Lovers “Figure 8″ (Influenza)
Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: Influenza, Music.
Few names garner such a remarkable endorsement as being called “an entrancing spell-caster,” but Lovers’ Carolyn Berk is one such person. While the founding member of the Portland-based trio first took on the band’s moniker nearly a decade ago, the story of the group’s current lineup comes down to a meeting some years later between friends far away from the Pacific Northwest: Brazil, to be exact. Circumstance found synth programmer Kerby Ferris and percussionist Emily Kingan meeting up with Berk in São Paulo, a conference which concluded with the friends deciding to build on their mutual admiration and combine their efforts. Following the release of I Am the West in 2009, the band is now on the brink of unleashing their new album: Dark Light, which is set to drop October 12 via Badman Recording Co. The record’s lead single, “Figure 8,” is a brooding track that steadily creeps along as sharp harmonies eerily float atop a bed of synth pop. In this edition of Influenza Berk digs into the track, touching on everything from her sexuality to Springsteen in expanding on the details that inspired the song.
This is such a strange exercise, to explicate a song. But the song “Figure 8″ was an interesting monument for me, emotionally and creatively, and I’m happy to talk about it for a sec.
When I was writing it I was referring, personally, to artists like Heart and Fleetwood Mac, and totally like Melissa Etheridge and K.D. Lang, and also Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty. I wanted the song to have a stadium-rock feel, very anthemic. And I wanted it to be a raw, pretty explicit manifesto about the PURE JOY of female sexuality. To the extent that one tiny person can influence culture, it is my interest to be a happy, proud, unapologetic, queer woman artist living in the now. That is both who I am and what I want to be. That’s what this song is about. It’s also funny. I mean, I sing the lyric, “I’ll take you on a wild ride if you slip your ship into my sea.” I mean, come on. That’s so over-the-top and that sort of sentiment is very hot and attractive to me.
I was specifically thinking, when I wrote this song, of my teenage self. What would I tell that misfit kid? What would I tell the next generation of misfit kids? I’d tell them that who they are is powerful and filled with magic and possibility. I’d tell them to love themselves with their most adventurous, open-hearted trusting poetic spirit. I’d tell them to go ahead and have a beautiful romance with their lives. That’s the image of the figure eight itself. You know, infinite possibility, infinite transformation, infinite evolution, a perpetual motion machine.
I’m looking forward to the end of “opposite day” in our culture, where everything sacred has been trashed and everything beautiful has been commoditized. I look forward to a greater reverence for sex, poetry, love, time, and all that. This song is a little prayer to take things both more and less seriously. Amen.