A few months into the pandemic, Courtney Marie Andrews released her staggeringly vulnerable album Old Flowers, which was both a predecessor to the countless pandemic-spawned confessionals artists would begin to churn out soon after and a somber shift in mood from the more reverently Laurel-Canyon-descended themes and tones of May Your Kindness Remain. Turns out it was also a stepping stone toward even more personal and unique music, as proven with the newly released Loose Future.
Arriving today via Fat Possum, Andrews’ sixth LP leans further into intimate autobiography and experimental sounds with the help of co-producer Sam Evian and additional contributions from the likes of Grizzly Bear’s Chris Bear and Bonny Light Horseman’s Josh Kaufman. The result is often unexpected within Andrews’ thick back catalog of songs, though rarely does the music wander outside the parameters of freewheeling, heartfelt, densely wooded folk-rock established on the opening title track.
To give us a better idea of where the emotional palette for Loose Future was born, Andrews took the time to walk us track by track through the new LP, detailing the lyrical and instrumental impetus for each song in the collection. Stream along and read her words below.
1. “Loose Future”
These words slipped out of my mouth one evening while speaking playfully with a lover, and we both agreed they needed to be a song about the unknowns of bracing for any romantic endeavor. We always want to play it cool with love, but deep down our inner children are always afraid. In the studio, Sam Evian and I wanted to create the hopeful and free feeling of that sentiment.
2. “Older Now”
I went on a disastrous date, which ended sweetly despite the awkwardness of it. When I got to my room, this song poured out. It’s about that pivotal point in life where you’re ready for something different, but you still have these old patterns you can’t let go of. This was the first song I took to Sam. I declared the recording needed lots of percussion, lots of harmonies, and lots of summer feelings. Recording this song was the beginning of the whole record.
3. “On the Line”
A wake-up call, when you realize you give to no avail. A song for those who know all about the perils of avoidant attachment. Sam and I went into the deep when recording this one. We had one memorable night where we smoked a lot of grass and drank too much whiskey. In the morning I tried to run it off and landed on the studio couch where I laid down a hauntingly unexpected whistle that became the sonic marker of the song.
A love song without caveats. I wanted to look forward, and fall in love with the mystery of someone. Let love in, without questioning or instigating how it might hurt me. Sonically, I wanted to go to space. This kind of love isn’t earthbound.
5. “These Are the Good Old Days”
This is a saying my uncle always says to try and remind us of the beauty of the now. I tend to always live in a constant state of hindsight being 20/20, and I wanted to write this as a sort of mantra to honor my family's sentiment. I also genuinely wanted to write a feel-good song after such a dark few years. Even in the saddest of times, there are little moments you’ll always look back on with a fondness that don’t seem so sad after all—they seem perfectly placed.
6. “Thinkin’ on You”
When you tell someone you miss them, it implies something is missing from your life. I was ready for the level up from missing. When you’re thinking on someone, you’re also allowing love for yourself, within the context of a relationship. You’re saying, “I’m here too, and I can hold space for both of us.”
7. “You Do What You Want”
We all have that friend that gets us into trouble and pushes our personal boundaries. I was reminiscing on a person like that in my own life, and how many times I bent for this person—in the end, I still loved them despite this.
8. “Let Her Go”
This is a love song for someone whose freedom you don’t want to change or narrow. It’s about accepting this person exactly as they are, and choosing to love them for those very things you cannot contain. We used the first take I sang of this song because it felt raw and unencumbered. Josh Kauffman surprised us on this one with so many beautiful and unexpected textures.
9. “Change My Mind”
I’d been listening to many Tin Pan Alley writers in 2020, and those memory-space melodies were swirling around my brain. One day, I was hanging out and writing with my friend Kate York. When I came around, I told her I wanted to write a song about not trusting healthy love, and she knew exactly how I felt. We wrote this in 20 minutes at her house, and both felt like crying after.
10. “Me & Jerry”
This is a song about having sex with someone you love—how it transcends your headspace and is purely the physical heart space. Sam and I had so much fun creating this one. I recorded the choir at the end in his unfinished barn in upstate New York. I stood in the sun with the doors wide open and sang my heart out.