Josef Salvat 'Modern Anxiety' review: 'A queer masterpiece'

The Australian singer-songwriter returns with his expertly-crafted second record.


Words: James Barr

Growing up gay is never easy. I realised I was homo in my bedroom at just 13 and I knew in that moment just how hard my life was about to get.

My parents might throw me out, I may never have children and I’ll need to be able to quote every single episode of Desperate Housewives. “We’re not negotiating my uterus”.

Luckily for Josef Salvat, he turned to music. Y’all know Josef, he’s the babe behind that stunning cover of Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’. The London-based Sydney star just dropped his second album and it’s a chilling queer masterpiece detailing his desire, pain and journey to self-acceptance.

‘modern anxiety’ opens the record. It’s an electro-trap bop with a kind of Years & Years energy, swirling with anxiety inducing late night smartphone scrolling and inner demons. “Today I don’t know who I’m tryna be”. Relatable.

Josef explores his sexuality so beautifully on this album that at times it feels so personal it’s like listening to his diary. ‘playground love’ shares the perfect simplicity of a secret third grade crush on a boy, whilst ‘No vacancies’ admits a crushing defeat against the world’s pushback on anything that feels less than ‘normal’.

Josef Salvat opens up about his second album, 'Modern Anxiety, in Attitude's Sex & Sexuality issue, out now

Josef details the agony of trying to have a relationship with someone addicted to their pain on ‘paper moons’. Overcoming our urge to fix someone, rather than working on our own mental health is a pretty hard pill for any of us to swallow but this song takes us there: "Who am I to stand in your way, if you want to lose yourself”.

In an age of COVID-19 where we’re all starting to engage with more ‘meaningful’ conversations on grindr, side eye. Josef is actually the perfect gentleman. 'In the Afternoon' is the most adorable example of a guy trying it on ever, he wants to make us dinner guys: “I'll cook you dinner and maybe you could spend the whole night, too / Just let me know”.

You don’t have to ask me twice! This song is basically so husband material that I’ve just sent Josef all of my nudes… did I kill the mood?

Rating: 4.5/5

'Modern Anxiety' is out now. Read Josef Salvat's interview in Attitude's Sex & Sexuality issue, out now.

Buy now and take advantage of our best-ever subscription offers: save 45% on the cover price in print, 13 issues for just £9.99 to download to any device.