Editors’ Notes “My attitude to writing this album was that I needed to be honest about situations and honest with myself,” Holly Lapsley Fletcher tells Apple Music. “I write and produce songs within about two days, so it’s quite instant. I'll go into the studio and write about whatever happens that week and then leave it. It’s very therapeutic.” Four years on from a debut album that won her fans including Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift, the Liverpudlian singer-songwriter, producer, and self-proclaimed “music nerd” relates the pain of a breakup and weaves the beauty of nature into the lyrics on an intoxicating second album. The production is also bigger and bolder here, inspired by ’80s indie, electronica—and on the luminous standout “Womxn,” even disco. “After Long Way Home, I took a year off,” she says. “I needed to work on my mental health and take time off from touring. I wasn't able to write at that point, and then as soon as I felt like I was finding myself again, I felt way more in control. I came straight into the industry at 17 and then was expected to write a debut album—whereas this time, it's me discovering who I am.” Below, Låpsley guides us through that discovery track by track.
Through Water “I met with my dad the week that I wrote this song. He’s one of the world leaders in sustainable development, and works in climate change and water. I went upstairs to the bathroom in XL [Recordings, her record label], which is by the studio, and just left the tap running and pressed voice note and I read out a speech my dad has given. Then I created this track, so the album opens with my dad’s words. I think he's my biggest fan.”
My Love Was Like the Rain “That came together super quickly. I never really write at such a fast tempo, and I just remember shoving loads of like Robyn tracks on, and thinking, ‘I want to make a song that has this kind of energy!’ but then I gravitated towards darker chords.”
First “I love Drake and I love lots of Afrobeats, so I guess there's an influence here. I wanted to create a song that, production-wise, sat more in that space. The song's basically about being obsessed with someone and putting them on a pedestal even if they don't feel the same way back—almost like worship.”
Ligne 3 “I lived in Montpellier for two months, which is where my ex-boyfriend lives. Ligne 3 was the tram line between where we lived and where his work was. That was at the start of a year that I took off, so I wasn't really doing anything, and I wasn't well, so I'd just go out and wander around the city for two months. It just sums up the end of that relationship and that place. It was pretty lonely.”
Our Love Is a Garden “My favorite track on the album. I was obsessed by the ’80s, with [record label] 4AD acts, bands like Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil, so I wanted to have something that referenced that point in the decade. It’s about trying to make a relationship work, and there's a sadness, but obviously beautiful references to gardens too.”
Leeds Liverpool Canal “The canal has always been a place that's very close to our family, whether that's the men in our family walking down on their own, working out mental health problems or fishing with my dad. Now my dad works in water, so there's just this massive link to that place, so this instrumental is about home.”
Sadness Is a Shade of Blue “I wanted to write a pop song about depression and how I feel like we're all responsible for our own health and trying to improve things in our own lives. I was getting frustrated that I was doing stuff to help my mental health and my ex wasn't doing anything to help his—and I wanted to write a pop song that was real.”
Womxn “This was the first track that I wrote for the record when I was in a pretty bad place. I took the demo in with Pete O’Grady [aka UK producer Joy Orbison], and the additional production just took it to the next level. By releasing it as a single, I wanted to show people how much I've changed and how that comes from a place of acceptance.”
Bonfire “This song is about being with someone with a really short temper. Like, this person finds it very difficult to change and I feel like I'm the one who has to change the way that I speak around him to accommodate him, so it's about that.”
Speaking of the End “I worked with [Adele and Florence + the Machine collaborator] Eg White on this. I just went into his studio and was like, ‘Oh you've got a piano!’ It's very rare that someone actually has a piano in the studio, so then the intention was to write a song and make it full-sounding. That is the original vocal first take, and the lyrics are about the end of one relationship and the start of another, and also the end of childhood and the start of adulthood. It's kind of dark and light at the same time.”
My Love Was Like the Rain
Our Love is a Garden
Leeds Liverpool Canal
Sadness is a Shade of Blue
Speaking of the End
10 Songs, 34 Minutes
March 20, 2020
℗ 2020 Her Own Recordings under exclusive license to XL Recordings Limited.
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