ABOUT THE SONGS
01. January: Who Really Needs Who
JENS: In september 2017 I moved to Tromsø, a small town in the arctic north of Norway, way above the polar circle, because my partner had started studying there. I found myself in a situation I hadn’t been in for decades - with no contacts, friends or even a job or purpose there I had to make new friends from scratch. How the hell do you do that? All my friends since I was seven and started school came through the friends I already had. I thought of joining a badminton club, I tried randomly going out to the pub, I posted an ad on Facebook for other musicians in the hopes that music would help me. And I was reminded of the state I was in when I met Annika for the first time.
02. February: Showering in Public
ANNIKA: Me and some friends were talking about locker rooms and I said I’d always hated showering at gyms. They asked me why and I said I didn’t know. When I started writing the song, I honestly thought it had to do with my personality, I’m someone who likes a bit of space. But while writing, I suddenly realised what it was really about. This was written in the afterglow of #metoo and that probably influenced the song as well. I wanted a chorus that felt like a football chant and imagined people sitting in a pub, arm-in-arm, singing the words ”Showering in public” together. When you listen to Correspondence as a whole, I think it sounds a bit heartless - Jens reaching out to me in January, and me not mentioning that at all in this song, just starting to talk about my old gym memories. The song did, however, originally start out with a bit of ”Hi Jens how are you”. That made the song super long, so I cut that out.
03. March: Forever Young, Forever Beautiful
JENS: Annika’s song reached me as I was on tour in the US. One night after a show I met a guy who was a mountaineer, he told me a story of how he’d done a job once where he helped an older woman climb Mount Everest so she could visit the body of her husband who had died there on a failed expedition decades earlier. The story captivated me, I wondered what it’d be like to see the love of your life, frozen in the beauty of his youth, when you yourself had grown old and wrinkly. I envisioned this woman remembering him as a sexual object.
After the song came out someone asked me ”Have you ever looked up what these dead bodies on Mount Everest look like? Even though the decomposing goes slower it’s not a pretty sight”
So I googled ”dead bodies on mount everest” and I really regret doing that.
04. April: Hibernation
ANNIKA: 2017 was a super busy year for me and when the autumn came I was struck by a very specific need to spend time in the forest. I later read that’s actually a thing, spending time in forests is proven to lower your stress hormone levels. I started feeling like just being there for an hour or two wasn’t enough. I wanted to live there. I started googling ”Hibernation for humans”. It’s sadly not possible, it has to do with our metabolism. But I dreamt about it anyway. And in the spring of 2018 I started feeling better, like if I really had spent September - March in a hole and suddenly I was hit by the first rays of spring light. There was originally a verse where I woke up and roared, but I cut that out.
05. May: Not Because It’s Easy But Because It’s Hard
JENS: I’ve had this fantasy my whole adult life that I have clones of myself and that we work together as a team. I envision how much work we’d be able to do, how we could fulfill all those dreams we (I) have. But since we live in this world where you’re never good enough, we’d probably work four times as hard but still feel we should work harder.
When Annika’s song spoke of feeling overwhelmed, something I’d seen many close friends struggle with over the last years, and Tim Bergling / Avicci was tragically found dead after struggling with exhaustion and stress, I wanted to write something comforting, I wanted the message to be: “if you need a break I’ve got your back”.
06. June: Joining a Cult
ANNIKA: I’m a constant worrier, but 2018 was the year I for real started worrying about climate change. I also worried that it felt like our elected leaders all over the world weren’t taking the climate crisis as seriously as they ought to be. Simultaneously, I was watching that Netflix documentary, ”Wild wild country”, about the Rajneesh movement. The premiss for the show is obviously that a lot of sad things happened and you shouldn’t put all your trust in separate leaders, but while watching it I still felt a slight envy. In the beginning, the cult members were so certain about this and actually believed things could change for the better. I have this constant longing in me for someone to come along and say, ”Trust me, this is what we’re gonna do.” Another thing I worried about was that Correspondence was turning out to be be the world’s saddest project, so I felt the need to turn this into a somewhat upbeat song. Because of the Correspondence rules (only one instrument/song) I had to rely on knee claps. I really love that part in the song that goes ”Send in the choir” and feel a bit upset I’ve used that part for this song. It doesn’t even really fit. I could have saved it and based an entirely different song on it.
I also feel upset no one has noticed my cult name would be Warlord Springgrass, which I personally think is a kickass name and someone should totally write a space movie based on it.
07. July: Revenge of the Nerds
JENS: Since Annika wrote about joining a cult, I first wanted to write about my perceived notions of parenthood. But another story kept bugging me, it was the one about the incels. After the Toronto attack in april this group of men had all of a sudden sprung into the center of the world’s attention. I was intrigued because I could relate to them somehow, some part of my teenage self identified with them, they reminded me of my friends back then and a narrative that we grew up with through nerd culture - that we had the right to sex and love because we were the nice guys.
This was the one song I wasn’t entirely happy with and it took a long time to figure out why. I think it’s because when you write like we did in this project, with a finger on the pulse of the present, it’s easy to look at things from a moral viewpoint and come across as too righteous or preachy. As much as I tried to make this a personal story I couldn’t help but feel I stepped too far into that direction. Oh well, the chord progressions and strings turned out nice at least.
08. August: Failure
ANNIKA: This one line in Revenge of the nerds stuck on me. It was Jens mentioning that song his friends wrote, Too ugly to get laid. There’s some kind of psychology in there that my younger years can relate to. Like, it’s best if I hate on myself first, before anyone else gets a chance to. I tried to protect myself from getting hurt I guess. I remember the first time a paper wrote something extremely negative about something I’d worked hard on. I was devastated, but at the same time I recall another strong feeling growing, like, Wasn’t it worse? This is what I’ve tried to avoid all this time? Thing is, I felt pretty proud of what I’d done myself, and reading someone else hating on it, it became obvious to me I’d done it for myself and that I didn’t really care if someone else wasn’t into it. So that’s a gospel I’m trying to preach, failing is not that bad. (Unless you’re like, an airplane mechanic. Then it’s bad.)
09. September: Cosmetics Store
JENS: I spent the first half of 2018 trying to hold up a facade on stage and in life as my relationship had started crumbling behind the scenes. When it eventually ended I couldn’t feel anything anymore. One day I stepped into a cosmetics store, one of those Aesop stores that have those expensive moisturizers and lotions that succesful people have in their bathrooms, and asked for a good moisturizer. When the store clerk took my hand and applied the cream gently something broke off from my heart like a giant ice shelf breaking off from Antarctica.
10. October: Election Day
ANNIKA: I played a show in Göteborg on Friday, stayed in town for a couple of days, and because I try not to fly anymore I spent a good twelve hours or so on different trains getting back to Umeå. It was election day in Sweden, a really important one. I sat on the train and pressed update on various sites to see what the predictions were. I also bought a really big apple, and before I left I briefly met up with Jens at the train station.
I wrote the lyrics during the train ride. This is probably my own favorite of my half of the Correspondence songs. There’s a line that goes, ”All is quiet, but it feels like a bomb with a really long fuse” that I like, because for me, that’s exactly what this year has felt like.
11. November: On the Edge of Time
JENS: 2018 felt like a dark year and it was hard to find anything but hopelessness among reports of elected populist far right leaders and climate change. While dealing with a bad case of eczema caused by all the stress in my life I read a lot of science fiction classics to escape to other worlds, I read the utopian classic ‘Woman On the Edge of Time’ by Marge Piercy which I loved. But I was so unaccustomed to the future being portrayed as anything but dark that I sometimes cringed. Portraying a utopia is saying what you want which is so much more vulnerable than saying what you don’t want.
12. December: Silent Night
ANNIKA: When I heard On the Edge of Time, I wanted to comfort Jens, like he had comforted me in June. I wanted to tell him: occasionally, something good will happen, and when it does, you probably never would have guessed it beforehand. Music comforts me a lot. And I heard the original Silent Night somewhere and I came to think about how weird it is that someone actually once wrote that song.