LP Walkthru: Soccer Mommy - Sometimes, Forever
We get the in-depth story behind every track on the indie superstar’s brilliant new album
Since bursting onto the scene in 2018 with her stunning debut album Clean, Zurich-born and Nashville based singer, songwriter and musician Sophie Allison AKA Soccer Mommy has rapidly built a following the world round, wooing fans with her infectious, atmospheric and emotional indie rock and pop.
Showing an incredible work ethic, having toured constantly and now having fallen into an “every two years” album release pattern, Allison’s star continues to rise, having now released her third album in the form of the awesome Sometimes, Forever,
Solidifying her as one of the most interesting songwriters in the indie world in 2022, Sometimes, Forever sees Allison building on the Soccer Mommy we’ve come to know and love - not just expanding on her “turn-of-the-millennium sensibilities”, but also her addictive, catchy and instantly recognizable blend of indie pop and rock goodness.
Rather than let us just describe the record, we thought it would be better to jump on the line with Allison and get the story behind each track on the album straight from the source!
I actually wrote this song like I was trying to write it for a rom com. Basically, I got some kind of email, like, a Netflix rom com series asked me about writing a song for the next movies, the soundtrack or something. And I was on a break from touring and stuff, I was like “this sounds like fun, I think I can do that” and cranked out Bones. And like, pretty instantly, I sent it over to my manager, and I was pretty immediately like,” I just actually want to keep that and I’ll send another one”. And then I sent rom com, funny enough, and I was like, ”actually, I'm going to keep that as well”. So yeah, those are both some rom com movie songs. But yeah, both just kind of - I wanted to get that feeling in, in a rom com when you think all is lost, get that kind of moment when you think that you've ruined something, basically. And yeah, I just kind of wanted to capture that because I think that that slightly self-destructive nature is very relatable to me personally, but I'm sure it's relatable to a lot of people. And it's very easy bait for writing a song… very easy.
With U is one that I didn't think would become a favorite of mine, but I do, I really love this one. The recording, essentially, outside of the songwriting, the recording just feels very… there's not that many overdubs on it. It's just very, like, it sounds like how it did when we just recorded the basic tracking, it’s a little bit beefed up, but it's very, like, feels very true to the song and to the live performance of it. And the song itself is one that I wrote, thinking about the beauty of a deeply intimate, loving relationship, but also all of the pain and stuff that comes from that not necessarily from, you know, like, any sort of hurtful things that are happening between two people but more - I think it's a very beautiful thing to be able to share your pain with someone, to share your stress with someone and have them you know, to be there for that and vice versa. I think it's a beautiful thing when you really care about someone, to be able to, you know, be able to take a little bit of their pain or their stress or anxiety and be able to share that with them. It's a very intimate thing. So I wanted to capture that, the layers kind of, you know, a very long lasting, intimate love.
Unholy is one of the kind of different ones on the record, obviously, for a lot of stuff that we've done in the past. I think I've kind of edged toward this dark, you know, slightly electronic stuff before but it was really cool to get to do this because the song itself, like even the the demo that I made was very… it had this sort of mechanical vibe and had, you know, like sampled drums and I missed the demo. And it just, it just felt very dark and grungy and kind of, yeah, mechanical robotic, a little bit, and I wanted to have that kind of tidiness come over, into the track itself. And Dan [Daniel Lopatin, producer] brought that sequencer part and all that stuff in like, it was day two, when we were recording that song, and he had worked on it with the demo tracks that I had sent over. Like, literally just in his Airbnb, the night before and we were all like, “this is so cool, this is perfect!”. I think the cool part about it is that, while it has all the, you know, kind of dark electronics synthy stuff, it also really keeps that live band feeling like, playing it live was not very hard for us to work out, you know, we didn't have to, like, reconfigure a lot of stuff, it's still basically just this synth part. And Raul, the drummer, that's live drums, him drumming over that - he literally just went in the in tracking room and started going crazy over the beat to use a bunch of it. So it still has that live band feeling, and it even cuts into that for a little bit of the song. But it also pushes it in a new direction that I think is really cool.
Shotgun’s kinda like the lush, poppy song a little bit. I think when I wrote this song, I just kind of knew that that chorus was going to - it had single potential obviously, and it just felt so infectious, even just singing it because it's very repetitive. And it's just kind of like that feeling, the punchiness, it really makes you just kind of feel it. And when we recorded the track, we were able to get that kind of underlying sense of kind of like a dark edge to it, but especially in the verses it kind of just blooms. For some reason, every time we listen to it, it made me think of like, in the studio when we were working on it, those big guitar strings that are really washy in a sense made me think of like, space - of outer space. I don't know why it did, it’s just a thing that I have not mentioned before, but it always made me feel like I was an astronaut for a second. I just felt very otherworldly, like a take off. And I could see that it's kind of like, yeah, it felt like I was looking at like a galaxy. I don't know why this is, it's such a weird thing, but that is how I felt literally every time I felt like we were blasting off into space. Every time that the chorus came in. But it's a lift, you know, that feeling of lift and that just like it makes it so enjoyable to listen to this, you know, repetitive thing that's just kind of upbeat and fun.
This one, I really loved it when I wrote it. But I demoed it just like guitar and vocal and I was always like, “I have no idea how we're going to record this? Is it going to be a solo song? Is it going to have like drums and stuff?”. I just had literally no idea how we were going to work it out, which made me a little nervous and I even thought I want to try to record it but I kind of thought it wouldn't make the record. And then we just recorded Dan was “like, Oh my God. No, no, this one is going, this is gonna be awesome!”. And I was like, “okay, let's see what we got!”, you know, and we went in and I recorded some guitar and vocal basically just like what the demo was like, and Dan started adding all this like, very magical synth stuff around it. And as soon as he started playing on his keyboard and playing the synth line that's going on in the chorus, I was like, “Okay, I am excited… actually, I'm really pumped about this now”. And it just turned out to feel so amazing like this and it was a cool way of recording like, you know, I was getting a lot of like, vocal harmonies that I haven't usually done a tonne of, but I think it ended up sounding really cool. And it turned out to be this really beautiful song that is kind of, kind of sad, kind of hopeful, kind of not. But because it feels magical, I really always thought it felt like the like, and like his synth parts felt so like end music of a Studio Ghibli movie or something. Like rolling the credit, I just thought it felt so magical and pretty. So yeah, I'm obsessed with all this stuff Dan did.
[And the song’s name?]
So when I recorded the demo, I always, you know, just record a demo at home and, you know, you give the files these names. They don't have a song name, like stuff like new track, untitled, you know. And this one was called newdemo, and I put it in the demo folder, and I kept trying to think of a name and I never could. And then by the time we were in the studio, it was just like, we're all calling it newdemo. There's no other name ideas. You know, I was just like, it is newdemo at this point. It's no getting around it. You can't imagine giving it a name and like not calling it newdemo anymore. Yeah. So that’s how it kept the name, and that's kind of why I wanted to have it be all one word to to kind of keep the original track track file intact.
Darkness Forever is one I'm really excited for people to hear, having not been a single or anything. I'm super pumped about it because it feels very heavy. It's very creepy. The whole plot in the song is this idea. Like I was really obsessed with this idea for a little bit of like fire being this cleansing source and thinking of like, witches and stuff like that just kind of, like the purifying nature of it rather than just destruction. And I kind of came up with a story in my brain of like, someone, you know, kind of feeling as if they're being tormented and, you know, researching into it and becoming kind of freaked out and feeling like they’ve got demons after them, or, you know, possessing them or whatever, and deciding to burn down their home and their their body to expel all of the evil. So, that's the plot and the song is very, like, it's very - the verses like kind of creep along you know, it's very slow and it's got this kind of like gentle nature to the verses that is kind of creepy and then gets to just, like, explode in the chorus with this. Like, super heavy, dark, and I don't know if anyone will completely realize that this is what this is, but I got to do a crazy horror scream. The beginning of the first chorus, it's very subtle. People might think it's like something else. But it is a horror scream that I did, and I now know that I do an absolutely amazing piercing scream. Very loud for sure, because I stood about like 20 feet back on the mic, and I had never screamed like that, like ever in my life. And Dan was like “this would be so cool”, and I was like “it might not sound good…” Like I don't know how my scream really sounds and I like you know, took a breath and just kind of screamed as loud as I could and it was in the studio. It was reverberating. It was honestly terrifying. When I stopped I just started laughing hysterically. I was like,”That was insanely loud!” Because it's just like, you know, the acoustics were echoing and I was like, “was that really loud in there?!” And the engineer was like, “Yeah… I'm gonna come adjust some of the levels.” *laughs*
Don’t Ask Me
This is a fun fact - my press person, it's her favorite. I really like it because you know, it's really upbeat, it's just kind of upbeat and loud the whole time - usually we’re very dynamic. It's really fun to play this one because it's just like, everybody's fuzzed out and just, you know, kind of going for it, the guys have this really fun double solo that they did at the end that I think is so cool. So it's just kind of like, you know, fun and upbeat and fuzzy, and the song itself really lends to it, in my opinion, because it's very much about like, just kind of being in a point where you feel this like, sense of numbness that is bliss in a way and kind of deciding to just give into it and enjoy it. But also, you know, there's this creeping feeling in the back of your head that everything's gonna come back around and other things that you know have been troublesome for you in the past will return and it's just a period of calm before the storm.
Fire In The Driveway
This is one of the only songs that we have not been playing live but I think I'm gonna do it on my own. So I need to relearn it - fun fact. But this one is very special to me personally, I think it's not the type of you know, it's not just that type of thing that I would have an idea to write a song like this all the time. I don't know what other people imagine it's about but I know what it's about for me and it's just kind of like having a, you know, a close relationship with someone and caring for someone deeply but basically realizing that you can't can't be there for them anymore. You can't do it anymore with them and you know and you understand and you feel - it's sad to imagine letting someone go, but at the same time it's like kind of, you know, taking a selfish stop to like not not deal with somebody's stuff anymore and it's very, like - it's not a song about something like your dog or something where you're kind of angry and you want this escape. It's more like a horribly sad and painful decision to to like, you know, let somebody out of your lives,
Following Eyes is my attempt at a ghost story. I read a lot of horror, and most of the horror I read, like I read stuff like HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, so it's kind of older stuff. And I just love older horror like that. Because it can be so like, the language can be so romantic and beautifully descriptive. And then it's got like, it's just like creepy Gothic themes and these kind of like, you know, terrors that - obviously you're not sitting there actually horrified and it's scary but it's really creepy. And cool. And I just love that kind of stuff. And I think when I was writing the song, I wrote this, you know, guitar line that was kind of vibey and creepy. And it's interesting tuning and I really wanted to write a spooky tale to go with it, I wanted to tell a tale of of horror, and terror and I wanted to be able to really, you know, take a page from from those writers and kind of, like, be able to have a descriptive visual and have this haunting imagery and all this stuff to make it a creepy story, rather than just being something like, you know, gorey or, or anything like that.
Feel It All The Time
Feel It All The Time is my country song attempt. I mean, it's not obviously actually fully a country song, but it leans that way a little and I just, I really wanted to write it for a long time, I've wanted to work my truck into a song in some kind of romantic aspect. And I thought this was the perfect opportunity, I kind of created this. I mean, I remember when I was sitting there writing it, my truck was literally sitting out in the driveway, as the line says, and I wanted to kind of take this truck, which I love. She's very old, and kind of like - imagine this like, almost desire personally to be like mechanical and be a piece of machinery in the sense. Because like as I’m thinking of this truck, and it's just like chugging along, it's almost literally as old as me and just just keeps on trucking or something breaks, you fix it, and it keeps going. And kind of comparing that to my old self and feeling, you know, exhausted and feeling like you can't go any further and say like, you do push yourself till you break, but you can't keep going, you can't go that far. And I wanted to kind of create this idea with that and also capture some of that feeling of freedom that I personally feel, like, you know, just kind of driving with the windows down slow, music turned up, the temperature - everyone knows that great feeling on a beautiful day, getting to have that sense of lightness and freedom. And I wanted to capture that as well, and this is that feeling of like, escape.
Still is the first song I wrote actually, for this album back in the end of summer 2019 in fact, and it's one that's very close to my heart. I really I remember writing it, it just came so instantly that like, I remember playing around with this chord progression on guitar, which is the chord progression that goes through the entire song, I'm thinking it was really pretty nice and just like, almost wanted to just like fall asleep playing it, really enjoying it. And I remember being in the car later and thinking of the opening line, and when I sat down to write it again, it just kind of all came really easily. So it's obviously a very heavy one. But for me, it's also, I mean, I think now it's kind of a nice reminder of growth and, you know, low points and now not being at those low points, it's kind of a weirdly nice thing to be able to look back and see like a concrete depiction of what you were feeling and know that you're not there anymore, but also be able to relate to it in a sense. And yeah, I just think it's always felt very like, just like, kind of like crooning, you know, like, it just kind of goes just one chord progression the whole time. The recording especially just has this really nice - I used to pedal to like make this vocal loop. It's really high and like really reverby and just has all these kind of like washy, loose sounds. It's really pretty, it has nice guitar parts. It's simple, but it's really nice and beautiful.