Barrie’s new album is a testament to what life can look and feel like when we slow down and soak in life’s little moments: An intimate and raw record of presence and connection, ‘Barbara’ is stunningly warm, radiant, and captivating.
Stream: “Quarry” – Barrie
Ferris Bueller taught us to slow down and be more present in our everyday: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” It’s a valuable lesson worth learning and relearning; one we must practice daily and often. Barrie’s new album is a testament to what life can look and feel like when we take this philosophy to heart: An intimate and raw record of presence and connection, Barbara is stunningly warm, radiant, and captivating.
Cooped up so long
Woke up when you called
Hiding out and sleeping
You called me out for creeping
Dripping blood from your foot at the quarry
Hit bottom and you stay just to scare me
Shouting naked at the rock up above you
Baby, I love you
– “Quarry,” Barrie
Released March 25, 2022 via Winspear, Barbara is not only Barrie’s sophomore LP, but the first since Barrie Lindsay reintroduced her self-titled band as a solo project; the outfit released its debut album Happy To Be Here as a five-piece in 2019.
“Going into the creation of this record, it was important to me that I wrote, played, and produced everything on this album myself,” Barrie tells Atwood Magazine. “My wife and I had long talks about the value of working on an album alone versus collaboratively, and I landed on the former. I wanted to hear what I would do if left completely to my own devices, and I wanted to prove to myself that I could produce a finished, polished album that I was satisfied with. I stuck to that, mostly, though I did ask for a lot of input from my wife regarding the lyrics and production.”
My shoes don’t fit, my head is tight
I watch the basketball Passing by
Come on, Barrie, do it right, come on
Come on, Barrie, do it right, come on
Why am I left standing alone? Basketball
Let my knees give under me
Feel my fist go white, basketball
I float off from the wall like a flake of paint
They lose me honestly with a thoughtful fake
Put my head up to my hands
Come on, put my belly in the sand, come on
– “Basketball,” Barrie
Blending genres and breaking out of traditional songwriting structures, Barbara feels unencumbered and free.
Barrie’s many talents – as a songwriter, a vocalist, a multi-instrumentalist, a producer, and a performer – all shine exceptionally bright on this incredibly diverse yet impressively cohesive journey into the artist’s visceral depths.
Speaking candidly in conversation with Atwood Magazine, Barrie explains how this album came into being:
“I was on tour, and had been touring for a really long time, and needed a break to spend time with my family while my dad was sick with cancer,” she recalls. “During that break I got to have a lot of time to reflect, and I realized I needed to slow down, process what was going on in my life, and spend time at home. Coincidentally, I had also just met the person who would later become my wife. All of these forces combined are what led to the creation of the songs that would make up the album. Barbara captures my artistry in that it showcases what I’m capable of as a songwriter, instrumentalist, and producer at this moment in time. I got to play a lot of interesting instruments on this record that I’d been hoping to get to record for a while, like harp, flute, trumpet, and dulcimer.”
“Once the album was finished and I was trying to come up with a title, my wife suggested that the album be self-titled, since I put so much emphasis on making it myself. After we talked it over, however, we decided Barbara was more apt. Barbara is my legal name, but I’ve been Barrie my whole life, since Barbara is kind of a big name for a little kid. It feels almost like a moniker, a name I use for situations that warrant a more official title. Barbara seemed perfect for the album, because I liked the idea of a bit of separation between myself, Barrie, and what I choose to show to the public.”
Don’t get caught, baby you’re going off
Talk shit again and they’ll scratch up your car
Getting drunk on your balcony, can you let me sleep
I was never your enemy, why did you steal my keys?
I’m a bully
I’m a bully with a crush
Come on look at me
I wanna talk, I wanna touch
You keep on asking
My favorite song by The Doors
And I don’t care
I don’t care about Star Wars
On a porch with begonias
Kicking flowers with your feet
You had to suffer with a name like that
But you can walk late on the street alone
– “Bully,” Barrie
From the charmingly sun-kissed opener “Jersey” to the achingly tender finale “Bloodline,” Barbara fills the airwaves with a seductive combination of reflection, wonder, hope, and yearning. Highlights include the sweeping, synth-soaked “Frankie,” the subtle, eruptive fever dream “Basketball,” and the intensely up-close and personal “Bully” – a gentle upheaval that finds Barrie wearing her heart squarely on her sleeve.
“I think ‘Harp 2’ is the unsung hero of the album,” Barrie says. “It’s too gauzy to be a single, but I think it hits the hardest.” Meanwhile as a lyricist, she cites the line, “Go love yourself, it matters / You’ll love the rest in time” from the pulsing, ethereal “Concrete” as her favorite – “mostly because I believe in the message,” she explains. “Took me a long time to internalize.”
Caught up in a moment
Listing to the left
Everything we’ve chosen
We talk about to death
A peace hero in wartime
I’m not one to fight
To let go of completely
Some cowboy of the mind
How you make your habits
How you fill your time
Go love yourself, it matters
You’ll love the rest in time
– “Concrete,” Barrie
Beautifully and unapologetically vulnerable, Barbara is an easy standout in 2022.
It’s a pop album, an alternative album, and even a bit of an “indie folk” album all at once: A wondrous musical hybrid built off sweetly charged emotions. Even when Barrie sings as soft as a whisper, her music feels like a resolute roar: One that is fragile, yet impassioned and full of inner strength.
“I hope people take away whatever they need to take away from it,” Barrie shares. “I love that music has that ability; the same lyrics and melodies can speak to all different kinds of people in all different kinds of situations.” Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Barrie’s Barbara with Atwood Magazine as the artist goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of her debut album!
Stream: ‘Barbara’ – Barrie
:: Inside Barbara ::
This song was written after writing some moodier, cerebral songs, so I wanted to write something happy and upbeat. I had a lot of fun writing this song. It’s one of the two songs on the record on which I played drums, which was really cathartic and pure fun. I was listening to a lot of Frankie Cosmos at the time, which is what inspired the lyrics.
The idea for this song began as a meditative, synthy, repetitive, dance track. Ultimately, on top of that, it became somewhat political as I was reflecting on capitalism and labor culture in the US.
“Jenny” is about meeting my wife on tour. The lyrics refer to specific moments and memories of meeting and being around her, and the feeling of falling in love, but musically, I wanted to make something universal. Something accessible and relatable and timeless.
This song is about finding the courage to discover who you are and embody that. I gave this song an intentionally dark, spooky sound, because depending on how you were raised, taking up that much space and energy for yourself can make you feel like a villain. However, the major chord in the last chorus is meant to feel triumphant; it’s the moment when you realize that it’s a positive, powerful experience to allow yourself to be yourself.
When I wrote “Dig,” it was the middle of the night in my parents’ garage. I was super tired, feeling a combination of intense and conflicting feelings from what was going on in my life. I was both distraught and elated, and something unlocked in me. I hit record and just started shouting, “I can’t get enough of you” from across the room, something I’ve never gotten to do when recording in my NYC apartment. It felt so cathartic! The rest of the song came together around that feeling of just letting something out.
I wanted to write a song like “Teenage Dirtbag,” but at the time I had a dulcimer in my hand. I love the drone of a dulcimer, and its tonality made me want to make a lush, gentle-feeling song. That softness grounded the chaotic speaker in “Bully.” That song also has one of my favorite sounds on the record: the duck-like lap steel that comes in in the final chorus.
Harp 2 Interlude
This song is very important to me because it has two instruments on it which are special to me: the harp, which I inherited from my maternal grandmother, and the lap steel, which my dad and I bought together to share. On a six-week tour in 2019, my band and I picked up the harp in Vancouver and drove it all the way back to Massachusetts, where my neighbor and close family friend repaired and strung it up for me. It was so exciting to get to play an instrument that instantly sounds good when you pick it up.
One of my dad and my favorite things to do together was to go to guitar shops. On one of his visits to NYC, we visited our favorite shop in brooklyn and played this 1952 Fender Champion lap steel for over an hour, so we decided to buy it together and share it. He, in his fashion, became a very adept player of it, learning the classic way to play the instrument. I, on the other hand, tried to find out what unusual sounds it was capable of producing. For this song, I lowered the pitch of the lap steel so it took on an ethereal, but also grounding texture.
On tour, we were covering “A Walk In The Park,” by Beach House, which has this lyric, “The face that you see in the door isn’t standing there anymore.” That lyric punched me in the gut every time we covered the song, so that sentiment was the starting point for this track.
“Quarry” is about the experience of falling in love in isolation. It’s somewhat diaristic, but perhaps not in the usual way, since it also relies on the music to convey about half of the emotions. It’s actually a bit of a musical rollercoaster, with its explosive arpeggiated synths, disjointed drums, the rhythmic second verse that never repeats, and the effusive, climactic final chorus that ends as quickly as it explodes.
This song is a fever dream. I had so much fun making this song. It started as a somewhat silly, 45-second demo that I included in the running to make it onto the album because it was interesting, but I never thought it would make the cut. My wife insisted that I at least flesh it out because it was her favorite of the bunch. She said she loved the lyrics to the chorus because they were so out of left field for me, compared to my older work. It turned out to be a really cool song.
I like to make orchestral arrangements, but they’re mostly for fun and never get used for albums or anything. I’m glad I got to lean into that on this song. I’d like to do more instrumentation like this down the line.
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? © Alexa Viscius
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