The Answer Is Always Yes

The Answer Is Always Yes

“My mindset going into this record was very much the unknown,” Alex Lahey tells Apple Music. “One of the cool things the pandemic did was it disrupted the cycle. Instead of continuing to tour the record I was on cycle for [2019’s The Best of Luck Club], the only thing I could do was stop and write another one. And it was nice to be thrust into that unprepared.” The situation, says the Australian singer-songwriter, made her feel “bold” and “more open to risk.” She embraced collaborations more than ever before, striking up new creative relationships with the likes of Jacknife Lee (U2, Snow Patrol) and producer John Castle (Cub Sport, The Bamboos) while rekindling her existing partnership with producer and Holy Holy guitarist Oscar Dawson, with whom Lahey had worked on her previous two albums. Lahey wrote more than 100 songs for the LP, arriving at a record that pairs her trademark observational lyrics and guitar-driven power pop with Sheryl Crow-esque country-pop (“Good Time”) and dirge-y punk (“They Wouldn’t Let Me In”). Here, Lahey talks us through each track on the album. “Good Time” “I think this is one of the riskier songs on the record. And I don't think that I could have done it without Jacknife’s fearlessness. I'd been to the pub with a mate soon after Melbourne’s lockdowns had ended. And we were just watching pure hedonism. People had been cooped up for so long, they just wanted to party. And it's so funny, you would think re-assimilation would be like tiptoeing, testing the waters, but it was a headfirst plunge. And that's what inspired the song, people interacting with each other when they're reintroduced in the world.” “Congratulations” “The song was inspired by me coming to the knowledge that two exes of mine had gotten engaged to their respective partners in a very short timeframe. You’ve got to grab an opportunity when you see it, and I just felt like the world handed me a song. I quite like the sarcasm in it.” “You’ll Never Get Your Money Back” “That was the first song written for the record. I'm not a writer who has to write everything in the moment as it happens. And so I do a lot of processing before I write songs, generally speaking. And this one is sort of based on a relationship breakdown that I had many, many years ago. I found myself in this cyclical dysfunction that I really had to break. And in order to do so, I decided to go overseas very abruptly, so that experience informed the song.” “The Sky Is Melting” “A small group of us went to Joshua Tree a few years ago for my birthday. Three Australians in California, excited to go to a dispensary and take gummies, which we'd never done before, and completely doing them wrong and feeling really sorry for ourselves. That’s essentially the synopsis of the song.” “On the Way Down” “The only song on the record that I wrote by myself. I thought it would be interesting towards the end of the writing process to squeeze blood from the stone and see what was there, and also remind myself that I can write songs by myself, because sometimes you forget that you can do it, and a bit of self-doubt creeps in. I went into a studio for three days and wrote some not very good stuff. And I was walking to the studio on the last day that I was there and wrote the song while I was walking. When the juices are going, you don't know when it's going to strike. It was a nice, reassuring moment.” “Makes Me Sick” “I love a shameless love song. I think sometimes people are scared to do them. This one is an ode to a relationship. Oscar [Dawson] and I, prior to making this record, we did a cover of ‘This Kiss’ by Faith Hill, which has a very particular key change in it, and I was like, ‘I want that key change in this song!’ And now I have it.” “Shit Talkin’” “My partner and I have this joke where it's like, if we see something funny happen at a party or whatever, we'll go up to one another and be like, ‘We’ll talk about it in the car.’ And I'm like, fuck, who’s talking about me in their car?! So many people are, because I do dumb shit all the time. And I don't like the idea of that. Which I guess is hypocritical. But also very human. And I just thought that as a concept was funny and fun.” “Permanent” “I was overseas at the start of 2020 and got the call telling me to come home because they were closing the borders. I had nowhere to live in Australia, so I went back and moved in with my mum, and she lives in the house that I grew up in. It was like full regression mode. And it's funny going back to a neighborhood that you've spent multiple decades being intimately familiar with, and coming in again as an outsider and feeling how much it's changed. It’s essentially about that.” “They Wouldn’t Let Me In” “I was very aware of my sexuality when I was really young. When I was about three years old I was aware that I liked girls, and didn't think anything of it until I was a teenager, when I was like, ooh, this could be a problem. The media was telling me it was a problem; the only presentations of people that felt the same way I did were problematic. Thankfully I wasn't met with that attitude from many people in my life, if any, during that period, but despite having that acceptance, I did miss out on certain things. The foundations of being a teenager at that time didn't include people like me, and so you do miss out on certain rites of passage as a queer person. I was just reflecting on my time growing up as a gay kid, and I really felt I was ready to put that in song.” “The Answer Is Always Yes” “It kind of existed as a series of verses that were like vignettes of inconvenience, or discomfort, or just things not really going your way. And I wanted to counter-response these really detailed descriptions and images with a very holistic, definite statement. And I was scrolling through my phone and at some point I had written, ‘The answer is always yes.’ And I was like, I think that's the message. After writing the song I remember listening to it and I was like, I think this is the crux of the record. That's the title for the record.”

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