Editors’ Notes Marika Hackman’s second album, 2017’s I’m Not Your Man, gave the English singer-songwriter a lot to reflect on. “Being so open about my sexuality and having a response from young women saying it helped them to realize who they are and come out—that isn’t something that just washes over you,” she tells Apple Music. “I hold that in my heart and it’s very much a driving force.” That momentum can be felt throughout Hackman’s third album as she explores sex between two women (“all night”), inhabiting the mind of her ex to confront a breakup (“send my love”), and masturbation (“hand solo”) with bracing candor and propulsive synths. “Coming to this record I thought, ‘All right. I’ll do it, I'll be more open.’” Let Hackman guide you through her darkly comic journey of what it means to be human, track by track.

“I wrote this song in a matter of hours, and this is the first recording ever of it. It’s just me at the kitchen table with the mic on a pair of Apple headphones, the old ones. It’s been sitting in my bank for a while; I didn’t want it on the last album because it felt too similar to my first and I wanted to pull away from that. When I wrote ‘the one’ [the following track], it felt like this would be the perfect opener to lull the listener into a false sense of security about where I’d gone with my music this time around, like, ‘Oh, it’s the old Marika that I know and love.’”

“the one”
“This is the first song I wrote specifically for this album. It really set the tone and surprised me. I deal with a lot through humor; I think it’s a good way of connecting with people. It invites them in. The track was born out of feeling frustrated: I’ve been doing this for a long time and sometimes I wish I was bigger. It was taking that as a concept and exaggerating the fuck out of it to make this big joke. I don’t like this part of myself—I don’t like being frustrated or jealous—so I wanted to push that feeling as far as I could. I turned it into something external that I can sit back and laugh at.”

“all night”
“The intention with this song was to openly explore sex between two women in a celebratory, honest way. Because that’s my experience of sex, so that’s the only way I can talk about it. The whole ‘kissing, eating, fucking, moaning’ part, that was saved in the notes on my phone for a really long time. I get a lot of ideas when I’m on buses if I’ve been on a night out. I had this idea about describing your mouth as being something just for eating and moaning. Then you flip that and the eating becomes the fucking and kissing and moaning. I like wordplay and to pretend it’s going somewhere then take you somewhere else.”

“I wanted every instrument to have a purpose in the part that it was playing, not just be a wash of color or for some atmosphere. On this track there’s funky basslines interlocking with wild drum parts and then a space where the jagged, gnarly guitar lines stick out. I’ve never written like that before, and I think that’s because my confidence in playing guitar has really jumped up in the last couple of years from touring.”

“i’m not where you are”
“One of the fans summed this up perfectly: ‘It’s the anthem for the emotionally detached that we never had before.’ That was exactly what I was aiming to do, but I hadn’t put it in those words. There’s an aloofness that people often attribute to being unavailable that’s kinda sexy and cool. And it’s not at all. It’s horrible to feel like you can’t just let go and throw yourself into something because of fear. You often hear songs about people who are so hard to get; I wanted to write it from the other perspective of someone who’s like, ‘I don’t know how to connect. I don’t feel on the same level as most people I meet.’ That’s very lonely.”

“send my love”
“This is about the end of a relationship with my ex, Amber [of The Japanese House], and it’s me inhabiting her. I was using her character as the mouthpiece for me to say how I was feeling about myself when we were breaking up. I can only share my experience by saying, ‘This must be how you feel about me right now because this is how I feel about myself.’ And then she listens to it and thinks the lyrics are really sad, because she was like, ‘That’s not how I view you or ever viewed you.’ The lyrics are pretty brutal. There’re all of those elements of nostalgia and regret—that’s what happens when things come to an end. When I listen to the song, I can feel that streak of self-loathing, self-hatred, and sadness, but it’s just a moment in time. That was how I was feeling then, and things change. We’re like best friends now.”

“hand solo”
“One lyric that will get overlooked because I don’t think many people are gonna understand the reference, but the first half of the song is looking at old wives’ tales about masturbation. One of them I read is that you get hairy hands if you masturbate too much. There’s a line in there that says, ‘Oh, monkey glove’—it’s talking about having hairy hands. It’s quite abstract but it sounds sexual as well. It sounds like something you might call your vagina. And it’s quite gross, that song. ‘Dark meat, skin pleat’—it’s all quite visceral. My favorite lyric is obviously ‘Under patriarchal law, I’m gonna die a virgin.’ That is insane, that is crazy! I feel like people don’t take my sexual experiences as real. The song is also a massive fuck-you, because it’s very funny and empowered with a bit of sass.”

“conventional ride”
“This song is about that classic thing where you feel like a straight girl might think she’s into it, but she’s fulfilling some sort of fantasy. Which is fine—that’s something that should be explored—but it’s about being open and honest about that with whoever you’re sleeping with. This is about me being like, ‘Maybe you just need a conventional ride. You’re not really into this. You started off thinking you were, but you’re pulling me along.’ The song has that feeling of momentum, being pulled along by something when it’s not quite right.”

“come undone”
“I was listening to a lot of Crumb and I thought, ‘They’ve got some funky basslines. I wanna write a funky bassline!’ That’s often how a lot of my creative process starts: ‘I wanna do that too.’ Like a petulant child! I wrote the bassline and I thought there’s not enough room for anything to go over the top of this, but I kept with it and wrote a nice drum beat that locked in with this. It’s pretty simple, letting that bassline sing with a flourish of guitar pulling your attention left and right.”

“hold on”
“This song was written on a little MIDI keyboard. I’d never written a song like that before. I went for something a bit like Massive Attack or Radiohead, and it swept off into this big beast that I didn’t really anticipate. It’s a sad song; I was going through a really severe bout of depression that I hadn’t felt intensely before. Maybe that’s why the lyrics don’t make that much sense. It’s like a big exhale. I think I might explore that style of writing a bit more—that was my first foray, and it would be exciting to see if I can do a bit more electronic.”

“any human friend”
“I knew immediately this was going to be the last song on the record because it has this optimism to it. It’s a moment to just breathe and let it wash over you. There’s a very conscious decision right at the end when the acoustic guitar comes in repeating the riff ’til it floats away to bring it back to how ‘wanderlust’ starts and lands it again back into the real world. On this album there’s quite a lot of psychedelic segues between the songs and there’s not much room to breathe; it’s quite intense. Then it spits you out and there’s this tiny little anchor at the end, pulling you back into the room.”


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