Nine Songs: Shout Out Louds
It should come as no surprise that Shout Out Louds frontman Adam Olenius views love songs as one of his biggest inspirations.
Shout Out Louds back catalogue is filled with melodies that you immediately fall for and are twinned with words that hold more sentiment than you realise upon first listen. As with the best love songs, on their upcoming fifth album Ease My Mind they’ve managed to remain fresh and exhilarating, even after fifteen years together.
On the four-year break since 2013's Optica Olenius says "it was a chance to form your individual person a bit but we always knew that we’d probably make something again. Making an album is so much fun, it was always in the back of our heads to do a couple of rehearsals and then we started booking studios. Because it’s my best friends, we’ve been doing this for almost 15 years, so for us it’s a very important thing."
The songs that Olenius has chosen evoke memories of love and heartbreak, as well as simply falling for the way a song sounds. "You can’t control these songs, they chose you. These nine songs have a certain memory, so I just based them on memories of something. What I say about love songs is that there’s no sort of quality, if you hear a love song and have a special memory, like when you’re younger and you fall in love, whether the song is good or bad it just happens, you get stuck there. They have a sort of evil way of getting in your head, they’re the worst kind of song, but they’re also the best."
"It was my sister's album, she had a lot of records and I stole a lot of pop records from her room. I was probably nine when I took it from her room and I remember I was in love with this girl, probably for just one week or something, but I did my first mixtape. I recorded this song into my tape player and gave it to her in an envelope. I remember talking in between songs, which was so pretentious of me, being nine years old. I think I was trying to be a little bit cocky.
"I just handed it over to her between classes in school and I remember she got pretty mad or embarrassed, I was sort of clueless when I gave the cassette to her. I think we went on a date after that, maybe to McDonald’s or something and that’s a strong memory. I can’t believe I was that brave, to do a mixtape and put talking in between the songs. I don’t know where the tape is now, I didn’t make a copy, but the song stuck to me as being one of those songs, like the big love song when I was that age.
"That was before I started drinking, so I don’t know what I was thinking, but I remember that was a big thing, that’s why I chose this song, so it would have a big impact. I was pretty into love songs, I’d lie in bed watching the ceiling, in a very classic sort of movie-like way, so I was probably a pretty pretentious little kid.
“It’s still a great song, I was really sad when he passed away, he’s always been a really great songwriter. I always go back to that pop album as one of those albums that I really loved the melodies and stuff like that."
"This was probably from when I was 15 or something and of course I was a huge Guns 'N' Roses fan. There was this girl in my class and my class was pretty rough, there was a lot of boys and not a lot of girls and there were a lot of fights, teachers hated our class. So I was in love with this girl and I didn’t want to tell anybody, because people would call me a dork, I was afraid of telling anyone for months.
“My best friend at the time said ‘if you don’t go out with her, I’m going to ask her.’ So I had to get a lot of strength to ask her out and I did it when she wasn’t around the other guys in the class. I remember we had two dates and the whole thing was my first secret relationship, so I was building up my confidence, listening to this song every night on a CD player in my room. It’s pretty long, nine or ten minutes, so I could listen to it for hours, I love the build-up in the song.
"I was watching Guns 'n' Roses a couple of months ago in Stockholm and I didn’t really return to that warm feeling I had when I was 15, but it’s still a great song. It wasn't a bad show, they're still a pretty decent rock band.”
"When I was thinking about these love songs I started to remember when you really fall in love with the sounds on songs as well. I love The Stone Roses, especially the first album and this was on a compilation called Turns Into Stone, which was released just after. I was so in love with how they played as a band, especially Reni the drummer, he's one of my favourite drummers, it’s how he drums and all the guitars.
"I always go back and listen to this song. I’m in love with that snare drum, that’s my biggest crush. This love song is a little bit off theme, but it’s when you really fall in love with just the sounds on a record, there’s always sounds to hear that really get to you, almost like you fall in love with a sound, so that was my idea with this song.
"It’s always an intro of a song or an outro that I save in my mind, that I always want to listen to when I’m in the studio, if I want to copy it or if I just want to get influenced. I have producer friends that have got lists on their computers of songs with a kick drum that they like. I’m not that obsessed, but I think it always helps to go back and listen to your favourite sounds, so yes, I’m in love with that snare drum, I’m still in love with that snare drum."
"This song would probably be from around the time when I was listening to George Michael. When I hear this song I remember I was probably 10 years old, it’s an old song from the '70s, but I think it had some sort of revival, probably because it was in a Levi’s commercial on TV.
"I was maybe at a discotheque, with my classmates in a room and I remember all the boys would dress the same, with a rugby shirt, and I had this paisley scarf - when you’re that age, everybody looks the same. All the boys were standing in one corner and all the girls were in another and I remember this song was the coolest song I ever heard when I was 10. I remember it had this sort of like weird, almost sexy vibe to it, I was like ‘oh this sounds cool, these guys are cool, playing these songs.’ I remember it was playing at every discotheque, so that’s where I get stuck when I hear this song.
"So that’s my story about this song. I see this image of these young kids all looking the same and dancing to the Steve Miller Band, just some really weird image. I think I still have photos from that disco, and yes, I look awful… but that’s where you met the girls."
"This is in my top ten list of songs ever and it’s also a song where I really love the sounds. It’s Panda Bear who sings on the track and its sort of got a family vibe, when he sings about his girls and it has a lot of hope in it.
"He sings about that he doesn’t think about social status, he just has a really positive outlook - nothing’s more important than your daughter, your son or your girlfriend - as if it’s us against the world. I don’t know if it is about that, but that’s my interpretation of the song and that’s what I feel about this song, it has a very strong impact. It's a love song that isn’t only a guy singing about a girl or a girl singing about a boy, it’s more like singing about love as a thing, like a big force, and it’s an amazing song as well. It's in my top nine love songs.
"If I don’t study the lyrics, I just hear what I want to hear when I write songs, sometimes I can be specific, but only here and there, people can listen and make up their own world when they listen to our music and that’s what I feel as well. I remember I heard ‘This Must Be The Place’ by Talking Heads at a wedding a few years ago, which has a very happy vibe to it and as I was writing the lyrics down, I was like ‘this is poetry, this is such a beautiful song, a love song.’"
“This is from It's Never Been Like That, which is probably my favourite album of theirs. I think it’s just a wonderful song that has a melancholic sadness to it. I remember listening to it on tour, it was probably our third or second album and at that time I didn’t really have a relationship, but there was a sort of sadness to it. This is going to sound cheesy, but I remember thinking ‘you do what you have to do’. When you listen to these love songs, you long for someone, there are tears involved, but you just do what you have to do.
"It has a sort of hope when he sings ‘there goes your tears again’, it’s no fun leaving someone at home, but you’re doing something you have to do. It’s probably like leaving someone to go on the road and that gave me that little bit of strength on tour, like leaving your friends behind or your love behind, but they’re still there.
"The track itself has a nice soft rock vibe to it, so it keeps on going. It was a song that helped me out, listening to it on tour gave me sadness but also a positive vibe at the same time."
"It’s a beautiful song for starters, it’s harmony heaven. It’s such a powerful track if you haven’t heard it. I heard it when I was on the bus in Porto in Northern Portugal, leaving a sort of a relationship I'd had for five years. I was going on tour in North America for seven weeks and we hadn’t broken up yet, but I listened to it when I was sitting on the bus and I was like ‘this is the last time I will probably see her in our relationship’, but I had a sort of calmness when I listened to this song, there was a sadness, like ‘this is the end’ but I wasn’t devastated. It was in a very cinematic way, going on that bus to the airport and flying away to leave everything behind.
"There’s a very strong memory in this song, especially writing our second album after that, where I mention Portugal and some other locations, that’s the song and the memory when I listen to this song. It’s still pretty and it was a big thing for my writing during that writing process, that was back November ’07.
"I wasn’t too hurt, so when I listen to it I’m like ‘Oh I remember’ and I look back at it like a good memory. With some other songs, I listen and remember I was in bad shape and I remember I had a thorn in my side, or it was still a bit painful. but this song is so clear, I still see the images, it’s a very sober memory."
"This is a classic. It was a big song, I probably listened to it years after it came out. It was from their acoustic EP Jar Of Flies and this song is such a sad, deep one. Layne Staley the singer, did a side project called Mad Season, which was also super sad, probably because he was so deep into his drug addiction, so it had very suicidal vibes.
"So I was of course in love with this girl when I was graduating from school. I think I was in love with her for two years until finally she broke up with her boyfriend and we had a little bit of an affair, nothing happened but it was probably one of my biggest loves, I’d say that it was occupying my mind all the time, which is why I chose it. There’s a song on our first album Howl Howl Gaff Gaff called ‘Please Please Please’ which is sort of about her. I even mention the title Jar Of Flies in a section of the song as well. When I hear that song I think about her and that’s why I wrote one about her five years later. It’s a big memory.
"And of course I listened to it when I picked it up yesterday, I remember it’s still a great song, I remember sitting next to the window in my room being like 'Ah I want to be with her'. I actually met her a year ago or so, I don’t know if she knows about this, I forgot to tell her, but she lives her own life."
"This song, like many others I got to know about through Ariel Pink, because he did a cover of this song, but I think the original is better. Why I chose this song is because it was played at my wedding two years ago. Carl from Shout Out Louds had sort of a wedding band with different artists from Sweden and they did this song, where we danced after the dinner and he did it so well, it was such a beautiful versio
"It’s such a good memory, I just wanted to end this with 'there’s not only heartbreaks'. It’s such a nice song that I only have good memories when I listen to it, that whole album is great. These two brothers recorded this album in their garage somewhere in Los Angeles in the '70s and they had a revival two years ago. It was a brilliant album but this song is so yearning and so classical, it has a really, really nice longing and it’s a very typical love song. So yes, I would probably say this is the best last song to choose to put on this list."