Editors’ Notes Eli Rose's debut solo album is actually a rebirth of sorts for the Montreal singer-songwriter, born Elise Larouche. She spent a decade as half of the folk-pop duo Eli et Papillon, but when that partnership (which was also a romantic one, with Marc Papillon-Ferland) came to an end a few years back, she almost quit music altogether. “I feel quite nervous,” she tells Apple Music of her second act. “It’s a completely new adventure.” Her revamped, bittersweet dance-pop sound first started to come together at Kenekt Québec, a songwriting camp where she met an array of hip-hop and electro-pop producers. “It unblocked all kinds of paths for me,” she says. “I always listened to urban music, and a lot of rap. I liked the sound, but I was never able to find it in my own music. For me, it was the discovery of a world I always wanted to be a part of.” That world comes alive as her ethereal voice rides over slick hip-hop and dance productions from the likes of Mike Clay (Clay and Friends), Ruffsound (Koriass, Loud), D R M S (Ariane Moffatt, Fanny Bloom), June Nawakii (Nicki Minaj), and Billboard (Britney Spears, Shakira). From the songwriting process through the ups and downs of a relationship that never came to fruition, Rose revisits the experience of making her self-titled LP, track by track.
Tôt ou tard “This song sums up the story I wanted to tell on this album. It’s a one-way love affair that was just one week of my life—it was a romance that didn’t last long, but it knocked me out for a whole year. It’s about a connection between two people where there’s something there but it never materializes, so it’s better to just turn the page and pretend it never happened.”
Origami “This was the first collaboration, which happened even before the album existed, between Mike Clay, Ruffsound, and June Nawakii. It was the first time I heard my voice on a hip-hop beat. We wanted to write a song without thinking about conventions. They started a beat and I started singing on it, even if it made no sense. It’s a song about a trip on an illegal substance, with two people in a closed room. It’s intoxicating and they imagine all kinds of things.”
Carrousel “It’s a song I wrote with Banx & Ranx and Mike Clay. They’re funny guys. It started with the idea of a carousel as a metaphor for driving around in a car–I used drive around Montreal with these guys. It's really a song about a breakup—the last go-round, where you can’t go any further so you give up and say, ‘Good luck with the rest of your life.’ The music is super upbeat, but the lyrics are really not. It’s like my crush. We never kissed, but that guy stuck around in my imagination.”
Emmène-moi “I write a lot of ultra-personal lyrics taken from my diary, but this song is something else entirely. I wanted the album to have some light and not be depressing from beginning to end. This is a song where I stayed on the surface to talk about something beautiful. I wrote it in the summer, at the cottage with my producers. I was like, ‘It’s hot, it’s nice. Let’s do a fun song you can listen to by the poolside.’”
Vertige “‘Vertige' represents the beginning of the story in the album. It’s about New Year’s—you hear the countdown. I remember walking outside and hearing people singing, ‘Three, two, one.’ I really wasn’t happy and it was weighing on my heart. I felt like I was living a lie. This song evokes the cry of hope I was feeling, the dream state I was in at the time. I didn’t feel well, I was angry, and there was a vertigo in that.”
Demi-tour “This is the song I’m most proud of on the album. I made it with Billboard and Realmind. It’s a naive song, about the first moments in a love story. It’s gentle and without pretension, but in the song I realize I’m in love but I already see obstacles. There’s a lot of fear and apprehension.”
Jamais jamais “This song is a paradox. It reminds me of the music I made with Eli et Papillon. It’s a bit nostalgic, with the light guitar rhythm, but lyrically it’s the most negative song on the album. It’s me super mad, throwing accusations at that guy because things were going nowhere. I’m saying, ‘Get it together!’ and feeling manipulated, but over a super-light beat. It’s really contradictory.”
HLL “This is my favorite song. It’s even more personal than 'Tôt ou tard.' It’s the song where I tell my side of things. I was obviously very naively falling for this guy, and here I’m ignoring reality. I’m juggling different emotions, feeling nervous, fragile, and like, it’s hard to figure out what’s going on.”
Avalanche “The title summarizes my emotional life; it’s always been a series of avalanches. It’s funny, I have a boyfriend now and we’re engaged. I’m in a great place, but my past is full of avalanches.”
Dis-moi “I think this is the most painful song on the album. I wrote it alone on guitar, a long time ago. There’s no metaphor or reflection, it’s just raw emotion. It’s from the heart, me talking to the person in front of me. I wasn’t well. I wanted to turn the page, but I didn’t know how.”
Tôt ou tard
Origami (feat. FouKi)
10 Songs, 34 Minutes
November 1, 2019
Maison Barclay Canada; ℗ 2019 Universal Music Canada Inc.
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