"We spent four months demoing this," Stevie Knipe tells Apple Music about Adult Mom's latest album. "There is so much diversity on the record, but I think it was also a product of us having a lot of time to mess around." Bouncing from 808s-backed bedroom indie ("Sober") to frenetic pop-punk ("Adam") to alt-folk flourishes ("Dancing"), Driver is a detailed adventure into the beginnings and endings of different relationships. It showcases Knipe at their most complete and confident self, as these urgent confessionals mix humor and vulnerability into Driver's coming-of-age story. "I always feel very precious about my records," explains Knipe. "But this record feels like the most precious, because it's not really part of a content machine followed by a huge tour, but instead it's just a record that listeners can let marinate and see if it sticks with them." Below, the singer-songwriter takes Apple Music behind Driver's 10 tracks.
"It's a really sad way to start a record. Originally I wrote it as just the first verse, and I wanted it to just be an in-and-out 30-second ambient kind of opening. It's a song about when you're in a relationship with somebody and you're kind of watching the love fall apart, and the partnership kind of die, without really understanding the reasons."
"This is the first song I wrote that's actually not about me. I was watching a friend have a crush, and we were on tour, and there were all these push and pulls between the two of these people, and I was so intrigued by it. And all these small interactions would happen where someone would move their leg in a weird way, and you would talk about it and you're like, 'Oh, did that mean that they liked me? What is this thing? What does this text mean?'"
"I was dealing with all this medical debt. I was hiding bills, and I was living in my parents' house. So I was definitely writing a 'note to self' type of depression hit."
"We released this track last year more or less because we just wanted to put something out and we realized that it was going to be a while until we were going to be able to actually release the record. This is [drummer] Liv [Battell] and I's favorite song on the record."
"Liv had this old demo of the song on her GarageBand. When we were making it, I was like, 'This is a pop song, and it has to be a pop song.' And now when I listen back, I'm like, 'Yeah, this is really fucking sad.' I love doing that parallel all the time. I think it's so interesting to me because I always sad-dance to songs."
"I got into this horrible car wreck, totaled my car—a semi swiped me on the highway. It was awful, and it was pouring rain. It was the worst night of my life. But I was literally listening to my favorite song, The Replacements' 'Can't Hardly Wait,' when it happened. And for months, I couldn't listen to them. And then one day I was like, 'You can do this. You can move on.'"
"It's so fun and fast. It was birthed from this conversation that we had during a Europe and UK run a couple years ago with our tour manager Adam. We were having one of those long band talks about queerness and being gay, and kind of wishing that when we were kids that we were out and talking about wishing you could have a childhood that wasn't closeted. There's definitely a lot of sadness in that sentiment, but also a lot of sweetness. I want to tell that kid that everything is chill."
"We recorded the guitar and my vocals at the same time, and that's what I wanted to do, because I wanted it to be authentic and feel alive a little bit. It has some imperfections, and I like that. I had a really spiritual magical experience playing it."
"This is also another one that I was writing from a different-ish perspective, but I was kind of melding my experience with it, too. I was just watching a friend go through a really hard time with a flaky, inconsistent partner. I was going through almost the same exact thing. I was just thinking about what it's like to have all these extremes in a relationship when things are really, really good and then they're really, really bad. I think for both of us, that same person kind of lingered in our lives for a long time because there wasn't these clear-cut endings."
"This was inspired by a different car wreck, so there were two. I swear I'm an okay driver, but whatever. I was just thinking a lot about how chronic pain and things like that can also relate to emotional pain in relationships and partnerships. This whole record was a period of post-relationship and post-dating. And so I just really sat with myself for a couple of years, completely single. The time that I wrote this song, I was like, holy shit, I'm way too good at now being alone. I'm really the only one who can shut it off and turn it on, and I definitely control my destiny in some sense."