Blame My Ex

Blame My Ex

The breakup song is a time-honoured tradition, yet so few of them actually name names. But on Blame My Ex—the second full-length album from Toronto indie-rock quartet The Beaches—singer/bassist Jordan Miller is spilling all the tea. The album comes out swinging with “Blame Brett,” a sassy post-breakup anthem written in the fallout of her split from Glorious Sons lead singer Brett Emmons. But where that song presents a cheeky portrait of dating on the rebound, the rest of Blame My Ex explores the relationship wreckage from every possible angle, chronicling the grief-stricken nadirs, noncommittal hook-ups, and reclamations of independence that follow the dissolution of a long-term partnership. Since releasing their 2017 debut, Late Show, The Beaches have favoured the EP format, but as Miller tells Apple Music, Life After Brett demanded a full-album exploration. “Music has less of a shelf life nowadays because of TikTok, but there's just something about doing a full 10-song project,” she says. “You're able to tell more of a story, there's more of a theme to it. This record is a breakup record, and it was important for us to present it as an album, so that you have a lot of context and a lot more depth in the story.” But with hooks sharpened by Charli XCX cohort Lowell and punchy New Wave production courtesy of Metric/Arkells associate Gus van Go, Blame My Ex could be the leanest, most energized concept album ever. Here, Jordan and sister, guitarist Kylie Miller, provide a track-by-track guide to mending a broken heart. “Blame Brett” Jordan Miller: “If you listen to the song, it's not actually about our breakup. I had been on this really weird date with this other guy—I won't name his name!—and we had only been on three dates, and he told me that he loved me. And I was like, 'Oh, wow, this is fresh off of my real severe breakup—I'm really not ready for this yet.' So I wanted to write a song apologizing to all of my future partners where I'm like, 'I'm going to be a bit of an asshole for a little while, LOL, don't blame me, blame my ex-boyfriend!’ And I think it was Lowell's idea to do the 'Blame Brett' thing. It's just really good alliteration! But everyone was like, 'Yeah, that's really funny... but you should probably get his permission first,' so I of course did call him first. Obviously, I am clearly still going through a little bit of pain in this song, but it wasn't meant to be vindictive. It's a silly sort of tongue-in-cheek thing.” “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Paranoid” JM: “This album ebbs and flows. 'Blame Brett' is a little bit sillier, but this one is much more grounded and earnest. It's my expression about heartbreak. The inspiration for the song came from when I started going out to parties and social gatherings without my boyfriend for the first time. And I was like, 'Who am I without this person? I don't know what to talk about.' And so I started to develop social anxiety for the first time. I was a very confident and outgoing person, so it was very jarring for me. But the more people listen to this song, the more I understand that's just a normal reaction to happen after a breakup.” “Me & Me” JM: "When you're growing up as a woman, the worst thing in the world you can think of is to end up as somebody who's alone and doesn't have a romantic relationship. So I was inspired by this Sex and the City episode where Carrie is drinking a glass of wine by herself in a pashmina, and I'm like, 'Ah, that's just yummy to me! That's just so cozy and pleasurable.' And as I started feeling better about being by myself, I started to really enjoy going for dinner by myself, or going to see a film by myself. And that kind of gave me hope: If I don't end up having another love of my life, I can still experience joy through friendships and flings, but also through myself, by just being comfortable being alone.” “Everything Is Boring” Kylie Miller: “Jordan will be constantly talking about some history-related thing, and a lot of the time, the other girls in the band don't really connect to this stuff. And she’ll be like, 'Oh my god, you guys are so boring, you have nothing to talk about—I don't want to talk about TikTok anymore.' Jordan is definitely an old soul and has very different interests than a lot of young women her age, and so I feel like sometimes it's hard for her to relate, and I think that’s where this song came from: Jordan being out at a party and really not relating to anybody. Because she's too smart!” “My Body ft Your Lips” (with Beach Weather) JM: “I'm so glad that we ended up doing it as a duet [with Nick Santino of Beach Weather]. The person who inspired the song was also going through a breakup when we started hooking up, and so [doing a duet] makes me seem like less of a dick, because it becomes about two people finding solace in a sexual experience, rather than a person feeling like they're being used. Nick did such a good job.” “Kismet” JM: “I actually wrote this song pre-breakup, when I was pretty hungover in Nashville. I've just always loved that word 'kismet.' I'm a romantic-comedy girl at heart, so I wanted to write my own romantic-comedy song about a meet-cute. In the context of a breakup album, it can be about meeting the next person that you get really excited about. It's needed in the album because it adds a little bit of levity before you get to some of the sadder songs that are coming up.” “Shower Beer” KM: "This song is about the need to go out because you're dealing with insane FOMO, which Jordan and I both suffer from. We also wrote this song before the breakup, and actually changed the lyrics: It used to be 'Brett, can you wash my hair?' and we changed it to 'Babe, can you wash my hair?' after the breakup, so the song still really fits in with this album.” JM: “I feel like you can tell on yourself as a songwriter. The person in this song is facing the end of her relationship, and she's avoiding being at home so that she can also avoid the other problems in her life by going out a lot. It's an interesting exercise listening to songs after a pivotal moment in your life, and you're like, ‘Oh wow, I guess that's what I was feeling.'” “Edge of the Earth” JM: “This is the only song that isn't about me. I wrote it about [keyboardist] Leandra [Earl] and her now ex-girlfriend. They had a very passionate and fiery relationship. It's also really important for Leandra and I—because we're both queer—to include some queer storylines on this record. I've been out for years, and Leandra just came out two or three years ago, and it's been a real connection point between her and a lot of our fans, and they've asked us why we hadn't written about it yet.” “If a Tree Falls” JM: “When I wrote this song, I didn't expect to be so in touch with my pain going through this experience. I'm normally somebody who avoids it or laughs at it, but this song is really about the dissolution of my relationship and feeling betrayed and let down. I needed to sort of hug that pain and hold on to it—that's the only way that you can move on from feeling truly hurt. It was very important to me that this song made it on the record, because it provides context for everything else you're going to listen to. And I really wanted to make sure my vocal performance expressed that raw-nerve-ending pain, so I would stick little notes that said things like 'I still love Brett' all over the vocal studio and I’d look at them to put myself back in that situation, just to really feel it and torture myself. This song is one of the most important songs I've written in my career so far, because there's no facade. There's no tongue-in-cheek jokes. It's just an honest expression of grief.” “Cigarette” JM: “I didn't want to end the record on a sad note; I wanted to end on a hopeful moment. And 'Cigarette' is that moment to me. It's about meeting a really cool person—in this particular instance, it was this sick skateboarding chick—who excites you and makes you hopeful for the future, and just gives your heart a little pitter-patter.”

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