The road to Me Not You's debut album has been a long one. The New York-based indie pop duo (vocalist Nikki Taylor and guitarist Eric Zeiler) split from band Little Daylight to form their new act in 2016. After releasing a pair of EPs in the past two years — 2017's Reckoning 1 and 2018's Reckoning 2, the band's debut studio set, Already Gone, has arrived today (Nov. 8).
The garage-pop album features a dozen tracks of Taylor's ethereal vocals gliding through hazy soundscapes and dreamy arrangements. The LP was written and composed entirely by herself and Zeiler, including lead singles "I Should Know Better" and "America."
To celebrate the album's release, Taylor broke down the inspiration behind all 12 songs for Streets Talkin. Check it out below.
This intro sums up a lot of what the album is about emotionally for us — a fleeting moment of goodbye, painted like a pastel watercolor before disappearing. We recorded the vocal track for this one first, then Eric added the beautiful layers of harmonic guitars so that the whole song could sweep over you and gradually take you into the rest of the album.
"Sun Will Rise"
The original seed for "Sun Will Rise" was a drum idea that we had floating around for a while and really loved. We wrote a couple different songs over it but nothing really clicked until we laid down these guitar and basslines over it. The song feels really insistent to me because the drums never let up, and the lyrics reflect a sort of battle-scarred wisdom. The second half of the song is where a bit of light finally shines through in the form of layered vocal harmonies and some more major chords, which felt right given the lyrical theme of making it through darkness in search of better times ahead.
"Does Anybody Out There Care"
This was written while my husband and I were between places to live for a month, couch-surfing and living out of our suitcases in my car. I was pregnant at the time and I was just longing for a place to rest and call home, but life kept taking me on these unexpected turns and I basically just had to surrender to the flow and see where it would take me.
"I Don't Blame You"
"I Don't Blame You" is one of the most personal songs on this album. I found out I was pregnant just a couple days after my grandmother, who I was very close with, passed away. To have such grief mixed with profound joy was intense, to say the least. This is what I imagine my grandmother would have said to me had she known I was pregnant — she always wanted me to be happy and optimistic and look forward to the positive things in life, so this is the message I imagine she would have had for me.
"I Should Know Better"
This one started with the guitar riff that introduces the song. Something about the notes Eric played felt both super straightforward but also really satisfying. We built the song from there, succumbing to our dirtier sonic instincts, with distorted drums and bluesy guitar as the main elements. Lyrically the song embodies the woozy feeling of making choices that you know you might later come to regret, but going for it anyway.
The track for "Not Fine" was based on a swirling, repetitive riff that Eric brought into the studio, which was super inspiring to write to. It weaves in and out of the foreground, and we layered the guitar chords on top of it to create a harmonic bed for the vocals. The lyrics reflect my headspace at the time — I was back to "real life" after my grandmother's death, but I wasn't yet totally feeling like myself…kind of going through the motions, with my heart still somewhere else.
This was initially just an idea for a vocal track that was comprised of these repetitive, falling melodies, layered with harmonies to create a hypnotic effect. We then fleshed out the song with a chorus and a bit more of a structure. The lyrics were inspired by the downward-leaning melodies, and the idea of "falling forever" — like, what if we could take the moment of falling in love and hold onto it, like an instant trapped in amber for all eternity?
"America" was one of the last songs we wrote for the album. It started as an instrumental that Eric was working on for the end of "I Remember," but when I heard what he had created, I immediately knew it would be a great song in its own right. The lyric "I've been looking for America" was the first thing I wrote, and the song reflects the outrage I was feeling about the separation of families at the border and just the general sense of feeling like the soul of my country was/is disappearing.
This song was born from notes I had been keeping of jokes my grandmother made in her final days. She always had a great sense of humor, and even in her last weeks, she was still cracking jokes to keep the mood light. Like, instead of talking about dying, she'd say that she was waiting for aliens to come take her back to her home planet. Or, she always thought it was funny that her online bank account meant her money was "in the clouds" and she joked about how once she passed away, her money would finally come raining down. It's a sad song in some ways, but still a happy one for me, because I feel like I was really able to commemorate her here.
"Hold My Body"
Sometimes we just really like to indulge our love for straight-up '90s guitar vibes, and "Hold My Body" lets us go there. It's definitely one of the more straightforward rockers on the album, but it's also a love song. I wrote it about the alchemy of childbirth, but ultimately it's about waiting up all night to meet someone you love, whoever that might be.
"Keep the Candle Burning"
"Keep the Candle Burning" was one of the first songs we wrote for the album. It's about keeping the flame of hope alive in darkness. The original song was more of a gradual build, but we changed the structure around a lot and made it more of a rock-out for the version that ended up on the album.
"Battle Hymn" was another one of the early songs we wrote for the album. It was written when my grandmother first became ill, and we had a long road ahead of us yet. I remember my family sitting around at the kitchen table like we had always done, and if you squinted a bit you could kind of pretend life was going on as usual, but "underneath our skin everything had changed," basically.
Already Gone is out now MNY Music. Listen below.