On the heels of “Godzilla,” her first single released as a solo artist, Of Monsters and Men’s Nanna has a new track out today, “Crybaby,” premiering right here on Paste. The Icelandic singer/songwriter wrote both the songs outside of her hometown of Reykjavik, in a small cabin, where she spent some time by herself. They’ll both appear on her debut album, How to Start a Garden, out May 5 on Republic Records.
“’Crybaby’ is one of the first songs I wrote for the album,” Nanna says via email. “I needed some space, so I went up to my cabin to spend time alone. I remember lying on my floor playing the guitar and feeling a bit sorry for myself. It felt dramatic and then when I caught myself being so serious it felt a bit funny. So, I called the song ‘Crybaby’ as a way of laughing at myself. I recorded it with [The National’s] Aaron Dessner who co-produced the track, in his Long Pond studio and then finished working on it and in Iceland.”
The song opens with droning notes from what sounds like an old hollow-body electric and Nanna singing, “Do you love me? / I can take it / Do you think we / Can somehow make it?” It immediately picks up and continues to build like the best songs from her band. But Nanna carries this track, dancing wildly in a strange community-center-like bar under fluorescent lights of the video. The whole process of working alone was new.
“It was a pretty different experience!” she says. “When you are in a band you sometimes have to comprise if there’s a difference of opinions, but on this album, I found myself not having to do that. The main challenge was to be in tune with my gut feeling. I didn’t share that I was working on an album with a lot of people until it was finished, and I think that helped keep me in a creative mindset.”
“I don’t have a problem with being alone,” she proclaims in the song, and it would seem she’s telling the truth. Her first forays into a solo career are promising, with more music to come.
Watch the video for “Crybaby” below:
Full tracklist for How to Start a Garden here:
“How To Start A Garden” (Written and produced by Nanna, Additional Production by Josh Kaufman)
“Sputnik” (Written and Produced by Nanna, Additional Production by Josh Kaufman)
“Crybaby” (Written by Nanna, Produced by Nanna and Aaron Dessner)
“Disaster Master” (Written by Nanna, Produced by Josh Kaufman)
“The Vine / 13” (Written by Nanna & Ragnar Thorhallson, Produced by Nanna)
“Godzilla” (Written and Produced by Nanna)
“Bloodclot / Andvaka” (Written and Produced by Nanna)
“Milk” (Written by Nanna and Aaron Dessner, Produced by Aaron Dessner)
“Igloo” (Written and Produced by Nanna)
“Voyager” (Written by Nanna, Produced by Josh Kaufman)
“Seabed” (Written by Nanna, Aaron Dessner & Ragnar Thorhallson, Produced by Nanna and Aaron Dessner)
Watch Of Monsters and Men perform at the Paste Ruins at Newport in 2012: