Beatopia

beabadoobee

Beatopia

“I just wanted to branch out,” beabadoobee tells Apple Music of making her second album Beatopia. After 2020’s insular, bedroom-crafted debut Fake It Flowers—on which she unflinchingly delved into the chaos of her teenage years—the London singer-songwriter was ready to get out of her own four walls, and her head. And so, once the worst of the pandemic restrictions lifted, beabadoobee (aka Beatrice Laus) holed up in a studio in South West London with friend and producer Jacob Bugden to try a new way of making music. “I feel like this record was the first time I was really intimately collaborative with another musician,” Laus tells Apple Music. (Three of this album’s songs were also written with The 1975’s Matty Healy, alongside a collab with PinkPantheress.) “I felt so much more comfortable. Everything just made sense.” Having turned to the sounds of the ’90s artists she idolized growing up for Fake It Flowers, she was also ready to broaden her horizons. “There were no rules,” remembers Laus. “We created a really long playlist of all the songs we love, and they were all so different. I don’t want to be tied to one genre. I realized I can make anything I want.” The result is an album that reveals a lighter side to beabadoobee, and on which the clouds that lingered over Fake It Flowers seem to have cleared. These are songs about being in love, staying out late on a weeknight, remembering to take care of yourself, and, most of all, appreciating the support network of true friends. “I feel like with Fake It Flowers, I talked quite a lot about negative experiences, and it really helped me through those situations,” says Laus. “But I think Beatopia was the moment that I finally accepted my past.” As for this album’s title (which Laus says should be pronounced bay-a-topia)? That’s all about self-acceptance too, a reference to a fantasy world a seven-year-old Laus had created to escape into, and which she disregarded after a primary school teacher shamed her for it. “Bringing back the idea of Beatopia was finally accepting things inside of me that I wasn't so confident about,” she says. “I finally felt myself just becoming a better person and being more comfortable with who I am.” Read on as beabadoobee guides us through her dreamlike second album. “Beatopia Cultsong” “It was quite experimental and different. And I think it was the best way to start Beatopia. I was really appreciating the people around me, and me and Jacob had made it with [Laus’ boyfriend] Soren and [Bugden’s girlfriend] Molly, and I guess it just happened out of nowhere. And I thought that was the best way to start the album, because it's like friendships and really just accepting and appreciating everyone who's helped me throughout my life. It was a way to thread into ‘10:36,’ which is more like, ‘You’re here.’” “10:36” “I honestly just wanted to have fun with this song. The main sonic inspiration was Frou Frou, and for the breakdown, we kind of riff off [French band] The Teenagers. I've sat on that riff since before Fake It Flowers, and I just didn't know what to do with it. But afterwards we got in the studio, everything made sense. I just wanted something loud. I wanted something super catchy and repetitive and quite brutal. With Fake It Flowers, I was like, ‘Everything has to be about my life.’ This was the first time I really played with the idea that sometimes I don't have to write about my experiences. It was refreshing.” “Sunny Day” “I had always wanted to write a song like ‘Sunny Day’; I've always wanted to make something quite R&B. And the only thing that was stopping me was what people thought. It was [written] during a really productive time with me and Jacob. It was easy, and I just wanted something quite poppy and hooky and just that sticks in your head, almost like a fun lullaby to dance to. I love Nelly Furtado, I love Corinne Bailey Rae. I was like, ‘I need something like that.’” “See you Soon” “I was 100% looking towards Broken Social Scene. Sonically, this song really matches the actual lyrics of the song. And I feel like Broken Social Scene would usually sing one lyric over and over again, and it would just hit you hard, because it just makes sense with it musically. I had written it just after I took shrooms, and I had such a crazy experience that I wanted to write something that reminded me of that. It was almost like a realization of everything in my life. This is still my favorite song off Beatopia. It's almost like talking to myself, like, ‘I'll see you soon,’ because I'm tripping the hell out, almost leaving my body.” “Ripples” “Finding the balance with this song was quite challenging. The night before, Matthew [Healy, of The 1975] had shown me this video of Paul Simon writing a song on a TV show from scratch. And I realized I just wanted to make a good songwriter's song—a classic song. This is such a personal song: It’s about self-growth and reflection and depending on the friends around you to feel okay. But then I go away on tour and then I'm alone. Sometimes going away makes you come back and appreciate everything around you so much more.” “The Perfect Pair” “The lyrics were quite difficult, because it was quite specific. It’s about realizing that the thing you hate about a person is the thing that reminds you of yourself, which is why it’s called ‘The Perfect Pair.’ It was a song I’d never made before—I just really wanted to make something with a bossa-nova-like beat. It was the first time I also really explored what my voice could do, too.” “Broken Cd” “I’ve been sitting on this since I was 17. I wanted it to sound like a broken CD, saying the same thing over and over again. I feel like this song in particular really showcases me and Jacob as two individuals working together. The saving grace of the song is where it’s like, ‘Oh, you can finally breathe and be happy.’ But then you come back to the beginning of it, and even though it’s the same lyrics and same chord progression, it’s almost feels different—like a different journey.” “Talk” “This is a song I knew I could write and do well. It’s the best I am at my craft. It was the first time we all played as a band live, and it was so fun and so messy, it was great. The main riff was like ‘Maps’ by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but the four-track demo version. The whole idea for the song is it’s a Tuesday night, and it’s like, 'Fuck it.’ It’s not that deep. I wanted something really catchy in the chorus and something that was easy to understand. Again, I was like, ‘Let’s take the path of not taking everything so seriously.’” “Lovesong” “I love writing love songs. You can come up with the weirdest shit, and it would only relate to you. This is probably one of the most personal ones about my boyfriend. I always have to have a song on my record about my boyfriend, because he’s such a big part of my life. With the lyric ‘I missed the train again/I called your name as if you'd drive it back,’ I feel like it best describes you when you are falling in love. When you're in love, it consumes your mind. All you think about is that person, and it just comes out without really realizing.” “Pictures of Us” “I give all the credit to Jacob and Matthew for this. It was Matty’s song: He gave it to me and I changed the first lyrics, which were about his childhood. I wanted to write about my childhood and a girl I knew, who I actually wrote about on Fake It Flowers. It was about the crazy shit we used to do back when we were teenagers. The lyric that Matty wrote was ‘She reminded me that God started with a capital letter.’ It’s so open to interpretation. To me personally, it means someone that you truly, truly admire, but not being able to be on the same page. But you’re trying to be.” “Fairy Song” “I wanted to make a song that was almost like the Ten Commandments, but my rules. I’ve also always wanted to make something that was very Cibo Matto-inspired. There’s a lyric in it that’s ‘I know you’re sad, because someone died, but I’m not gonna sit inside and do nothing.’ Jacob wrote it after MF DOOM died, because it affected him quite deeply. This song is about not being tied down to anything that makes you feel like shit and just focusing on things that you want to do actively to get better.” “Don’t Get the Deal” “I've always wanted to make a song where it’s almost a call and response between the boy and girl. The male vocalist is Jacob, and we had written the song with Jack from Bombay Bicycle Club. He found the chords, and I felt like it just happened so naturally. It gets quite heavy at times, too, and then you have the middle eight where it almost takes you back to the kind of bossa nova section of the album. I think this song is just about the idea of manipulating someone or just not being the best person for that person, but you're just so co-dependent.” “Tinkerbell Is Overrated” “These are my favorite lyrics out of the whole record, because I talk about the crows that live on top of my room and the bugs that live in my room and just going fucking insane. I had written it in the studio, but I was thinking about the time I was isolating for COVID where I literally went crazy. But it was also one of the best times in my life, because I felt like I needed that. I wanted something very playful, and PinkPantheress really suited it—she encapsulated the melody really well. She’s a good friend of mine. I didn’t realize it at the time, but listening back to this album, it’s very friendship-related. It’s about people around me and appreciating everything. It made sense that the only collab I’d have would be with a friend.” “You’re Here That’s the Thing” “This is the last song on the album, and it’s 100% meant to be when the credits come on the screen. I wanted this whole album to feel like a movie or like a movie soundtrack, because that’s something I really, really want to do. It’s almost reminiscent to ‘You've Got a Friend in Me’ from Toy Story, like something super sweet and cheeky and cute. I co-wrote this one with Matty Healy, too. I wrote the verses, and he showed me his chorus idea. I was like, ‘What do you mean by it?’ He said, ‘You know what? I don't know, but it's really fun.’ It was like, ‘Okay, go with it. It doesn't really matter what's illegal in California. It could be anything.’”

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