The 80s never came back, mostly because they never went away. Although now that the 90s are the primary driving decade of influence, it feels almost retro-retro to look back to the Me Decade for musical inspiration. That’s what Alle Norton aka CELLARS has done with Lovesick, streaming here for the first time today.
We got a taste of her eternal 80s of the retro mind a while back when we posted “Beat of Our Love”, but it turns out that track was just the tip of the gilded, synthy iceberg.
“The album was written over the course of a year after a post-breakup move to LA from Austin in 2013, Norton explains. “Many of the songs are about dealing with lost love and the struggle to replace it in the midst of moving to a new city and rediscovering the self, hence the album’s title.”
Among the songs, the lovelorn, gently swaying r&b track “I Won’t Be Falling In Love” cuts quickest to the chase, she says. It’s about “the inability to find love when one is lost, unsure, and has been through a lot of personal issues and pain throughout life. It was sort of my way of reassuring myself that I don’t need to rely on love to be happy or to have a solid sense of self.”
As for the temporal aesthetic in question, it’s “Computer Simulation” that might be the most obvious in intent. “It was definitely inspired by 80s era influences Gary Numan, Missing Persons, Kraftwerk,” she says. “I was reading a lot of sci-fi and philosophy at the time and found myself in a strange place where I was questioning reality and feeling dissociated, and thought it necessary to write a song about the idea of nothing being real. It was a pleasant departure from my usual subject of sappy heartbreak and longing.”
It’s not like she’s always trying to write love songs, she says. “But I think I have a certain masochistic tendency to put myself in situations where I’m overrun with intense emotions that become all I can think about. Then again, some of the greatest songs are love songs. Diana Ross’ 1984 hit ‘Missing You’ is one of my favorite songs of all time and that’s about as sappy as you can get.” Other influences that work their way into the record include Hall and Oates, Depeche Mode, Blondie, Human League, Naked Eyes, Glass Candy, and Todd Rundgren, she adds. “Most pop music made before 1990. Being a young child in the early 90s, I was surrounded by remnants of the leftover cheese of the 80s in shopping malls and commercials and cartoons and grocery stores. I’m definitely nostalgic for a time that I wasn’t even really around for.”