love is not dying

love is not dying

Prolific Brooklyn-based pop experimentalist Jeremy Zucker’s strength is in his ability to articulate nuance through explicit lyricism and intricate production. His numerous EPs, regularly recorded and released since 2015, are soft and direct, effortlessly generating viral hits like 2018’s “all the kids are depressed” and his collaboration with rapper blackbear “talk is overrated.” On his debut solo LP, love is not dying, Zucker pushes beyond the obvious. “I'm not writing these songs with the intent of making sure people understand,” he tells Apple Music. “I'm writing songs to really express the way that I feel about these very specific situations in my life, and my hope is that people feel comforted and justified in their own feelings.” Touching on simultaneously universal and unexpected desires such as quietude (“still”), acquiescence (“we’re fucked, it's fine”), and resolve (“julia”) over pictorial production that runs the gamut from tinny, folksy singer-songwriter to explosive distortion, love is not dying aims for the heart without leaning on melodrama. Come for the humor of “not ur friend,” stay for the subtle interpolation of James Taylor’s “Mexico” on closer “oh, mexico.” “I make music because I was a fan first,” he says. “My goal was to really emulate the experiences that I had and have as a fan, that feeling of connection.” Here, Zucker details each track on the album. still “The song starts with the sound of birds, and almost, like, a church choir. Those are sounds that I sampled from my street right outside my apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The title came from something that someone said to me once. Everything was moving so fast and everything was so hectic, and this person was like, ‘I just wish we could be still,’ and that phrase really stuck with me. The voices in this, it's the voice of that person that said that to me. It's this crescendo of madness and insanity, but also intense beauty.” we’re fucked, it’s fine “The theme for that song is extremely apparent in the title: I know that everything's going to go to shit, but I'm willing to accept that things are about to be horrible. That's the tone for a lot of the album—accepting the beauty in a moment, knowing that it's not perfect. It is what it is, and it might fuck everything up.” somebody loves you “That was one of the first songs that I wrote for the album. I wrote it while I was talking to this girl online for a long time before we actually met in person. It was this feeling of falling for someone when you know things could be completely different when you meet them in person.” orchid “I got an upright piano for my studio, and this was the first song that I recorded on it. I put a damper on my piano, which is this felt sheet that goes between the hammers and the strings, and it makes the piano sound so soft and gentle. At the end of the song, you'll hear these crows come in, which is a sample that I recorded in Iowa when I was visiting my brother for his engagement party.” lakehouse “If you listen carefully, you'll hear mumbling voices in the background. I came up with the idea for the song in my studio. I had a friend in there, and while we were having this conversation, I came up with this riff. I didn't want to interrupt her because she was telling me an important story, so I recorded a voice memo on my phone of me doing a triplet chord progression. Her voice in the background hit these weird notes that I couldn't have placed myself, and I stacked mandolin on top of it and built the whole song around it. When the chorus hits, it's this really strange time signature. Seven beats in a measure.” good for her “It’s the outro to ‘lakehouse,’ but I wanted to cut it into its own song because of how different the lyrical sentiment is—it comes off as a little melancholic because I'm left in the dust in this situation.” not ur friend “This was the only song on the album that I wrote with other writers, [Max Martin’s MXM]. We worked on a bunch of ideas with that team, and ‘not ur friend’ was the coolest song that came out of those sessions. We were just all cracking up while writing it because the lyrics are just so flippant. This is the antithesis to the type of music that I make, because it's very much like, 'Fuck you, I'm out.' It's a selfish song, which, in its own way, is a really celebratory thing. I've gotten lots of messages from fans saying that this song helped them cut somebody toxic out of their life, and they're better for it.” full stop “The idea behind ‘full stop’ is, ‘All right, I've removed this person from my life, but now what?’ So it's this spiraling train of thought. It is one of my favorite productions on the album, just because of how random and weird and nonsensical the structure is and how different each section is but how it all flows together so perfectly. To me, it feels like the sky is falling and the world is crashing.” julia “Everything about ‘julia’—the lyrics and the melody and the production and the structure and the dynamic shifts—is exactly what I wanted to make. It is a song about a person who I wrote a lot of my previous songs about. This was the last song that I was going to write about her. I needed some closure. Between all those reasons, I guess that's why it's my favorite. It fits a very specific part of my life.” hell or flying “This is one of my favorites on the album as well because of how simple it is, and how it really escalates at the end. It's sort of like asking somebody to keep a promise you know they won't keep and ignoring that.” always, i’ll care “I wrote this one about my college friend Jamie. She would always call me just to catch up and I would not answer her texts or call her back until days later, and I felt like a really shitty friend. And so it was this song of ‘I'll be better than I was before, despite every text of yours ignored.’ She was so understanding, and I'm still sorry for not being as responsive or as attentive or not being a great friend, but I will do better. And that's me showing how much I care.” brooks “‘brooks’ is very much a train-of-thought piece. There's the obvious line, 'This kid I knew in college just died on a plane.' That's true, and that was a crazy thing that happened to me and shook my world. And even in the song, that is just a detail. The song is just about feeling strange.” oh, mexico “It's me on my guitar, and a capo on the 10th fret, playing really, really high, and I pitched it way down on my computer. I wrote the song chronologically, and when I got to the chorus, I kept finding myself singing James Taylor's 'Mexico.' I was like, 'Why don't I just make this a flip of “Mexico”?' It still doesn't even feel like a flip to me, because it is so much its own song. It felt like a really appropriate ending to the album, because it is this idea of falling into old habits and old patterns, and realizing that no matter how much you've experienced, we always still have things to learn. That's a hard thing to accept.”

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