Nicholas Braun, AKA Cousin Greg, Has Delivered the Perfect 2020 Song in "Antibodies (Do You Have The)"
The pop-punk hit is equal parts timely and timeless (and also hilarious).
Nicholas Braun is not really known for his music.
He's recognized primarily for his Emmy-nominated portrayal of bumbling, fish-out-of-water "cousin Greg" on HBO's "Succession." But his transformation into a punk-pop idol in fingerless gloves for his new single "Antibodies (Do You Have The)" will soon change that.
Part public health PSA, part brooding sexual anthem, the creation of this COVID-era hit dates back to May 7th, when Braun reached out to the ether with an Instagram post addressed to "all musical people!"
Laying out the lyrics for the chorus in an emo yarl—"Do you have the antibodies, do you want to be with me? Do you have the antibodies, 'cause if you don't, you better stay away!"—Braun called on anyone with musical ability to help him with the rest, adding, "My DMs are open for all musical collabs." And he was not disappointed.
From a young girl banging wooden spoons against a soup pot on her head to a stirring acoustic guitar rendition by actress Kiernan Shipka (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), each adaptation brought new layers of depth into focus. Braun reached out to the world for help to clarify his vision, and the world responded with a resounding "Yass, cousin Greg! Get it, girl!"
And get it he did, in the form of lyrical inspiration. Just three days after his initial post, Braun followed up with two verses and "a P.O.D.-type bridge" to flesh out the song's message. Still though, despite the evident passion and lyricism of lines like "If you come within six feet, it's mask on, mask on, mask on, mask on! But if you have the antibodies, it's pants off, pants off, pants off, pants off!" the world was hardly prepared for the final product and the majesty of the music video that Braun dropped on Wednesday.
Intercut with shots of his collaborators singing along, the main drama of the video consists of Braun singing along a river bank beneath a pedestrian bridge, applying dripping gobs of hand sanitizer, cuddling a boulder, angrily kicking the water, and swaying up on the bridge with his pants around his ankles—a confused runner visible between his legs.
Braun is also pictured dancing in front of dumpsters, playing with an unplugged electric guitar, and having blood drawn for an antibody test. But things culminate on a hilltop where his love interest confirms that she does in fact have the antibodies, and she does want to be with him as they remove their masks and pull into an embrace.
What's truly incredible about "Antibodies (Do You Have The)" is the way it not only captures the particularities of this moment in an informative treatise on taking necessary precautions during a pandemic, but also embodies the timeless themes of romantic passion, fear of the unknown, and raw sexuality.
In perhaps the song's most soulful moment, Braun intones, "I've been waiting patiently, I obeyed the rules. But now I'm ready to break 'em on you—no more sending nudes."
While some may still think of Nicholas Braun as cousin Greg, with "Antibodies (Do You Have The)" he has proven himself to be much more. If he never produces another song, he will still be remembered for the musical genius he displayed in capturing the desperation of this moment in history.
Nicholas Braun - Antibodies (Do You Have The) [Music Video] www.youtube.com
While the song's medically-sound lyrics don't allow room for irresponsible behavior—even acknowledging the uncertainty about what a positive antibody test "actually means—for getting it again"—the closing shot says it all. In a show of passion, Braun and his love interest throw their masks directly at the camera, speaking to the universal desire for the world to pull through this crisis together so we can once again breathe free.
Some may think of the video and the song itself as "absurd," "intentionally silly," and "just a bit of fun that may make the apocalyptic state of the world slightly more bearable," but realheads know that "Antibodies (Do You Have The)" is the song of 2020.
After the screen fades to black, a note appears explaining that all proceeds will be donated to the charities Partners in Health and Community Outreach & Patient Empowerment. The accompanying website offers "Antibodies" merch, as well as COVID testing resources and links to the charities' donation pages.