Premiere: Tyler Sjöström Dwells in the Throes of Love on “I Don’t Know You Don’t Know”

Tyler Sjostrom © Kevin J. Rose
Tyler Sjöström’s pulsing, dark electro-pop anthem “I Don’t Know You Don’t Know” captures the intimate emotions and uncertainties of unrequited love.

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I’ve got this lovin’ and it feels like a burnin’ spark…

It can be hard to have a crush – don’t we all know it. You can come up with so many reasons to keep your emotions a secret, but what good does that do? At the end of the day, you’ll still want to share your love – and it’ll eat you up inside until you tell that special someone how you really feel. Released in time for Valentine’s Day, Tyler Sjöström’s pulsing, dark electro-pop anthem “I Don’t Know You Don’t Know” captures the intimate emotions and uncertainties of unrequited love.

Where do I go from here
How do I fill my lungs with anything
I don’t know
I don’t know
‘Cause all of these words I want to say
All of these words I want to say with confidence
I don’t know
I don’t know
“I Don’t Know You Don’t Know” – Tyler Sjöström


Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “I Don’t Know You Don’t Know,” the exciting new single and a big step forward for Tyler Sjöström, whose Bones, Hold Me Up EP premiered on our site last May. 2018 finds the Chicago artist evolving musically, leaving his folk and Americana sounds for the time to dabble in the electronic and “pop” worlds – and the results are incredible. How is it that folk artists tend to nail the electronic sound on their first try?

I Don’t Know You Don’t Know - Tyler Sjostrom

I Don’t Know You Don’t Know – Tyler Sjostrom

How can I open my heart
Open up
Is this my only chance
I don’t know
I don’t know

Sjöström maintains his rich lyrical candor on “I Don’t Know You Don’t Know” as he swaps guitars and banjos for keyboards and synths. The cold clap of an electronic drum kit opens in tandem with a warm synth bed, heralding the new sound with dynamic clarity and finesse. Sjöström sounds like some mix of Jack Garratt, John Mayer and new-age James Bay, bursting into a soulful and explosive vocal-driven chorus, where high-flying synths and a cutting overdriven guitar emphasize his deep longing for that love interest:

Rollin’ in the dark
You’ve got me feeling
like I’m lovin’ without a heart
But you don’t know
You don’t know
That it’s been
Tearin’ me apart
I’ve got this lovin’
and it feels like a burnin’ spark

But you don’t know
You don’t know
Tyler Sjostrom © Kevin J. Rose

Tyler Sjostrom © Kevin J. Rose

“Unrequited love and the hopeless “friend-zone” is the genetic makeup of “I Don’t Know You Don’t Know,”” Sjöström explains. “Unknowingly, I channeled my own high school experience into this song. I’d been infatuated with a classmate/friend of mine for over two years. For those two torturous years I fantasized romance, felt self-inflicted, emotional rejection, until one day I confessed my love to her via AOL instant messenger. In the end I “got the girl” and the rest is high school history.”

How do I fight this fear
How do I share my song if I can’t sing
I don’t know
I don’t know
I’m going to lose my mind
If another day goes by and you know nothin’
Because you don’t know
You don’t know
Tyler Sjostrom © Kevin J. Rose

Tyler Sjostrom © Kevin J. Rose

Most folks don’t end up with finding their feelings reciprocated by the other party, but that’s not what “I Don’t Know You Don’t Know” is about: It’s a universal I love you but can’t tell you passion-play, an ode to our innermost hidden feelings – a raw, vulnerable heart-in-hand love song. “While everyone’s journey isn’t the same, anyone who’s had a crush, has been friend-zoned, or has loved from afar can relate to this song,” Sjöström rightly asserts. “It addresses the desire to confess one’s like/love for another and at the same time the crippling fear that comes with the thought of rejection.”

Sjöström says he intends to make 2018 a genre-bending and sound developing year, finding himself “with feet in both the Folk and Pop worlds, at times blending the two, and sometimes leaving them pure.” It’s safe to say that this first release dives deep down the rabbit hole, and hell if Sjöström didn’t nail the landing. The most striking characteristic of “I Don’t Know You Don’t Know” is perhaps its contrasting energies – the way it ebbs and flows to evoke emotion. Sjöström shared with Atwood Magazine some of the thought process behind that: “The verses are intentionally chill to contrast the chaos and energy that follows in the choruses. It mimics the ups and downs of the mental games we play within our minds when pursuing another. It seems one’s mind can go from one extreme to another when mentally wrestling with the idea of what to do as a youngster in the throes of love. We used a lot of synth sounds that we felt were exuded from ’80s love ballads, and felt just right.”

Working with Mark Sommerville, Kevin Rose and Jack Rose in production, Tyler Sjöström has managed to make a huge entrance in 2018, and we’re excited to follow this promising artist to watch as he continues to explore the intersection (and separation) of pop, folk, and more. “I Don’t Know You Don’t Know” is a song for everyone who embraces love: Who’s felt the fear of exposure, known the pain of vulnerability, but stayed true to their heart.

Bravo, Tyler Sjöström: Bravo!

Stream “I Don’t Know You Don’t Know” exclusively on Atwood Magazine!

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I Don’t Know You Don’t Know - Tyler Sjostrom

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📸 © Kevin J. Rose
artwork © Kara Shim

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Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com