Editors’ Notes With “Prom Queen”—the homespun breakthrough from her 2018 EP of the same name—Beach Bunny’s Lili Trifilio became a sort of Liz Phair for the TikTok generation, inspiring a wealth of fan-made videos that speak to the sheer relatability and emotional charge in every line, no matter how ordinary. (“Shut up, count your calories/I never looked good in mom jeans,” she sings, amid a grid of power chords. “Wish I was like you/Blue-eyed blondie, perfect body.”) On Honeymoon, her Chicago outfit’s first full-length, she sounds like a songwriter quickly coming into her own, even as her best songs capture what it is to feel forever inadequate. Trifilio has a natural way with melody, and everything here sparkles—from quiet-LOUD slow-burns (“Rearview”) to jangly love letters (“Dream Boy”) and well-disguised anthems (“Ms. California”). On the late highlight “Racetrack,” she sits alone at a Wurlitzer piano and offers quiet, definitive heartbreak: “Even the moon can’t maintain the same face/I always wind up in second place.” Here, she tells us the story behind every song on the album.
Promises “That song is interesting. It was supposed to be on this EP called Crybaby, which I released even before I had a band. I was going through a breakup at the time, so I couldn't play it live because it was super personal and it would just make me upset singing it. I had it in the back of my head and I was like, ‘I’m going to rework this later on,’ and I'm happy we waited—I think the song feels more complete. The lyrics are the most honest out of all the songs on the record, and it's definitely about a specific person at a specific time in my life—my first love, kind of breakup situation. When it was initially written, it was more slow-paced and I think what I'm trying to say in the song is a little more aggressive. Now, it's really fun to play live.”
Cuffing Season “[Cuffing] is getting into a relationship during the colder months of the year, like holiday season through Valentine's Day. And then in the summer you're like, ‘Oh, I want to be free.’ This song is about really experiencing doubt, when the rose-colored glasses kind of come off and you start seeing problems and you're not sure. It’s kind of similar to ‘Promises’ in the sense that it's like juggling two feelings and kind of feeling them at the same time. Pretty much all these songs are about the same boyfriend. It was like a breakup and then get back together and then a breakup again. I tried to organize the album in a way that kind of had sort of a really upsetting beginning.”
April “‘April’ was a super weird song, because originally, the first two verses I was trying to write like a sad Christmas song. The lyrics originally were like, ‘Christmastime, snow is falling/I wish you're under the tree with me.’ Some dumb s**t. But I really liked the melody, so I kept it like in my back pocket. And then I was feeling pretty blue one day and I was like, ‘All right, let's just mess around on guitar with the same melody but change all the lyrics.’ There's no way I could have predicted this, but I wrote it probably like a year prior, but I did end up going through the breakup with this person last April. So it was kind of like while we were recording in my head I was like, ‘Great, this really relates to my life now. Didn't mean for it to.’ But I do think that ‘April’ has kind of a friendly connotation, the blooming in springtime and then October, especially in Chicago, is basically winter—and winter here is not the greatest.”
Rearview “I feel like it's less about the other person and more about an internal dialogue I was having with myself at the time, where I just didn't feel good enough or didn't feel worthy of love and was kind of beating myself up for it. And kind of needed some way to vent it. I think going through a breakup, my ego was not in the best place, and my self-esteem more so. Pretty much all the songs in our entire discography are me trying to process something and kind of using music as a healthy outlet. It’s great because usually after a song’s done I do feel better. But I also feel kind of less attached to a certain emotion—it really does help me let go of something. It's a little uncomfortable sometimes when people hear words you're writing about them, but it is what it is.”
Ms. California “I’ve always loved California—I honestly would love to move there one day. I wanted to use that perspective of California as this haven of greatness, as a metaphor for someone that's super, super appealing. The song’s about jealousy. So, getting upset that someone else who seemingly is better than you is a threat to your relationship. Like, ‘I’m just a Midwest girl. She's the California girl. Wish I was her.’ I guess I kind of romanticize California in my head a lot just because I don't live there. And it's warmer and there's cooler people there.”
Colorblind “My friend from college made this chill beats track and was like, ‘Hey, do you want to sing over this just for fun?’ Though we never put it out or did anything with it, I had those lyrics at the back of my head because they were kind of applicable to where I was at at that time. In a way, I think it's a little bit more of like a confidence check, where it's like, ‘Look, you're saying sorry, but I'm setting boundaries for myself. We're just not on good terms, and you need to accept that.’”
Racetrack “One of the most evil ones, for sure. This song was written in a very sad period of my life, kind of the breaking point of everything. And I guess the lyric's not really directly inspired, but the only thing that was kind of keeping me sane during that period—when I wasn't really sure if we were going to break up or not—was I would just go on really, really long jogs. And there are different phases of the moon. And no matter what, it's going to have to eventually alter to the next phase over the duration of a month. So that was a metaphor for, like, ‘I can only kind of keep pretending I'm okay for so long. Eventually, I'm going to crack.’”
Dream Boy “‘Dream Boy’ is a nice one, because it's sort of seeing the more positive aspects of things. Like, ‘All right, we have this s**tty path and things aren't always good, but let's just move past that.’ But it's also demanding a little bit of a respect, and not being walked over. In a sense I feel like I wrote it during a period where that's kind of what I wanted to happen—it's almost like I was trying to manifest that. But looking back on it, it's kind of cool ’cause it's sort of like segues into new experiences with new people, too. I think the whole ‘Let's meet after midnight’ thing, I was just sort of borrowing from media and movies and just kind of like all those romcoms where you see someone holding a radio up by the window or throwing a rock at the window. And then she sees him and he serenades her or something like that.”
Cloud 9 “I think ‘Cloud 9’ is unlike pretty much any other Beach Bunny song where they're sort of like a constant pattern of ‘I love you, but…’ This one is just straight-up a nice love song. Or maybe not even love song, but a crush song. Having feelings for someone and it's just kind of unapologetic and not overly analytical. Like, ‘This is how I feel when things are good.’ And I like that it ends on a positive note. I don't want people to leave the album crying. I mean, I guess you could listen to it from the bottom to the top and then it could get pretty bad. This just kind of feels like closing a chapter in my life, having this album. And it's going to be exciting to move on to different topics and hopefully more positive topics.”
9 Songs, 25 Minutes
February 14, 2020
℗ 2019 Mom+Pop
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