Now's the time to listen to sad songs, and SHY Martin has an entire EP with them. The five-track effort, aptly titled Sad Songs, sees the Swedish artist (real name: Sara Hjellström) dive deep into personal stories, from her relationship with anxiety and depression to the challenges of a broken love. She lays it all bare and it's, of course, incredibly sad.
But she wraps these heart-wrenching lyrics into massive pop songs, with the glittering synths and sing-along melodies that have repeatedly solidified her home country as one of today's greatest music-making machines.
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Sad Songs' opener, "Make us never happen," is a prime example, building up to a chanting chorus with smooth, dance production that juxtaposes its painfully honest lyrics: "Sometimes I wish I could go back," she sings, "And make us never happen/ Save us from it all."
Below, SHY Martin breaks down each track off her Sad Songs EP, explaining all the inspirations and processes behind her brand new project.
"Make us never happen"
The first song on the EP, "Make us never happen," was written about one of my old exes. We were best friends before we became a couple and I had a hard time letting go of that friendship when we broke up. I know I ended up hurting not only someone I loved but also my closest friend, which sometimes made me wish we'd never happened.
The second song, "Slow," was written at my parents' place last summer when me and some friends went there for a few days to hang out and write. I grew up with a lot of nature close to my house, so we brought my guitar with us wherever we went. One morning we wrote "Slow" whilst having breakfast out in the sun. We talked a lot about how scars from a previous relationship can affect your attitude going into a new one, even though it might be better than the last. That's how the song was born.
"Can I call you back?"
I've struggled with anxiety and depression since I was 13, which has been really tough from time to time. I've always put a lot of pressure on myself, which has been both my biggest strength and weakness. Even though it's something that affects me daily, it's taken me a long time to share that side of me with my listeners. When I finally did so last fall I realized how important it was for me to talk about this subject openly. "Can I call you back?" was written when I was going through a really tough period of anxiety. It was and still is a very important song for me. And what is beautiful is that I think that it meant a lot to my listeners, as well.
"Nobody likes moving on"
"Nobody likes moving on" was written two years ago, the day after I wrote "Keep You Mine" with NOTD. Me and the other songwriters had a long talk about breakups and how hard they can be when you've been together with someone for so long that you've both almost turned into one person. Me and my current boyfriend have been together for five-and-a-half years. We have the same friends, work in the same industry, share the same favorite restaurants in the same part of Stockholm. The whole song came from the idea of having to split everything up, from friends, to places when you separate.
"Are you happy?"
"Are you happy" is the last song of the EP and also one of my favorite songs I've released so far. The whole EP is based around the process of falling in and out of love, and all the different stages in between. Do we let time heal, leaving us with no regrets? Or do we look back on the bad moments remembering why it was never meant to be. I think we all look back at our old relationships and ask the question, "Are you happy that we happened?"
Stream SHY Martin's Sad Songs EP, below.
Photography: Hampus Hjellström