How To Let Go

How To Let Go

“I was able to make the album in peace and quiet, really,” Sigrid tells Apple Music of crafting How to Let Go. That was thanks, in part, to the pandemic, during which the Norwegian pop queen could “sort of disappear,” writing the majority of her second album’s songs in Copenhagen with Norwegian songwriter Caroline Ailin (Dua Lipa, Charli XCX). “We were swimming in between sessions, talking a lot, and Caroline was making amazing cinnamon buns,” remembers Sigrid (born Sigrid Raabe). It was an approach she valued, having “definitely felt the pressure” to ensure How to Let Go lived up to her 2019 debut, Sucker Punch, home to hit singles such as “Don’t Kill My Vibe,” “Strangers,” and “Don’t Feel Like Crying.” That debut showcased Sigrid’s ability to craft shimmering electro-pop songs that sound both anthemic and intimate. These elements are all present on How to Let Go, but this time around, it feels even more cathartic. “There are songs about breakups and breaking someone’s heart,” she says. “Songs about letting go of your childhood, and songs about letting go of fears and doubts because sometimes you just have to go for it.” Musically, the album sees Sigrid embrace a more organic sound featuring plenty of live drums, soaring strings, and vocal harmonies; she says everyone from The Beatles to The Killers influenced guitar-centric tracks destined for festival season. Read on for Sigrid’s track-by-track guide to How to Let Go. “It Gets Dark” “Whenever I’ve been unsure of my musical direction, I’ve always come back to this song. It shaped the whole sound of the album with the strings coming in and the chorus being pretty simple in terms of production: literally just bass, vocals, and drums. It’s a song about letting go and opening your mind. For about four or five years before the pandemic, I was traveling so much with work and always came back to Norway when I had time off. And then, suddenly, I started to feel more comfortable outside of Norway. I started to feel like I also had a home in London, New York, and Los Angeles. That was exciting but also scary for me because I’m such a homebody.” “Burning Bridges” “It’s not necessarily about a romantic breakup because, sometimes, breakups that aren’t romantic can be even harder. Musically, it’s very inspired by Muse. I listened to them a lot when I was growing up, and I love it when rock bands go electronic the way Muse did. But at the same time, ‘Burning Bridges’ is still a pop song because you have the big, soaring strings on there. The overall vibe is cinematic but at a British music festival. It’s my proper angry, stomping-across-the-stage anthem.” “Risk of Getting Hurt” “When I sing, ‘I’ve crashed with no warning because I’m brave when I’m falling/But so far, I always land on my feet,’ it’s really about my outlook on life. I do get really tired and burned out because work can be really overwhelming; it takes a lot out of me. I’m a person who likes just being by myself in my apartment, cooking, but in 2019 I think I had 290 travel days or something. That’s a lot for me, but the reward of going on tour and traveling is just too good to turn down. I feel like I always land on my feet and that gives me the confidence to keep going.” “Thank Me Later” “Musically, it’s inspired by The Killers, who were a very important band for me growing up. Lyrically, I guess it’s really a very straight-up song about breaking someone’s heart. It sucks and it’s really difficult, but sometimes it’s for the best. I had a lot of heartbreak songs on Sucker Punch, but they were about me getting my heart broken. So, I thought it was time to talk about the other side of heartbreak too.” “Mirror” “I’m always scared of saying the wrong thing, and I’m very self-critical. I’ve been doing this job since I was 16, and when I look back at old interviews, sometimes I’m like, ‘Why did I say that?’ Often, when I write songs, I feel a bit like my older sister writing songs to me. I definitely tried to channel her in these lyrics, which are basically saying, ‘It’s OK to fuck up and move on.’ I’ve loved seeing the reaction to this song from my fans because it seems like they were thinking the same thing as me.” “Last to Know” “Every time we tried to put more production on it, it just didn’t work. One of my favorite songs ever is ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ by Bonnie Raitt. This song doesn’t sound remotely like it, but I’m sure I was thinking a little bit of that song when I wrote these lyrics. It’s about when you’ve been through a breakup and you’ve moved on, but there’s a bittersweet element because it’s hard for your ex to see you with someone new.” “Dancer” “This is one of my favorites on the album. It’s a full-on lovey-dovey song about falling the hardest in love I’ve ever been. I love the instrumentation on this song with the piano and then the drums and bass coming in. We listened to The Beatles a bit in the studio, and I think you can hear their influence here. It’s just a warm hug of a song that reminds me of summer nights and road trips and getting drunk.” “A Driver Saved My Night” “This is a fun song. It’s about being stuck in traffic somewhere, usually in London on the M25 [highway], and feeling a bit tired and homesick and ‘ugh’ about things. But then, a song you really like comes on the radio and you ask the driver to turn it up, please. And even though you don’t know each other, you’re both listening and nodding along and thinking, ‘Great song!’ I just love how music can instantly lift your spirits, so this song is really an homage to those moments.” “Mistake Like You” “Another ballad, but you’ve got to have a few ballads in there. It’s a sad song but also a positive one. It’s about unrequited love: having really strong feelings for someone who doesn’t feel the same way but coming through that situation and knowing you learned from it. That’s what I was thinking about when I wrote the chorus: ‘I decided I think that anyone would be lucky to make just one mistake like you.’” “Bad Life” (feat. Bring Me the Horizon) “I’m a big Bring Me the Horizon fan. When I was at Reading Festival in 2021, [the band’s keyboardist] Jordan Fish came up to me and said, ‘Hey, I love your music.’ And I was freaking out—like, how do they know my music? We chatted a bit, and he said we should go into the studio some time. Then I got in my tour bus to go to Leeds Festival, and he sent me the demo of ‘Bad Life.’ I played it to my band, and we were all like, ‘This is really good.’ So, I went into the studio with Jordan and Ollie [Sykes, the band’s singer] a few weeks later, and we changed some bits and bobs, and I wrote some new lyrics for my verse. But the first time I realized Bring Me the Horizon was an unlikely match [for me] was when I walked into that studio and the technician said, ‘Whoa, you were the last person I was expecting to see in this session!’” “Grow” “Nick Drake was an inspiration for me when I was writing this one, especially his songs ‘Pink Moon’ and ‘Place to Be.’ There are references to my childhood in the lyrics and also to my first apartment in Oslo. It was a big achievement for me to buy my own place at 22, and I remember trying to hang pictures on the bare white walls to make it feel like a proper home. But somehow, I never really settled there; it always felt like just another hotel room. I was living my dream out on the road, but it felt bittersweet because I had lost a part of myself at the same time. I think that’s just growing up, though.” “High Note” “I want to look back on my life and know I’ve not taken things for granted. But I have a bad habit of letting stress get to me, and then amazing things pass me by. I remember when I won the BBC’s Sound of 2018 poll, which is one of my biggest achievements, I actually cried because I was scared of what life was going to be like after that. It was almost like my innocence was going in a way: ‘I’m a serious artist now, fuck!’ It was only months afterwards that I looked back and thought, ‘Oh, that was actually amazing.’ So, this is a song about enjoying those highs when they happen. It’s partly inspired by the Corpus Clock at Cambridge University, which was built to remind the students to live their lives to the fullest.”

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