Savages frontwoman Jehnny Beth was supposed to release her debut solo album on Friday. That’s not happening anymore. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, To Love Is To Live has been delayed until June. But that doesn’t mean we won’t get to hear any more of the record until then. We’ve already gotten three singles, “I’m The Man,” “Flower,” and “Innocence,” and today, we’re getting a fourth.
Jehnny Beth recorded To Love Is To Live in Los Angeles, London, and Paris with production from Flood, Atticus Ross, and her longtime partner and collaborator Johnny Hostile. The xx’s Romy Madley Croft, IDLES’ Joe Talbot, and actor Cillian Murphy are also featured on the album. And to hear Jehnny Beth tell it, a whole lot of those people had a hand in getting new single “Heroine” to where it ended up going:
When I think of this song, I think of Romy from the xx strangling my neck with her hands in the studio. She was trying to get me out of my shell lyrically, and there was so much resistance in me she lost her patience. The song was originally called “Heroism,” but I wasn’t happy because it was too generic. Flood was the first one to suggest to say “Heroine” instead of “Heroism.” Then I remember Johnny Hostile late at night in my hotel room in London saying “I don’t understand who you are singing about. Who is the Heroine? You ARE the Heroine.” The next morning, I arrived early in the studio and recorded my vocals adding “to be” to the chorus line: “All I want is TO BE a heroine.” Flood entered the studio at that moment and jumped in the air giving me the thumbs up through the window. I guess I’m telling this story because sometimes we look around for role models, and examples to follow, without realising that the answer can be hidden inside of us. I was afraid to be the Heroine of the song, but it took all the people around me to get me there.
Listen to the twitchy, tightly coiled “Heroine” below.
To Love Is To Live is out on 6/12 via Caroline Records. Crimes Against Love Memories (C.A.L.M.), Jehnny Beth’s first book featuring a collection of her erotic short stories along with photography from Johnny Hostile, is out in July via White Rabbit.