Crazymad, For Me

Crazymad, For Me

Irish singer-songwriter CMAT had a very clear idea of what her second record was going to be about when she started making it, but somewhere along the line, it morphed into something else. “It’s about the breakup and the fallout of a breakup,” Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson tells Apple Music. “I was in a relationship with someone who’s much older than me, and it was about trying to look at that as objectively as possible, and give time and space to my feelings about it.” CMAT set out to write what she describes as “a record of forgiveness,” but as she put that into practice, she discovered it wasn’t the album she needed to make. “As I was making the record, I realized I’m actually just still really fucking angry about everything that happened, and I became more [so] as I went on and went through it. So it’s not really an album about forgiveness, it’s an album about the fact that shit happens, these things happen, and it doesn’t make any sense and there’s no point to it.” The end result is Crazymad, for Me, a second record that builds on the country-pop sway of her debut with lush strings, ’70s grooves, melodious hooks, uplifting harmonies (a glorious duet with John Grant on “Where Are Your Kids Tonight?” will have you shimmying your way to the dance floor), and an Americana twang. Somewhere inside these songs of anger, sadness, and contemplation, CMAT started to make sense of everything. “Nothing good comes from suffering,” she says. “But it has to happen and you just have to learn how to move on with it.” These things happen, but at least they’ve got a great soundtrack. Read on as CMAT guides us through Crazymad, for Me, track by track. “California” “Every time I started on the topic and every time I started writing about it, I had this voice in the back of my head that was like, ‘Everybody that was there is going to know that you’re exaggerating and everybody is going to think you’re so sad. Him, and all of his friends, and everyone that knows you is going to think you’re such a pathetic loser for even talking about this in the first place.’ I probably should have made this album before my first record. I’ve wanted to make this record for six or seven years, but it really took a lot of pep-talking—and this song is me going through all of that and trying to be like, ‘I need to do it anyway.’” “Phone Me” “This is about the paranoia of feeling like you’re being cheated on, but the other person isn’t admitting to it. I was making up really weird images in my head, like, ‘What lengths would I have gone to to figure out if this person’s cheating on me?’ One of them was raising a Greek goddess from the dead, Cassandra, the goddess of prophecy. Her curse was that she was always going to tell the truth and know the truth and know what was coming before it happened, but nobody was ever going to believe her. I also make reference to the Rebekah Vardy incident, where Coleen Rooney had to remove everyone off her [Instagram] stories except for Rebekah Vardy, and plant fake stories to figure out if she was the person leaking her stories. I liked taking those two things and matching them together. In my head, there is a conference of girls all standing around trying to figure out the truth about something, and it’s me, Coleen Rooney, and Cassandra, the Greek goddess of prophecy.” “Vincent Kompany” “This is about the fact that I tend to have a relationship with myself and my own mental illnesses, where time is a very important thing. I like to tell stories about terrible, scary, maybe worrying things that I did when I was very mentally ill, but only if they happened three years ago, so that I can be, ‘I was crazy back then, but I’d never do that now.’ As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I’m always doing something insane, and it’s only time and foresight and whatever else that makes me realize that I was always the crazy person. There’s a line in it where I say, ‘Cut all my hair off trying to look like Vincent Kompany.’ I wrote this song with my friend Declan McKenna and we spent maybe two hours going through a list of bald celebrities that I could use in the simile. Eventually, he was like, ‘[Burnley FC manager] Vincent Kompany!’ I was like, ‘Oh, if he’s a dodgy bastard, I don’t really want to put him in a song,’ so I had to research him very thoroughly. Turns out, lovely man. Family guy.” “Such a Miranda” “When I first really started a relationship with this person, I was 18 and I’d moved to Denmark. I moved back to Ireland to be in a relationship with him and I also stopped watching Sex and the City; I stopped doing all of these things that were for me and that I was supposed to be doing for me. I look back on that time with a lot of regret. It’s not a very profound [or] logical song, or anything, it’s just literally me talking about how much I regret doing that.” “Rent” “This song is kind of the second part to ‘Such a Miranda’ in the sense that it fast-forwards into the middle of the relationship and is me telling the story of being in it. It’s probably the saddest song I’ve ever written. It’s about being in a relationship with someone and realizing you’ve dedicated your whole life to someone who doesn’t even know you, and you don’t even know them, and how isolating and awful that feeling is, and how chaotic it is as well; how your life looks a bit different every day because you don’t know who you’re getting.” “Where Are Your Kids Tonight?” (feat. John Grant) “This is a song about realizing that I’ve turned into my mother. For me, there are three scenes on the record. The first sequence of songs is a bit angry, the second sequence of songs [where this one sits] is very reflective and ‘Maybe I’ve done something wrong,’ and then the third sequence is trying to make peace and move on. ‘Where Are Your Kids Tonight?’ is a song about the passing of time and how quickly it’s gone, because I feel like people often get to their mid to late twenties and they’re like, ‘Fuck, I was 12 two weeks ago. What the fuck happened?!’” “Can’t Make up My Mind” “I wanted to really capture that fuzzy-headedness of indecisiveness and lack of commitment, because I’m definitely a commitment-phobe in life. I don’t know how people buy houses, I don’t know how people get married. That concept to me is very confusing. I don’t even know how people decide where they’re going to live for the rest of their life. I have specifically chosen a path where I move around all the time, and that suits me perfectly well, because I need to be constantly stimulated, like a toddler with an iPad. I need to be constantly scrolling or something. And I can’t make up my mind.” “Whatever’s Inconvenient” “This one is about being bad at romance and human relationships. I’m definitely a bit of a Madame Bovary about things. I always think something could be a bit better and a bit more romantic and a bit more crazy and a bit more wild, and that will fuck me up and put me into terrible, terrible positions. I’m definitely guilty of going for the craziest or the most rebellious, wild option, even into my adulthood, and it just runs a train through your life. You have to just not be a narcissist, and take people for what they are and enjoy them and commit to them and see the best in them—instead of always picking the worst option possible to live on the edge.” “I…Hate Who I Am When I’m Horny” “I wanted to put this feeling into a song because I had never heard anyone else ever talk about it in a poetic sense. I have so many friends that have been very hurt and confused by their own feelings towards someone they love. They’ll love this person and be so committed to this person, but after a while, the sexual attraction completely leaves them and they find anything new attractive. Quite a lot of my friends who are gay men suffered a lot in their early to mid twenties or thirties with this exact same feeling, where they’ve found someone and they love them, but they just want to have sex with anyone else. I think there’s a lot of shame associated with this feeling, and there’s a lot of shame associated with sex in general. But if I was to add a positive note, I would say there are other solutions to the problem rather than hating yourself. As a very famous drag queen, Trixie Mattel, once said, ‘If having sex with someone who isn’t my husband is illegal, then lock me up and throw away the key.’” “Torn Apart” “This is going back to the Cassandra prophecy thing, but it’s the other end of the prophecy here, where shit has hit the fan and everything has gone wrong, and you’re at the end of the relationship and there’s always a feeling of, ‘Well, I knew it was always going to happen, so why did I even bother?’ It’s about running through the past and looking for signs that it was always going to end. But if you look for that in anything, you’ll find it.” “Stay for Something” “‘Stay for Something’ is also about running back through the minutiae of a relationship that you’ve exited and looking to make sense out of it. I think this is also a very important song in the record for me because it really sums up that super-chaotic feeling of something terrible has happened, so I have to find reasoning for it, and I have to make sense out of it and it has to be a chapter that factors into the story of my life overall. I can’t have suffered for nothing, I can’t have stayed for nothing, I can’t have just stayed in this terrible relationship and not benefited from it in some way, but the truth is that I did and I think, in general, people do. There’s no reason for suffering, there’s no point to it, and these things don’t really make sense.” “Have Fun!” “I think the minute that it was written, I remember thinking it sounds like the last song on an album. It sounds like the exit song from a sitcom or something, it’s quite a jovial, jaunty number. I liked the idea of ending on something uplifting when I knew so much of the record was going to be so dramatic. Thematically, it makes sense as well because it’s the closest thing to a forgiveness song on the record. It’s not even really about forgiving and forgetting, but it’s more just about being like, ‘Well, that happened and now it’s not happening anymore, so I’m going to go have some fun,’ because that was what was missing for the last five years or whatever it was. I think it’s nice to end on a hopeful note.”

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