a way of reminding myself that, yeah, we all went through a lot and yes, it was really bleak at times, but there’s still a lot in the world to be hopeful and thankful for.”

Enjoy Youth is out now. Check it out here:

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