Speaking to Lucy Rose ahead of the release of her new album, it’s clear she’s feeling torn. “Some days I feel good about it,” she offers up, contemplating the wait that lies ahead, “some days I feel terrified about it. It changes a lot.” Conflict is an idea that plays a big part throughout her latest offering. Even within its opening lines - “Conversation don’t come easy / But I’ve got a lot to say” - ‘No Words Left’ presents its author in the midst of an internal debate.
Unlike anything the singer has put her name to before, it’s a record truly reflective of the circumstances in which it was created. Born after a year that she describes as “one of the hardest times of her life,” it’s an instrumentally-luscious album that sees Lucy pushing her own limits, experimenting with vocal tones and interludes which work to heighten its intensity. It’s also a record that simmers with a real sense of pain, somehow managing to feel both fresh and well-worn all at the same time. Dealing in disillusionment, isolation and reflection – three subjects which are becoming more and more prevalent for the current generation of young people - it’ll inevitably strike a chord with many of its listeners.
“It was just like a perfect storm, that period of time,” Lucy explains, “where everything that could possibly go wrong started going wrong, and [I was] just feeling like I didn’t know what to do anymore.” On tracks like ‘Solo(w)’, these feelings are put on stark display: “It’s true I’m afraid of the morning, I’m afraid of the evening / But I can’t help it when I am so low, pretending that I have a purpose”. Throughout her conversation today, it’s evidently a difficult process for Lucy to open up about.
“It’s hard because I don’t want to talk about it, but I don’t want to be one of those people that says ‘I don’t want to talk about it’.”
“With some of the things that life throws at you - personal things - and the hardships of life…” she offers up, “I guess that’s more what this album’s about. It’s so deeply personal, it feels like it’s sort of judging me as a person. It’s very difficult. There are such great expectations of ourselves and what we should be; an idea in our head of how perfect we could all be, and then you’re just constantly disappointed by yourself because of your unrealistic expectations.”
Unsurprisingly, the recording process also wasn’t the easiest, but for Lucy – once again returning to work with Tim Bidwell, who produced her previous ‘Something’s Changing’ – it was important to ensure the raw emotions of her tracks remained intact. “Since the last record, [Tim and his wife] have become really great friends of my husband and I, and we really enjoy their company. There was an element of trust there and I felt like the songs that I was writing were so personal that that trust was the most important thing going forward; I had to be at ease to get the right delivery of the song,” she explains. “At the time when I’d just written them, I thought it’d be most powerful to record them in that present moment, instead of them somehow – after you’ve played them over and over again - becoming different. I wanted to capture the difficulty I had singing them those first few times.”
It’s this that gives the record its sense of powerful necessity: while it is, at times, an uncomfortable insight into the mindset of someone using her music to gain some clarity, it’s also a record which sees Lucy – perhaps unknowingly – open up about a human experience which so many of us are constantly faced with. “It’s hard because I don’t want to talk about it, but I don’t want to be one of those people that says ‘I don’t want to talk about it’. It’s so difficult…” she says, epitomising our internal struggle to be open but private with our struggles all at the same time. And while she may not yet be ready to speak about the events of that year, with ‘No Words Left’, she’s opened herself up in a wholly brave and different way.
‘No Words Left’ is out now via Communion.