Tom sat on my chipped, wooden bedroom floor and I gave him the tiniest guitar I could find while I showed him this verse/chorus idea I had for a pretty depressing song called horror movie. It was one of the first time we ever really wrote together or hung out. When I finished the chorus I’m pretty sure his first reaction was something like “dude that chorus fucks.” Very eloquent, I know lol. I had been singing it really slow, very Phoebe Bridgers-like and so he sped it up and pop-ified the hook a bit. It felt so obvious that it was a duet, so we wrote the second verse in the next like 10 minutes. I remember Tom mumbling “I want you like Romeo and Juliet” and I immediately finished the sentence with “but I’m trying not to get us both killed,” which is probably still my favorite line in the song other than “why’m I the girl you get to plague with all your exes, with all your failed attempts at different fonts of me.” There were so many moments where I almost changed that line, but Tom refused. He was right.
The story of horror movie is as true as it is fake.
There have been many instances in my life where I felt like I was the second choice— my early adulthood would probably best be described as a series of unrequited love stories, 'Horror movie' was one of them. What I love about writing songs is that I can be as honest and painful as I want, and still someone out there (or probably a lot of people) are going to feel it so deeply that they'll feel like I'm reading through their thoughts. The first verse was a little piece of my pain as to why things rarely tend to work out— am I too complacent in allowing myself to be loved only platonically? Is it something about my personality? But the beauty of this song— unlike the rest of my discography — is that there is an answer. Duets are incredible because you’re not talking into the void. Tom being Tom, he immediately took a positive outlook when we started writing the second verse, and we had a lot of fun twisting old romance movie tropes into tragedies.
Making music can be really isolating. Most of my favorite writers seem to spend a lot more time in their heads than outside of them. And their brilliance might lie in their ability to talk to the void. I find them most often staring out windows and ceilings and stepping outside of relationships.
They exist on this plane of reality that’s exclusively for wall flowers. For life cartographers. It’s gorgeous and isolating.