13 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Amber Bain is ready to open up. The British singer-songwriter’s stunning early EPs of ethereal pop built intrigue, critical acclaim, and—released as The Japanese House—an air of mystery. Her debut album is gorgeous and dreamy, but also extraordinarily vulnerable. “The whole point of the album is me being really honest,” she tells Apple Music. “Not really intentionally. But just for the hell of it.” Join Bain for a track-by-track guide to the album.

“went to meet her”
“It’s an intense way to start an album. I think the chaos of the drums definitely reflects the chaos of the situation. It sounds like I'm talking about going to meet a girl in Ibiza, but the lyrics are really dark. My friend was badly attacked by this horrible man. I had to fly out to be with her because she was in the hospital. It’s quite a weird one for me to play live because it puts me back in that place.”

“Maybe You’re the Reason”
“There’s a lyric, ‘I've looked within and I've read but instead I keep focusing on just how thin I can get.’ It’s me asking, ‘How can I be so clever and read philosophy but actually care about how thin I am?’ Not that I think I have an eating disorder now, but I definitely did when I was younger. That was when I started to realize I'm writing some quite personal things, and I went with it.”

“We Talk all the Time”
“This song is about lack of sex in a relationship. I think a lot of gay or queer relationships are oversexualized. People assume that if you're not straight you're having sex all the time, but it's definitely a massive thing—especially in lesbian relationships—to stop having sex after a couple of years. It just stops because you're so close with that person, it almost feels like yourself in a weird way.”

“Wild”
“I wrote this when I was 17. I used to get really angry and have tantrums—but the teenage version. I’d smash stuff up and then think, ‘Oh, everyone hates me.’ I’d come out of my body and feel that wasn't me. The song is about feeling detachment from a side of myself that was really destructive.”

“You Seemed so Happy”
“Death, or someone dying, used to feel very in the distance. Then my friend passed away. It’s really jarring in terms of your own concept of mortality, because you're suddenly aware that at any point you could die. I was taking a blood pressure monitor with me everywhere and taking my temperature 10 times a day. I felt depressed but presented myself as a very light, happy human. This song sounds happy and it's a metaphor for my music, because if I go somewhere in Europe on tour, they don't understand, they're not listening to the lyrics, and they think my songs are really happy.”

“Follow My Girl”
“I wrote the lyrics for this track in Wisconsin, where I was recording the album [at Bon Iver’s Fall Creek studio]. I was there for two months. It was just me and BJ Burton—the producer—in the middle of nowhere. Didn't really leave or speak to anyone for two months, and I would go to this small house down the road from the studio and write lyrics on my own.”

“somethingfartoogoodtofeel”
“This was recorded in my bedroom. We added some strings, live drums, and rerecorded the vocal, but everything else is from the demo. It was written in a couple of hours, and after I finished it I found out my friend died. It’s a really old song but I didn't work on it because it reminded me of that day too much. Now I love the song, but it's the one I've listened to least.”

“Lilo”
“My friend Gemma called me and said, ‘I've met someone that you're gonna fall in love with.’ I was really heartbroken at the time, so I thought, ‘It's not going to happen.’ Then I went to her gig, she was really funny onstage, and I thought, ‘F**k.’ The chorus was written when we first met. The whole thing about her ‘floating like a lilo’ [pool float] is because it really did feel like she was just drifting around. She felt like a very singular object.”

“Everybody Hates Me”
“This song is about me being really hung over for two, three years. Every day waking up with that feeling of ‘everyone hates me and I've ruined my life.’ Looking back at the time, I thought—almost jokingly—it's a hangover anthem. Now it's really sad for me to look back knowing I spent so much time hating myself because I couldn't stop drinking. I felt alone for that entire period of time. I stopped drinking for a while after I wrote that song. I need to stop drinking again.”

“Marika Is Sleeping”
“My girlfriend was asleep, she was really ill, and I was napping next to her. I dreamt this string arrangement, got my laptop and programmed the strings. When I saved it I was like, ‘Oh, what do I call the project?’ I find it really hard to name things. The production’s all done on a Mellotron with weird harps and me doing a choral voice because I wanted it to sound like an old Disney soundtrack.”

“Worms”
“I love working with George [Daniel, of The 1975]. He's really organized, and that's handy because I'm really disorganized. A friend was dating one of the band [The 1975], then Matty [Healy] and George heard my music and wanted to produce it. Then I spent two years touring with them. It's weird to me that they're so big, because they’re just my friends. Then I see them at The O2 and I'm like, ‘Oh, okay. You guys are huge.’”

“f a r a w a y”
“He’s [Matt Healy] singing on ‘f a r a w a y.’ He's always one of my favorite people to play songs to because he gets so excited and he'll openly be like, ‘That makes me jealous.’ When I listened to one of his songs I was like, ‘F**k, I wish I had written that.’ I think either a lot of admiration is jealousy or a lot of jealousy is admiration. I don't know which way it is.”

“i saw you in a dream”
“It's my favorite song I've ever written. My voice doesn't sound perfect, but it's a really emotional song. It's two live takes, and I think I was crying on one of them. It’s about my friend who passed away. I find it difficult to think of writing music as therapy because it's not therapeutic for me to confront certain things. I have to play this song every night on tour and sometimes I don't want to think about her being dead. Maybe it's really nice that I get to think about her every day. It's therapy but it's also emotional torture.”

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics. Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Amber Bain is ready to open up. The British singer-songwriter’s stunning early EPs of ethereal pop built intrigue, critical acclaim, and—released as The Japanese House—an air of mystery. Her debut album is gorgeous and dreamy, but also extraordinarily vulnerable. “The whole point of the album is me being really honest,” she tells Apple Music. “Not really intentionally. But just for the hell of it.” Join Bain for a track-by-track guide to the album.

“went to meet her”
“It’s an intense way to start an album. I think the chaos of the drums definitely reflects the chaos of the situation. It sounds like I'm talking about going to meet a girl in Ibiza, but the lyrics are really dark. My friend was badly attacked by this horrible man. I had to fly out to be with her because she was in the hospital. It’s quite a weird one for me to play live because it puts me back in that place.”

“Maybe You’re the Reason”
“There’s a lyric, ‘I've looked within and I've read but instead I keep focusing on just how thin I can get.’ It’s me asking, ‘How can I be so clever and read philosophy but actually care about how thin I am?’ Not that I think I have an eating disorder now, but I definitely did when I was younger. That was when I started to realize I'm writing some quite personal things, and I went with it.”

“We Talk all the Time”
“This song is about lack of sex in a relationship. I think a lot of gay or queer relationships are oversexualized. People assume that if you're not straight you're having sex all the time, but it's definitely a massive thing—especially in lesbian relationships—to stop having sex after a couple of years. It just stops because you're so close with that person, it almost feels like yourself in a weird way.”

“Wild”
“I wrote this when I was 17. I used to get really angry and have tantrums—but the teenage version. I’d smash stuff up and then think, ‘Oh, everyone hates me.’ I’d come out of my body and feel that wasn't me. The song is about feeling detachment from a side of myself that was really destructive.”

“You Seemed so Happy”
“Death, or someone dying, used to feel very in the distance. Then my friend passed away. It’s really jarring in terms of your own concept of mortality, because you're suddenly aware that at any point you could die. I was taking a blood pressure monitor with me everywhere and taking my temperature 10 times a day. I felt depressed but presented myself as a very light, happy human. This song sounds happy and it's a metaphor for my music, because if I go somewhere in Europe on tour, they don't understand, they're not listening to the lyrics, and they think my songs are really happy.”

“Follow My Girl”
“I wrote the lyrics for this track in Wisconsin, where I was recording the album [at Bon Iver’s Fall Creek studio]. I was there for two months. It was just me and BJ Burton—the producer—in the middle of nowhere. Didn't really leave or speak to anyone for two months, and I would go to this small house down the road from the studio and write lyrics on my own.”

“somethingfartoogoodtofeel”
“This was recorded in my bedroom. We added some strings, live drums, and rerecorded the vocal, but everything else is from the demo. It was written in a couple of hours, and after I finished it I found out my friend died. It’s a really old song but I didn't work on it because it reminded me of that day too much. Now I love the song, but it's the one I've listened to least.”

“Lilo”
“My friend Gemma called me and said, ‘I've met someone that you're gonna fall in love with.’ I was really heartbroken at the time, so I thought, ‘It's not going to happen.’ Then I went to her gig, she was really funny onstage, and I thought, ‘F**k.’ The chorus was written when we first met. The whole thing about her ‘floating like a lilo’ [pool float] is because it really did feel like she was just drifting around. She felt like a very singular object.”

“Everybody Hates Me”
“This song is about me being really hung over for two, three years. Every day waking up with that feeling of ‘everyone hates me and I've ruined my life.’ Looking back at the time, I thought—almost jokingly—it's a hangover anthem. Now it's really sad for me to look back knowing I spent so much time hating myself because I couldn't stop drinking. I felt alone for that entire period of time. I stopped drinking for a while after I wrote that song. I need to stop drinking again.”

“Marika Is Sleeping”
“My girlfriend was asleep, she was really ill, and I was napping next to her. I dreamt this string arrangement, got my laptop and programmed the strings. When I saved it I was like, ‘Oh, what do I call the project?’ I find it really hard to name things. The production’s all done on a Mellotron with weird harps and me doing a choral voice because I wanted it to sound like an old Disney soundtrack.”

“Worms”
“I love working with George [Daniel, of The 1975]. He's really organized, and that's handy because I'm really disorganized. A friend was dating one of the band [The 1975], then Matty [Healy] and George heard my music and wanted to produce it. Then I spent two years touring with them. It's weird to me that they're so big, because they’re just my friends. Then I see them at The O2 and I'm like, ‘Oh, okay. You guys are huge.’”

“f a r a w a y”
“He’s [Matt Healy] singing on ‘f a r a w a y.’ He's always one of my favorite people to play songs to because he gets so excited and he'll openly be like, ‘That makes me jealous.’ When I listened to one of his songs I was like, ‘F**k, I wish I had written that.’ I think either a lot of admiration is jealousy or a lot of jealousy is admiration. I don't know which way it is.”

“i saw you in a dream”
“It's my favorite song I've ever written. My voice doesn't sound perfect, but it's a really emotional song. It's two live takes, and I think I was crying on one of them. It’s about my friend who passed away. I find it difficult to think of writing music as therapy because it's not therapeutic for me to confront certain things. I have to play this song every night on tour and sometimes I don't want to think about her being dead. Maybe it's really nice that I get to think about her every day. It's therapy but it's also emotional torture.”

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics. Mastered for iTunes
TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

4.9 out of 5
31 Ratings

31 Ratings

duranduranjoey ,

I’m interested...

in track 7.

somethingfart?

Ggfhvcgj ,

fantastic

great lyrics, production & instrumentation. honestly didn’t have high hopes going into this album but i was pleasantly surprised.

Pospto ,

Wowowowowow

Absolutely fantastic. The Japanese House is by far the most underrated artist that I know of.

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