The Greatest Thing I’ll Never Learn

Dylan

The Greatest Thing I’ll Never Learn

“I’m so proud of this mixtape, because it’s everything that I wanted it to be—emotionally, lyrically, and sonically,” Dylan tells Apple Music. “It’s opened a new door for me. I’m completely unapologetic and doing what feels right to me.” The Greatest Thing I’ll Never Learn—eight tracks of confessional power pop with big hooks and high energy—owes its stadium-aspiring sound to the Suffolk singer-songwriter’s dad, who was responsible for most of her early music education. “I was brought up on classic rock ’n' roll, doing live shows on my kitchen table as a kid,” says Dylan. On her previous releases she tried synth-pop and piano ballads on for size, but struggled to find the right creative fit until she rediscovered her childhood passions during lockdown. “I found my love for writing again. I wanted big sounds. All those big guitars I love so much.” With her feet firmly planted on a solid base of propulsive guitar riffs and anthemic melodies, Dylan poured what she calls all the chaos of her personal life into her lyrics, working her way up out of the depths of heartbreak to emerge vulnerable, and yet stronger for it. Now, she’s hoping to pass that empowered feeling on to an ever-increasing audience. “It’s a tad scary having lots of people listen to this mixtape, because it’s effectively the soundtrack to my life,” Dylan says. “I’m just hoping it can be the soundtrack to other people’s lives too.” Here, she explains the stories behind each song on her mixtape. “Girl of Your Dreams” “This was essentially a 'get my power back’ situation. I struggle with confidence and I’d taken some huge knocks in the months prior to writing it. I’d been on a ‘date’ with someone that ended up just being a friendly drink. He had zero interest in me, and I already struggle with the idea of making the first move, so this was a real hit to the chest. Why couldn't I be the girl of his dreams! I think a lot of people imagine scenarios in their heads, and as a songwriter that’s a big part of my job, so when I went into the studio a few weeks later, I really needed a confidence anthem and I just went for it. It's now one of my favorites to sing live.” “Nothing Lasts Forever” “Writing this song was one of those glorious moments where a jam turns into something special. Emotionally, I was super against everyone and everything at the time, and in my head love was a nasty thing that shouldn't exist because all people do is leave. A lot of the mixtape plays on the idea of abandonment issues, and this was the most blunt way to come to terms with it. A total ‘why me, why now’ moment. I was fed up with relationships ending and needed to express that.” “Blue” “My favorite song on the mixtape. I've always been afraid to say exactly what I really feel in fear of it making me look weak, but this is where that changed. It was a nice way for it to happen. I wrote the base of the song on my own on a guitar before taking it into the studio. Evidently I wasn't over the person this song is about and I didn't want them to know that, but ultimately it was important for me to stress just how much that heartbreak had ruined me emotionally. I think in the end the song has given me power through feeling, which is a type of empowerment I didn’t know existed.” ”Lovestruck” “I wrote this song about the incredibly long, grueling process of getting over someone, when they can't seem to help popping their head above water every few months. It's a nightmare. The ‘hey, look, I'm still here! Remember me?' texts. They can be subtle, but we all know they're brutal. It's all about the lingering feelings you have for someone, and how anything can convince you you're still in love. I really love how we captured the frustration in the sonics—musically it sounds like it's going into overdrive, which was a representation of how I felt at the time.” “Blisters” “This was the first song I wrote for the mixtape, and I love everything about the way it's turned out. I think it's the most personal song of them all, and it was definitely the hardest to write. I was in pieces following a breakup and I hadn't really written about the emotional effect it had on me until this moment. I was much too busy using that energy to create slightly more sarcastic and harsh ‘screw you’ songs. Again, I was completely terrified of being made to look weak through these lyrics, but I found a really amazing way of empowering myself through the pain. It's important to not ignore how you feel about situations, and in my case, scream it from the rooftops.” “Treat You Bad” “This song nearly didn't make the mixtape because I was afraid it was too ballsy. In essence, I was saying, ‘It's your fault I'm treating you badly.’ Of course it wasn’t, but I didn’t want to take the blame for anything at the time when I was writing this. I don't think it’s a storyline you hear too often from a young woman in pop music, but I kind of love it for that.” “The Greatest Thing” “I think this track sums up the mixtape as a whole. The beginning of the song talks about how my mother had told me time and time again to let people in and to just feel the love. Naturally, as a 22-year-old songwriter with an absolute disaster of a personal life, that wasn't an option. I felt unlovable, and like I needed to sit in my own little pit of doom for as long as it took to feel alive again. I think the whole mixtape hints at people trying to enter my life and me being unable to process it, but this song really summarizes the situation with all the pieces needed.” “Home Is Where the Heart Is” “This was the last song to make the tracklist. I felt like I needed a smaller song to make the others feel bigger, but also I love a good ballad. It just needed to be the best ballad I’d ever written to make the project. It was intentionally written as a question so it didn't feel like a ‘pity me’ song, although the last line confirms to the listener that I'm asking myself these questions. I really felt like I was completely alone in the world and had no one to call because I was too afraid to feel anything, so it was easier to cut everyone out. The core of the song actually comes from not being able to call my mum, who unfortunately passed away last year, which is why I say, ‘When a piece is missing, wedding bells are ringing, and a child is born.’ These are the moments in which I imagine family is the first person you call. So the loneliness extends into the future.”

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