MUSICAL BRILLIANCE: A TALK WITH LISSIE
from the archives.
Lissie is as cute as a coy kitten — those freckles! — and she’s got a penchant for on-stage tequila shots. SHK chatted with the burgeoning rock goddess about her promising new LP.
Like most, I discovered then fell in love with crooner Lissie as a result of her incredible YouTube cover of Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness.” As seen in the video, which, PS, boasts a million+ views, Lissie is as cute as a coy kitten (those freckles, those disheveled blonde hair whips!). PLUS the Southern sweetie has also got a penchant for on-stage tequila shots (video below & here). In other words, what’s not to love? Then there’s that voice. Holy fuck. Let’s discuss those guttural higher-than-a-hot-air-balloon notes and that gravelly, don’t-fuck-with-me tone, which somehow still remains so crystal clear. That bit on “Pursuit,” where the vocals grow and grow, and then, suddenly she’s all like, “You rather…! Lay awake…! In a bed. Full of. Sorrow!!!” (take note of the pauses in between lyrics— they are musical brilliance)… It’s so rafter-shaking, major goosebumps-inducing kinds of amazing.
Unsurprisingly, Lissie’s debut LP, ‘Catching A Tiger,’ is my go-to subway ride album, because it really makes you feel thangs and distracts me from the subway crazies. I did not doubt that she could do it again, but somehow, on Lissie’s forthcoming album, ‘Back To Forever,’ she’s done it even better. Take, for instance, her latest single, “Further Away (Romance Police),” which is my personal summer anthem. It’s a lovelorn rock ballad, but not in a Lana del Rey damsel-in-distress sort of way, though it’s not a total bitter SATC bitter Miranda Hobbes moment either (Miranda to Carrie after pausing an episode of Jules and Mimi: “I am so fucked up. I am never going to be happy. It’s just not going to happen for me.”) . It’s a little in between. “Does anyone love anyone anymore?” she belts to stupid cupid. “Take what they want, take it and run out the door…” (There’s also a brilliant tune on the LP called “Love in the City,” and with lyrics like “Maybe love don’t live in the city?”, it could’ve been Carrie’s theme song.) You’ll just have to wait until October 8th when the album debuts to fully understand. In related news, I caught up with my favorite burgeoning rock goddess and she spilled about the forthcoming LP, never taking her own advice, and her thoughts on those Stevie Nicks comparisons. — ALEX CATARINELLA
“Further Away (Romance Police)” — Lissie
SHK: Your song “Further Away (Romance Police)” is all kinds of incredible. But it’s not the typical love song. Is it even a love song? It makes me feel both empowered and sad. Especially that “Does anyone love anyone anymore?” bit.
LISSIE: Well, it is, it’s a love song. But when writing this album, I didn’t have a real bad heartbreak necessarily — I experienced a couple of little disappointments and rejections. ‘Catching A Tiger,’ my first album, was written when I kind of felt like I had lost my first great love. Whereas this album, most of it is from that perspective of heartache and rejection, but I was able to see all of the different sides of all of the people involved and write a better, more well-rounded story. With “Further Away,” it’s almost more of a cautionary tale — I’ve been there, I’ve done that. It’s about those kinds of people who are magnetic and charismatic and sexy, and they draw you in and then they kind of give you some of themselves, but you never really get to keep them. You know you should turn around and walk away because it’s gonna end badly, but you don’t. You stick around for all of that pain.
So you actually ARE the romance police.
Yeah! It’s more of me trying to warn someone else: “You’re not gonna be able to keep this person.” You know, you need them but you don’t get to keep them. You just need to shake them off and you’re gonna have to walk away. Or you can stay and get your heart crushed. I’m like the “romance police,” that’s my job.
Would you say you are a realist? AKA you’re totally the Miranda Hobbes.
No, I’m a hopeless romantic. In theory, I’m giving this sort of advice but I wouldn’t follow it. I’d be like, “Give me more pain! I’m in love with you!”
So, you’re a Carrie. (Sorry, I’ve been watching SATC reruns as of late…) Anyway, your insanely powerful cover of Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness” really got you noticed, big time. But are you sick of performing it just yet?
I still love performing it, man. It’s like the only reason most people in the United States know who I am. Whenever I play that, it’s usually after I’ve had a little bit of tequila too and it’s the last song of the night and I let go. I’m just like “aaah!!” My hair’s everywhere, I’m just kicking my leg and being really aggressive and being like, “Tell me what you know about dreamin, you don’t really know about nothin’!” It never gets old saying that. I think we’ll just keep doing it for a while — I can’t imagine us stopping. More people keep get turned onto it — it still has a life of its own so why not just do it if it’s fun.
My feelings exactly. Any covers in the works? (Miley please.)
I am trying to figure a song out, but I kind of like letting it be a surprise so I can’t tell you. It’s basically a full-on rap song so I’ve been trying to learn how to rap. It’s not going very well! Rapping’s hard!
CANNOT WAIT. So, the YouTubers LOVE comparing you to Stevie Nicks. Awesome compliment? Annoying? Spill it.
I think it’s a huge compliment — I’m super flattered and I think it’s awesome. As long as people don’t think I’m deliberately trying to copy her, because I’m not. As long as it comes across that I’m still my own thing, then I think it’s great. I listen to some Fleetwood Mac and I definitely admire Stevie Nicks a lot and I’ve had some moments in my life when I’ve listened to more Fleetwood Mac than others. The song “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac — I love how it breaks down in the middle and it builds back up. I have always said I want a song that has a moment like that, but I wouldn’t even say we could get close because that song is just sheer brilliance. I rather be compared to Stevie Nicks than to some shitty artist that I don’t like!
Let’s talk about the album’s title, ‘Back To Forever.’ I love that title.
That’s also the name of the closing track on the album. It’s a song about being nostalgic and sort of aching and longing for the past, but also addressing your roots and where you’re from as like where your soul will go to when you go. When you’re young, the idea of forever is this real thing — forever is right in front of you. And then when you’re thirty, it’s like, “we don’t have forever anymore!” It’s you trying to get back to that feeling you had when you had forever.