Song-by-Song: ‘VIRGO’ by Sarah Klang
The Gothenberg-based musician breaks down the songs from her new album, partly written in a summer house in the countryside
Though we’re fond of all the tracks that make it On The Stereo in Songwriting HQ, there are some which we genuinely fall in love with. One such song is Anywhere, a melancholic masterpiece that made our monthly playlist back in March and left us with the need to have a thorough rummage through the back catalogue of its creator, Gothenburg-based artist Sarah Klang.
Starting with her 2018 debut, Love In The Milky Way, running through 2019’s Creamy Blue and continuing on the recently released VIRGO, Klang’s sound blends classic elements with her own uniquely fresh take. Each of the three albums brings about a slight stylistic shift up, with VIRGO balancing a love of 60s and 70s country with the occasional flourish of 80s pop and 90s R&B.
Fascinated to know more, we asked her to provide us with some track-specific detail…
So, starting off the record we have 17 Pounds. Kevin Andersson (producer), and drummer/studio engineer Mattias Hagström showed me a short bit of a track they’d made in the studio, wondering what I thought about the sound. I instantly said, “This is the sound of VIRGO.” So I wrote the lyric, which is about the first weeks/months after being dumped, and the album began to take form after this.
Fever Dream is a sexy 80s/90s song about…my fever dreams? I watched Beverly Hills Cop and got really sick. Then I had this weird sweaty dream about a guy I have the hots for.
I wrote Canyon to hype up myself after feeling blue for so long. Like I felt I needed to find myself again after a breakup. We wrote the track during a session in Kevin’s studio and it sounded okay I guess, but just as we were quitting for the day, we tried pitching the track down, and all of a sudden it sounded just right.
Because of COVID, we suddenly had more time for writing the album. So we rented a house in the countryside and thought we could try to write just a little bit more. I was pretty convinced I didn’t have any more songs in me, but the extra time in the house gave me and Theo Stocks this song. It felt natural and finished from the start. Just a story about trying to find yourself.
Girls is a really simple song, I feel it’s almost psalm-like. Theo plays the short beautiful melody on the piano and I wrote the lyric one evening listening over and over to it. It’s about not giving in, losing yourself completely in another person. Something I really tend to do.
Another song we wrote in the summer house was Youth. I never really wrote about my teenage years and the place/places I grew up in, so this was a new area for me to move around in. I feel the music and the lyrics grow together in this track. For me, youth was really a painful bliss. I’d never go back again even if I could.
I guess Blue is a good example of me losing myself completely in another person, without taking my own feelings into consideration. I just tried and tried and then realised, ‘This is not right for me.’ Or for him. But realising this doesn’t make it less painful. Or easier to leave. I really feel safe and home, in the sound of the track. Humming, slowly taking me forward.
I would say Spell is a classic Sarah Klang song, it could have fitted in on any of my albums, the lyric is about me questioning if I’m impossible to live with. Haha!
LOVE SO CRUEL
This is the last song we wrote in the house. Theo, who is my guitarist and such a musical genius, was like, “I’m staying up tonight cus I need to learn how to play the piano.” Then the morning after he showed me this song and we wrote the rest together. It’s about the aftermath of a relationship gone bad.
This is one of the songs Kevin and I wrote when we were staying in France. He brought this miniature piano/synthesizer and we sat inside the cool house cus it was like 40 degrees outside. I wrote this quite a long time ago, sitting on a train between Stockholm and Gothenburg. Deleting pictures of my ex on my phone.
So we came to the last track of VIRGO! Finally, haha! On the last track, we sat on the floor in Kevin’s studio and Theo got to go wild on his pedal steel and wired guitar amps. “Make it sound like the saddest 80s soundtrack you ever heard!” I screamed in his ear.
“All I know, I’ll think about you till the end,” and that’s how it ends. Hope you will enjoy this album as much as I enjoyed (and suffered) making it together with Kevin Andersson, Theo Stocks and Mattias Hagström!