Lost In Translation (Apple Music Edition)

Lost In Translation (Apple Music Edition)

Thanks to Sofia Coppola’s 2003 meditative masterpiece, the phrase “lost in translation” has become less about a linguistic conundrum than a certain existential ennui—that sense of having it all but still feeling empty inside, of constantly being on the move yet feeling stuck in place. Since debuting in 2015, Toronto polymaths Valley have kept up a prolific pace reflected in their genre-blurring whirlwind of towering Top 40 pop hooks, smooth R&B moves, retro-’80s synthscapes, and gauzy indie textures. But after following their 2019 full-length, MAYBE, with a steady stream of EPs to bide their time during the pandemic, the group stalled out on the road to album number two, plunging them into their own Bill Murray moment of self-examination. “Second albums are really scary,” singer Rob Laska tells Apple Music. “We had to figure out ‘what does Valley sound like now?’ We’re definitely different people. We actually had to check into band therapy while making this album—being a band for so long, you really need to work on honing your chemistry.” Fortunately, it was nothing a trip to California couldn’t fix. After setting up their studio at a rented A-frame house in Beachwood Canyon, the quartet enjoyed a surge of productivity that resulted in Lost in Translation. Over an epic 15-track journey, the album seamlessly melds Valley’s disparate influences into sleek, sophisticated, modernist pop that updates classic Springsteen/Fleetwood Mac vibes for a Harry Styles/Post Malone world. (This special Apple Music Edition of the record adds a handful of alternative versions and live takes, including their stripped-down Apple Music Home Session interpretation of Olivia Rodrigo’s pop-punk banger “good 4 u.”) “It took us eight years of being in a band and touring a lot and learning and kind of relearning to get here, but this definitely feels like the most defined and structured thing we’ve done.” Here, Laska shares the stories behind some of Lost in Translation’s highlights. “Lost in Translation” “This song was a demo that we had for a long time. It was originally called ‘Otis and Maeve’ because we wrote it about this TV show that we were watching at the time called Sex Education. And then that snowballed into me taking it home and figuring out how to put a different spin on it. It very purposely plays as an opener because it references a lot of our older music. A lot of lyrics reference songs on our first record, MAYBE, and there’s references to [2021 EP] Last Birthday and some deep cuts. It’s a song that explains where we are right now. It’s kind of a check-in for fans.” “Natural” “We knew we wanted to do something kind of cruise-y, and our friend Joe—a close collaborator of ours—walked into the room and said, ‘Hey, guys, I don’t know what today is going to be like because I ended up taking some mushrooms, and I’m on a wave right now.’ And one of us just said, ‘Oh, we should write a song called “Natural,”’ kind of poking fun at mushrooms. But what usually happens is you write one line, and that just expands into the rest of the song. And then there’s that stage in the session where everything flips and you realize, ‘Oh, OK, we have something here,’ and then you start talking about your personal life and how we’re all in long-term relationships now—once you finally find the vibe of a song, you can get a little serious and start talking about your feelings.” “Break for You” “I think [guitarist] Mickey [Brandolino] first brought up the title ‘Break for You,’ which was just something that resonated. We didn’t know what it meant at the time. I just thought, ‘That feels interesting—that idea of “I’ll break for you.”’ So, we just started talking about long-term friendships. Being in this band is a four-way marriage that we have to navigate: We run a business, we’re a band, but we also have to be creative together and facilitate feelings together. But luckily, we wrote this song in a way that anyone can relate to—that sentiment of taking someone’s burden and carrying it for them when they can’t handle it anymore.” “Have a Good Summer (Without Me)” “This is one of our favorites on the record, and I have an odd feeling it’s going to age the best. I think we knew it the second we wrote it. The song has this very anthemic, driving-with-the-windows-down feeling, but it also reminded me of a lot of older music that my dad would play me growing up. It has kind of a Bruce Springsteen feeling to it—it gives me the same feeling as ‘Hungry Heart.’ It has that shout-it-from-the-rooftops feeling.” “Evenings & Weekends” “We wanted one song that really represented our love for Fleetwood Mac, and for this one in particular, we were trying to go for a darker version of ‘Dreams,’ but mixed in with Post Malone and some more modern references that we love. This song just kind of appeared to us on this dark, eerie night with this beautiful sunset going down over the hills. I’m really proud of this album because as much as we worked on the songs, the initial state or the nucleus of the feeling of the songs appeared really quickly. When the universe gives you a melody or a lyric, you can’t explain it. It just appears in your head.” “i thought i could fly” “This song was written during the lowest point of making the album, right before we checked into band therapy. We didn’t really know if we were gonna finish making the album; we didn’t really know if we were gonna be a band anymore. And I think that led me down a little bit of a spiral because I personally can’t deal with growing up really well. I’m still a kid in my head, and I miss simpler times for sure. So, this song kind of came out very last-minute, and then I sent it to the band, and they were like, ‘Oh, this has to go into the album now—it just feels like a really important thing to say in the middle of the record.’ It’s mostly the demo—I recorded a lot of the vocals on an iPhone. It was a very ‘dear diary’ kind of song: It happened in 10 minutes, I captured it, and then we put it on the record.” “Keep My Stuff” “When we started putting all the songs together, we felt like we needed a song that isn’t overproduced and doesn’t have a lot of elements that are getting in the way of a vocal or a lyric. This song came from the idea of us being in long-term relationships now and imagining: What does the world look like when we’re no longer with our partners? What would a breakup look like eight years into a relationship? Who’s going to keep the dog? I think this song really nails the concept on the head. It’s that idea of, ‘Everything I look at in the house reminds me of you, so just keep all the stuff.’” “Fishbowl” “This song kind of checks in what the past few years have felt like for us. There’s always this thick piece of glass that’s stopping us from being intimate with life, so this song is about wanting to get out on the other side and flee and experience more things and live more in the moment. And I think that’s harder and harder for us to do as a band. We’re so lucky: We get to travel the world and make music for a living. We should be so grateful, but I think with that comes a lot of self-doubt, a lot of pressure, and a lot of anxiety: Will this last? Are people still going to listen to us in five years? There’s a lot of that stewing in the bowl, and sometimes you need people in your life to pick it up, break it, and set you free into the ocean.”

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