Things We Don't Talk About

Things We Don't Talk About

As confessional as it is relatable, the fourth album from Capetonian singer-songwriter Jimmy Nevis reveals an artist navigating love and relationships with brutal honesty—and clever wordplay. “I found myself just not talking about a lot of stuff, even with my friends and my family,” Nevis tells Apple Music. “I'm a very private person, and I grew up in a space where you really don't talk about certain things—and I was very much okay with that. But it became really important to ask myself, ‘What do I want? What do I want as an artist, as a person?’ And I wanted more. It kind of feels like I get to update everybody on my life. I think it's easier for me to write a song than it is to have a conversation. But I think in vulnerability, there's a lot of relatability.” As personal as the project is, Nevis’ hope for Things We Don’t Talk About is for it to give rise to conversations within communities that tend to shy away from certain issues. “I've seen with some of my songs in the past how they've created conversation,” he explains, “and I didn't realise how important it was for me to feel like I'm making space for people like me in every form, whether it be in sexuality or race or upbringing. I also think in certain communities and families, people are very selective in the way they choose to love. People are so scared. As a person of colour who grew up in a very conservative space, even amongst friends, there's a lot of misinformation. I'd like to think that I can bring these topics up in a fresh way, and spark some type of conversation in some of the awkward and uncomfortable moments.” Here, he breaks down the album, track by track. F.B.A “‘F.B.A’ Stands for ‘F**k Boys Anonymous’. It's a concept song which speaks about sending f**k boys to an AA group, where they learn better skills against ghosting and blue ticking, and just learn to be better people. I was seeing someone, and I like to talk about it as if I entered the f**k boy multiverse, because it was an epiphany of realising that I'm seeing a f**k boy, but I'm recognising my own f**k boy-ness while I'm doing this. It's almost talking to that one person, but the second verse zooms out and just speaks about f**k boy culture as a whole. The song acknowledges that you're also part of the problem. And so, the line says, 'I'm an accomplice to your f**k boy ways,’ because I let that shit happen. I didn't put up my boundaries. I didn't follow all the red flags and the signs.” Ayo “The original title of this was ‘The Hoe Song’, and the song is about being a hoe. So the line goes, ‘I think I'm going to be ayo.’ It's written for somebody like me, where at the time, I think I just was so in a structure and I was like, ‘Yo, I need to get out.’ We changed it to make it more commercial. And ‘ayo’ is a subliminal line for, ‘I think I'm going to be a hoe this summer’. At first, people [thought it meant] 'Oh, I think I'm going to be okay, like A-okay.’ And I was like, ‘Sure’.” “Small Spaces” “It reminds me a lot of growing up and going to Jazzathons and growing up with [the music of] Sibongile Khumalo—this really classy South African jazz sound. It's one of the few love songs—the rest of the album is just pure savagely. I think it was semi-inspired by something I heard from Tracee Ellis Ross; she was [saying that] just because you may not have won a certain award, it doesn't mean you aren't worthy of it. And in a love space, in the times that people don't see—they mean just as much as the things that we do see. Coming home to somebody and being quiet with them. And somebody who can see you for are.” “Touch Me” “I knew I wanted to do something that was Afrobeats inspired, and I just couldn't get [South African singer-songwriter Dawnay’s 2001 single] ‘Touch Me’ out of my head. And then I ended up by chance speaking to somebody who had the rights to the song, and before I knew it, we ended up just making a banger. It's such a cool track.” “Butterflies” “I'm obsessed with the ‘90s, so ‘Butterflies’ was very intentional. Shaney Jay produced that; we were like, 'Let's do something that is unusual for us to do’—he makes a lot of hip-hop and trap, but he's also really good at making other genres. It's so sassy.” “Breaking Up With You” “For me, there was someone—sometimes there is still someone—where I don't want to go back to what we had, but I miss it, and I miss who I was when I was with them. And I sometimes still imagine a different future. ‘Breaking Up With You’ is an honest look at how sometimes you just never get over someone. And sometimes it's not even real—you’re breaking up with an idea that you had of them. I was in Greece swimming, and I was there with friends, and there's always that time on your vacation where you're like, 'Ah, it will be so cool if I had someone special to share this with.' And then I started writing the chorus: ‘It's been three years and you found someone new/But I'm still breaking up with you’. It's weird when we look back, we don't remember the bad times. It's about accepting that you may not ever fully get over somebody, even though you don't ever want to go back there.” “Levels” (feat. Kaien Cruz & Hanna) “I remember talking to Kaien, and we had completely different perspectives [on dating]. And she ‘became’ the person I was writing about, and we were kind of that for each other in that space. It speaks about looking at dating culture, and how we don't really get to go that far [in dating] because [of] people's insecurities—and in my experience, red flags. The chorus goes, 'I can only love you as far as you love yourself.' I don't want to commit to something that I feel is not going to work with me. I'm done with that. It explains getting into a relationship, and then falling out of it. And I really wanted it to feel like an argument almost; our voices kind of travel over each other.” “Fifa” “I was seeing somebody who is very much into soccer and FIFA, and there was a shift in the vibe. I do this thing where I'll write a song about you, and then I'll invite you to come sit with me, and I'll play it for you. I love word play, and so I was completely inspired by this situation. I was feeling like I was being taken for granted. It just takes on that narrative of feeling neglected, feeling like you're being used.” “DL” “It’s kind of self-explanatory, but I think this one is more of a comment on how many people are on the DL. And it's not just in queer culture, but I think you can create these guilty pleasures in your life, even through hookups. And you don't really know much about people, but you can find yourself in situations where that may go against your character and your morals. It’s a journey of your ‘last hit’; that one last time. I think anyone who over-invests into certain guilty pleasures is trying to get out of it. The end is kind of this mantra of just rejecting what isn't for you, and kind of realigning with your character.” “Roommates” “I’m at the age where a lot of my friends are getting married, or they've been together for a long time, and so the conversations are different. It's a very normal thing for people in a loving relationship to kind of feel like roommates in the same house, because you can live ‘past’ each other. I was inspired by how much work it takes to really create a successful living situation with a partner, so that you prioritise time [together] and acknowledge the work that comes with that. But I think that song also looks at [sitting] in the mess. ‘We are in this mess right now. I'm trying to catch you. When did you fall out of love?’ I don't think the song really comes to resolution. You don't know if they're going to make up or break up.” “Inconsolable” “It's about not being fixed. I don't need to be fixed right now. Now is the time to fall apart. I don't need advice. That's not what this is. It's time to be inconsolable. Let's sit even deeper in the mess. It's that point where you cannot run from yourself anymore. And it's not even processing, I think it's just letting things out, whether it be through tears or rage. It's about being semi-irrational. It's out of character, it's out of your normal processing mind. And I think that that song is beautiful because it sounds so sensitive.”

Other Versions

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada