Emily Duff is wallowing a bit in her new song "Nicotine & Waiting": leaning into her vices to deal with a period of uncertainty. Press play below to listen to the brand-new track, premiering exclusively via The Boot.

Accordion and pedal steel add melancholy to Duff's melody. "Nicotine & Waiting," she tells The Boot, makes the worry and self-doubt that lead to drinking, smoking and other self-destructive coping mechanisms the result of a fictional romantic relationship. "[It] illustrates, on a more universal level, how waiting and not being in control can push us into low places that inspire self-destructive behavior that will, someday, no doubt, 'kill me for sure.'"

Duff wrote "Nicotine & Waiting" solo. Eric "Roscoe" Ambel produced the song, and Skip Duff (Emily's husband) edited its music video.

"Since March 13, 2020, there has been a lot of waiting. In the old days, there would have been too much nicotine," says Duff, who stopped both smoking and drinking on the exact same day in 1990. "I figured they went hand in hand, so putting down one meant putting down the other — and I’m very glad I did.

"I shudder to think how these past 16 months would have gone had I been smoking and drinking while waiting. You see, waiting is hell. Not knowing is hell. Or at least, it used to be, before I grew up and understood what it means to have patience and 'lean in' to the uncomfortable feelings that fill our bodies, hearts and minds when we are left not knowing and not in control," Duff continues. "These past 16 months have been a master class exercise in 'You Are Not in Control,' and the last thing you need when you’re not in control is to amplify that anxiety."

"Nicotine & Waiting" comes from Duff's forthcoming new album, Razor Blade Smile. The project follows 2020's Born on the Ground; prior to releasing that record, Duff dropped two albums, one in 2017 and one in 2019, recorded at Muscle Shoals, Ala.'s FAME Studios.

When the Queens, N.Y., native found herself unable to tour behind Born on the Ground due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she set to work on Razor Blade Smile. She and Ambel worked at his Cowboy Technical Services, located in Brooklyn's Greenpoint neighborhood — just a subway ride away from her Greenwich Village home.

Razor Blade Smile is due out on July 23 via Mr. Mudshow Music. Visit EmilyDuffBand.com for more details.

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