Foolish Loving Spaces

Foolish Loving Spaces

For Blossoms frontman Tom Ogden, songwriting opportunities are all around us. His attention is constantly catching on words or phrases in books, films or conversation that would make intriguing song titles. On the Stockport band’s previous two albums, these collected snippets were often inspiration points for songs that expressed his own experiences and emotions. This time, though, he freed his imagination. “I pushed myself into corners which I wouldn't normally go to,” he tells Apple Music. “‘Your Girlfriend’ and ‘If You Think This Is Real Life’ are really narrative-based—trying to come up with a story from scratch and do a different take on a traditional kind of love song.” In terms of ideas, sounds and angles, Foolish Loving Spaces is the band’s richest album to date, adding knotty art-funk, gospel euphoria and brooding grooves to their luminous indie pop. “We love listening to a band like ABBA and that kind of pop music,” says Ogden. “We’ve never been really ones to go off into a 10-minute jam. There’s no room for missing a hook. You want your verse to be almost as catchy as your chorus.” In this track-by-track guide, he reveals how showering, staring out the window and politely asking his mum to leave his house fed into Foolish Loving Spaces.
If You Think This Is Real Life “I wanted to get ‘real life’ into a song. My mum had come round to my house and I was speaking to her but using this song name generator on my phone at the same time. It came up with ‘If You Think This Is Real Life’ and the melody came to my head immediately. I was like, ‘Mum, you're going to have to go home. I've got a song coming to me right now.’ The song is just a basic conversation that people would have in a relationship but turned into a bit of a story. None of it was from personal experience, you just start painting pictures. It was my imagination running away with itself.”
Your Girlfriend “Talking Heads have got a song called ‘Girlfriend Is Better’, and I was like, ‘Yeah, “girlfriend” looks strong in a song title.’ I already had the idea to write a song about someone else’s girlfriend, and I was in the shower and just got the [line] ‘Now “your girlfriend” is ringing in my ear again’—it’s a story about my head in the shower. I got out the shower, picked up my guitar and figured out the chords. Then I started Googling ‘I’m in love with a friend's girlfriend’ and this blog came up with this guy saying, ‘We rent a place and she comes round to stay.’ That just set up the whole song then. Your imagination starts running. That one really came to life when the rest of the band got on the song as well.”
The Keeper “You know how you hear songwriters talking about songs falling from the sky? I literally just sat at the piano, just played the riff, it just all came out. I remember playing it over and over again: ‘I've got to chase this a bit more. There’s something here and it sounds so different and euphoric—a bit U2, a bit like Primal Scream.’ I had the song title from a book or something. Once I started getting melodies to that piano part, I just came out with the ‘You are the keeper’ and it was like, ‘Right, what's the keeper? It's someone you’re in love with, and I’m in a great relationship with my girlfriend.’ I wanted to do an all-out love song.”
My Swimming Brain “I went to New York with my girlfriend and we were staying on the Lower East Side with the Mercury Lounge on the corner of our street. So we were like, ‘Let’s see who’s on tonight.’ It was this band Ceramic Animal. They sounded great, and I wrote ‘My Swimming Brain’ off the back of listening to this random band I’d seen. The guitar sounds they had were just a bit different. It’s a little moment where you listen to something that you would never normally listen to and it inspires you in a way that you wouldn't have got to on your own.”
Sunday Was a Friend of Mine “This was written after listening to a lot of The Strokes. Coming out of a relationship, Sundays seem extra miserable when you’re a bit heartbroken. You go out on a Saturday, forget all about it, but then you wake up on Sunday and you’re like, ‘Urgh!’ It all floods back to you. ‘Sunday Was a Friend of Mine’ is channelling into that.”
Oh No (I Think I’m in Love) “I’ve always tried to put quirky spins on the love aspect of songwriting. We’ve all been there, where you say you’re not going to fall for someone and you feel yourself falling for them and you're like, ‘Oh no! I think I’m in love.’ The little ‘Oh No’ is a bit of humour I think everyone will relate to. This is the one on the album which is most like other Blossoms songs. I think I was listening to ‘Lovefool’ by The Cardigans when I wrote it. It was actually written on the piano, but it ended up sounding nothing like that when we did a demo and tried to beef it up a bit more.”
Romance, Eh? “This was written about a friend who wasn’t sure whether they wanted to be in a relationship, and then they changed their mind and were like, ‘Yeah, let's stay together’—romance, eh? [The phrase] is quite Northern. It was from a book… I think it was one that I’d discovered Morrissey had read and I was just like, ‘I want to get some stuff from here.’ Musically, it's a bit more jangly, a bit more like ‘Blown Rose’, a song we'd done before. It’s got a bit of a Scouse feel to it, jangly guitars, it’s kind of whimsical.”
My Vacant Days “I wanted to write a song about having been on tour—you’ve had all these highs, played to all these people. You get such a rush, and then you come home, where things have changed a bit and people are getting married. You’re just looking out your window, speaking to your mum on the phone, you talk about the weather, watching everyday life. The lyrics are very to-the-point, but I like that in songwriting sometimes—it’s quite Carole King. I’ve referenced pinching little lines from books on other songs, but this song was literally just from me.”
Falling for Someone “This was the first song that I wrote in my new house once I’d got all my stuff there. I sat down on the floor with the keyboard and it just came out immediately. I had ‘Falling for Someone’ as a title and then I chipped away at the song a little bit, lived with the chords. I was walking the dog in a field near my house and just got the ‘Ooooooh-oh, falling for someone.’ U2 was a big influence on that bit; we’ve never really done a ‘Ooooooh-oh’ bit. I tried to write a big celebration of love—put your heart on your sleeve and say, ‘You make my life better.’”
Like Gravity “This actually sounded quite different on the demo; it was all like the chorus, basically. [Producer and The Coral frontman] James Skelly was like, ‘Can’t we make it moodier on the verse?’ and suggested changing the chords. It’s an insight into what the fourth album will sound like. The next bunch of songs, which were written alongside all the songs for Foolish Loving Spaces, are darker and a bit moodier. Which is crazy to talk about when you’re just releasing your third album, but if you’re in a good place and you’re writing songs, you’re just going to get on with it, aren’t you?”


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