Chvrches shared a new song called “He Said She Said,” which details the struggles of gender inequality and toxic masculinity. Aside from the single release of “Death Stranding” from the Death Stranding: Timefall soundtrack, it’s the pop group’s first song since 2018.
“He Said She Said” pulls from modern ‘bubblegum bass’ production trends for an emotional pop song that still punches with a catchy hook as frontwoman Lauren Mayberry repeats, “Feel like I’m losing my mind.” In the verses, she sings about the near-contradicting twists women are asked to go through such as “Get drunk but don’t be a mess,” “You need to be fed/but keep an eye on your waistline” and “Look good but don’t be obsessed.”
Mayberry explained what inspired her to write the song, “Like everyone, I’ve had a lot of time to think and reflect over the past year; to examine experiences I had previously glossed over or deeply buried. I feel like I have spent a lot of my life (personally and professionally) performing the uncomfortable balancing act that is expected of women and it gets more confusing and exhausting the older I get.”
“Be successful but only in the way we want you to be,” she said. “Speak up for yourself but not so loudly that you steal men’s thunder. Be attractive but only for the benefit of men, and certainly don’t be vain. Strive to be The Hot Sad Girl but don’t actually be sad in a way that’s inconvenient for anyone. Be smart but not smart enough to ask for more than what you’re being given.”
She continues, “‘He Said She Said’ is my way of reckoning with things I’ve accepted that I know I shouldn’t have. Things I pretended weren’t damaging to me. It was the first song we wrote when we started back up, and the opening line (‘He said/You bore me to death’) was the first lyric that came out. All the verse lines are tongue-in-cheek or paraphrased versions of things that have actually been said to me by men in my life. Being a woman is fucking exhausting and it felt better to scream it into a pop song than scream it into the void. After the past year, I think we can all relate to feeling like we’re losing our minds.”
Chvrches’ previous album was 2018’s Love Is Dead, which followed up 2015’s Every Open Eye and 2013’s The Bones of What You Believe. The band is a synth pop trio featuring Mayberry, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty. They had toured throughout 2019 and wrapped up prior to the events of the COVID-19 pandemic, but have been working around the difficulties of recording their parts separately, as evidenced by the “Separate But Together Version” of their song “Forever.” Cook was isolated in Glasgow while Mayberry and Doherty were in Los Angeles. The press release reports that they continued working together through video calls and audio programs throughout 2020 and that “He Said She Said” is just the “first fruits of their labor.”
Photo credit: Raymond Flotat