After over a year of playing the song live, The Licks have finally released the studio version of “Nikki,” which they performed live at Jam In the Van earlier this year. Fans have been anxiously awaiting the official release of the song, and it has become one of their most popular songs as can be seen at shows.
The intro to “Nikki” consists of isolated piano and bass, leaving the listener awaiting the break of the full sound. Jimmy Patrick’s bass line lays a striking foundation for the whole song.
Lead singer Chad Zappia’s soulful vocals and a bouncy guitar riff from guitarist Paul Haston fill in the sound before the drums kick in to complete the buildup. The beat gets your toes tapping and the melody makes it impossible not to sing along. Chandler James’s harmonies compliment the main melody and add a new sense of depth to the song.
The chorus finds the singer begging Nikki to “settle down,” since her unruly behavior is taking a toll on him. The band says that the song holds many different meanings, but mostly centers on unhealthy coping mechanisms and the feeling of being trapped somewhere you don’t want to be.
James kicks off the second first with a bang, showing off his impressive vocal range and control. His lead vocal part wasn’t originally a part of the song; his vocals being added shortly before the Jam in the Van recording. His addition to the second verse differentiates the verses leading to a more energetic sound.
The peak of the song finds the singer asking Nikki: “Don’t you like me when I’m sober, or do you like it when I waste away. I never see you when you’re sober, I only see you when you go away.” This part seems to be a realization of just how unhealthy this relationship with “Nikki” has become.
The song ends with crashing cymbals from drummer Thomas Bateman and the instrumentals moving in half time, creating a sense of time slowing as the song draws to a close.
“Nikki” is the second of two singles released following the release of their debut EP How Much More from last summer. “Avery” was released earlier this year, and these singles may be teasing at a bigger release coming soon.
The band has finally made merch available online, much to the excitement of their fans. You can shop t-shirts, stickers, and more here.
Listen to “Nikki” below: