Born Again

Born Again

The debut full-length from Hamilton, Ontario’s Linnea Siggelkow, aka Ellis, amplifies the qualities that endeared many to her self-released 2018 EP The Fuzz: namely, her talent for seeding intimate confessionals inside luminous, jangly dream pop. On Born Again, that sound has turned more lustrous as her writing has become even more brutally honest. While some of these songs were inspired by her romantic partnership with husband Brandon Williams (of the Whitby, Ontario, punkgaze outfit Chastity), Born Again is less a portrait of domestic bliss than a chronicle of the anxieties and insecurities that arise in any budding relationship, and a purging of the past traumas that fuel them. “I'm in this very transitional time right now,” Siggelkow tells Apple Music. “I just turned 30, and I'm reflecting even more on where I'm at, and all the places I've been—literally and figuratively—that have brought me to this place. So I'm opening up the space to move forward into the next chapter of my life.” Siggelkow explains how she got there with this track-by-track guide to the album. Pringle Creek “Pringle Creek runs through Whitby, and there's a trail that runs alongside it, near Brandon's childhood home. We would go for walks there when we needed to maybe have more difficult conversations. And I was thinking of how we buy flowers, knowing that they won't last and that we'll eventually throw them in the garbage. So I was wondering if everything that has a beginning also has an end. That's a question that comes up often in relationships, and Pringle Creek is a significant place where I've battled that question, and come out the other side.” Born Again “I grew up really religious, up until my late teens. It had been such a huge part of my identity that when I stepped away from it, it shook up my whole sense of self and I had to figure out where I stood without it. The term 'born again' obviously has this really evangelical connotation, but I'm trying to reclaim it in a non-religious way—I feel like I have been sort of born again, where I had to reinvent myself and go through these other really significant transformative experiences that have shaped my identity and the way I look at the world. I was sort of devastated by the loss of this old identity, but also excited at the prospect of this newfound freedom, and trying to find my way in this whole new world I had never navigated, and then ended up doing things I said I would never do and wound up feeling a bit more isolated than I had ever before. It’s about my attempts at finding my path, but it's been a winding road.” Shame and Embarrassing “I was thinking a lot about this pendulum swing in my life, going from feeling ashamed of everything to feeling ashamed of nothing, and trying to figure out the balance of that. 'Shame' is about when I felt shame about something that I shouldn't have, because it was out of my control and wasn't my fault. And 'Embarrassing' is a song where I’m calling myself out for not feeling embarrassed enough about things that I ought to, and holding myself accountable for ways that I did act wrong and not being too proud to admit that. I actually considered calling the song 'Shame II.'” March 13 “Piano is my first instrument, and I wrote this song fully on piano. And then when we went to record it, I wanted to keep it that way—this stripped-down, really raw little waltz. I don't often write in that time signature, so this song sort of exists in its own little world, but I felt like it was a nice intermission for the record. And it follows 'Embarrassing' thematically in a way—it's a reflection of a time that I embarrassed myself and put someone in an uncomfortable situation, but didn't want to face it.” Fall Apart “This is about having to share your vulnerability and your anxiety with somebody close to you, and them seeing you in those situations and wanting them there, but also not wanting them there. There are all these complexities that come with being really close to somebody while you're not feeling your healthiest.” Happy “I read this article last year about suicidal ideation and it talked about it so plainly as a thing that people experience. That was really validating—it doesn't make you a terrible person to think about those things. I've always felt guilty when my mind has wandered there, because I am so privileged in so many ways and so lucky to have the support of family and friends. But I think this is just an acknowledgment that those things can't always be rationalized and to just be gentle with yourself. The human experience is kind of messy, and we're all just trying our best.” Into the Trees “This is about feeling far away from someone when you're spending a lot of time apart, and trying to learn how to be okay on my own and deal with that sadness in healthier ways. But there have been times where I felt like I'm not enough, or I'm too much, and I don't know how to handle being apart, and I’m left wondering if I'm cut out for it. This is maybe the oldest song on the record, lyrics-wise—I revisited it when I was in a darker place. I think I'm a lot better at this now, but that feeling still creeps up sometimes.” Saturn Return “I love astrology, and I learned about the 'Saturn return' concept sort of recently, when Saturn returns to the same place in its orbit that it was the moment you were born. Its orbit is about 29 and a half years, but they say the last few years of your twenties are when you're in this period of Saturn return and it's just supposed to be this really transformative time where you’re making amends and letting go of the past and making room to move forward into the next chapter of your life. And obviously it seemed really relevant to me right now, where everything has changed for me personally and creatively.” Zhuangzi’s Dream “Zhuangzi is an ancient Chinese philosopher who wrote what’s known as the Butterfly Dream parable, a famous Daoist allegory about spiritual transformation. He had a dream that he was a butterfly, and when he woke, he wondered how he could tell if he was a man that dreamt he's a butterfly or if he's really a butterfly that's dreaming he's a man. I learned about it in high school philosophy class, and I remember being like, 'This is so stupid.' But recently, I thought about it a lot and found it really beautiful and meaningful. And it kind of snowballed into me thinking of all the ways I've grown since then and things I thought I knew for certain but came to learn I was wrong about. I've been getting better at admitting defeat and allowing opportunities to revisit things that maybe I thought were ridiculous in the past, and that's a big signifier of growing up. Also, I just love the metaphor of a butterfly—I felt like it was really symbolic of this album as a whole.”

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