Track x Track: Carla Geneve - Hertz
Award-winning singer-songwriter takes us through her highly anticipated & deeply personal sophomore album track by track
Image credit: Robin Bottrell
A year and a half on from her debut album Learn To Like It, Carla Geneve is back to showcase her emotional, storytelling songwriting, powerful vocals and raw vulnerability on album number two, the just released Hertz.
Across eleven tracks, Geneve examines a range of relatable aspects of the human condition through a new perspective following a period of intense growth and some major life changes.
“My experience had broadened - I'd been touring and working so hard for so long and then I finally had a chance to do not much at all. I was also diagnosed with bipolar at that time. Understanding the implications of that diagnosis is a big part of this album,” Carla explains.
A concept album, Hertz was not only inspired by Geneve’s bipolar disorder diagnosis, but is also a vulnerable documentation of this experience, with the album title reflecting the ups and downs of a mood cycle forming a frequency.
To get to know the songs on Hertz in depth, Carla was kind enough to take us through the album track by track:
For a long time I wanted to be older. When I look back at myself over the past few years, I sometimes wish I could have skipped over that naïve version of myself. It’s easy to want to just wake up and know now what you wished you’d known then. The song is about the inevitability of suffering, and in turn the inevitability of learning.
Drive Carefully is about being worried for the people you care about. It’s also about life as an artist and being defiant in your vulnerability, standing exposed in front of people that don’t do that on a daily basis, and witnessing a handful of them being angry that you can.
Jesus Take the Wheel
The song is about being overwhelmed at the thought of taking control over your life, something I was experiencing at the time of writing. Apparently, my subconscious still had a little inescapable optimism that things will always change for the better because it’s one of the happiest sounding songs on the record.
It’s about being entirely in love with someone that was stuck in a continuous work schedule doing something they hated. Money was the issue, but you can’t buy someone out of a bad situation, especially if you’ve got no cash either. I honestly think the song is ridiculous musically. I just wanted to make something completely different and out of my comfort zone. I laugh when I hear it, which is a nice feeling. It was refreshing to not take myself and my music too seriously.
This one is about the excess of emotion that many people experience, especially those suffering from bipolar. Sometimes I curse it because it hurts, and sometimes I curse it because it’s unrealistically euphoric. But ultimately, if we are all just bags of meat, or at the very least brains in vats, those chemical events (no matter how unbalanced) are really all that separates us from a meaningless void of apathy. I try not to be angry at having feelings anymore, just try to appreciate the fact I get to experience them. Being alive is awesome.
A song about the perpetuation of pain over generations. I wrote playschool after witnessing someone going through an incredibly difficult time with a mental health crisis.
Medically the definition of Euthymia is a mood state within the context of bipolar disorder that is neither manic nor depressive. It's about balance. Euthymia is egoless, positive and productive. This song is about peace, growth and being in control of what you’re feeling and doing.
Being drunk is to revel in a loss of control, short term joy, and at times sharing some of the most unbridled emotions you can feel with friends. The song is about our culture, especially in the music industry, of romanticising the excess of alcohol. I see alcohol as one of the biggest, and most unaddressed issues that musicians face in terms of physical and mental health. I’m honoured to have my beautiful friends Frankie and Pete on this track, I look up to them both as people able to express themselves with vulnerability and integrity.
I became obsessed with Hank Williams during a winter of feeling particularly hopeless. I spent a lot of time sitting and learning to finger pick in front of the TV. I couldn’t think of anything joyful, even though nothing was really going wrong in my life. I saw the world as cruel and inflicting meaningless apathy on kind people. That’s really not how it is but that’s how I saw and wrote it at the time.
This is a love song about sitting in a dusty back room. I had a moment of looking at someone and vividly being reminded of Botticelli’s Venus, only a grainy suburban version. It’s about spontaneous love, shameless love, and love that needs no explanation.
Creatures in the Water
This song was written as winter was becoming spring. Everywhere I looked, I could see colours and life and beauty. I was in a childlike state of joy. The world had a biblical overtone, the weight of how pretty it all felt almost unreal. I really wanted to end the record on a positive note, and I love that this song expresses a sense of wonder.
Carla Geneve's new album Hertz is out now via Dot Dash / Remote Control