The break-up album is a familiar figure in the history of modern conceptual music. From Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours to Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago we as listeners have always flocked to these blood-lettings and consumed them in awe and hushed tones. The best artists focus their writing on conveying one powerful emotion, and what more powerful than heartbreak? Get it right and your brave airing of emotional hurt could enter the annuls of the great break-up albums. Into that exclusive club welcome Peder Losnegård AKA Lido, the 23 year old Norwegian producer who first made waves with spectacular single ‘I Love You’ back in 2014 and party jams as Trippy Turtle.
Since then he’s been on a constant upward trajectory with stunning remixes (9min long TLOP megamix particularly a revelation), production plaudits (Halsey’s platinum selling album — more on her shortly) and beautiful work with KORK: the Norwegian Radio Orchestra. All these elements have fed directly into the creation of his thrilling debut but none quite so prominently as the fingerprints left by New Jersey songstress Halsey, the source of Losnegård’s broken heart. The fall out between two young, semi-famous artists such as these would ordinarily provoke much eye-rolling and sarcastic boo-hoo’s but something about Lido — be it his boyish looks, passion for electronics or simply his downright honesty makes this an unmissable event.
As if to make sure we’re taking the concept seriously, the album’s release was announced via a cinematic trailer (below) with the producer explaining firmly in a voice-over that “You have to know this is not about her; this is because of her” His earnest monologue is telling of the rest of the album as Lido uses his own voice in some form or another in pretty much every song; a bold statement for any emerging producer. But he has also explained in interviews that other voices across the record — Vic Mensa, Towkio, Jaden Smith (!) — represent different emotions and internal narratives from stages of the heartbreak process. Which makes it all the more breathtaking when the album’s intro ‘Catharsis’ opens with a recorded conversation between Halsey and the artist. An otherwise instrumental track which Lido has said represents the first 30 seconds after the initial deathblow is centred around his ex-lover’s whispering of the album’s title.
This leads into ‘Murder’ where we get our first real taste of the collaborative bliss that Lido has forged with KORK. A frantic and skittering first half shows off his programming skills as a thrilling backdrop for post-dubstep referencing pitched-up vocals of “I know that you gon’ hurt me” It eventually reaches powerful climax with Lido piercing through the effects with his own voice literally hollering “Whoever told me that honesty the remedy needs to go” as the track bursts under the pressure then flutters into orchestral bliss like ash from an explosion gently settling atop the aftermath. ‘Dye’ allows us to continue enjoying the increased confidence the producer has found in his voice but also introduces a second, female voice. Her pleads of “What does she have that I don’t?” shows the listener that the themes here are universal, beckoning all in who know the pain.
‘So Cold’ comes next acting almost as an interlude song if it wasn’t for the emotive presence of Vic Mensa who reminds us here of his talent as a melancholy crooner outside of rapping. After an attention grabbing sample of “All I got our these drums to keep me company” tribal drums pound in introducing the recurring schoolyard taunt of “I do lie yeah, I do lie” which carries into the next song and lead single from the album ‘Crazy’ whose vocoder I initially felt detracted from the message but which here makes sense, especially with added instrumentation in the latter half.
At a 2 minute runtime, ‘Falling Down’ feels like a bridging piece too, but no less great for it. An uncredited singer repeats the title who sounds to my ears like George Ezra or even Aloe Blacc who ushers the song into electronic climax as — true to the title before it — we arrive at the album’s moralistic low point, ‘Citi Bike’ A glorious, drunken fuck-you hosted by both Jaden Smith and Towkio who both perfectly capture the confused, volatile rage of a man romantically scorned and refusing to let any more sadness in. And just as quickly as it came, it’s gone again and we’re left with the sound of wheels turning on the eponymous bicycle panning left to right like it’s circling you. Smith Jnr stays on for the blissed out slow groove ‘Only One’ where Lido tries his hand at a beat that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Mount Kimbie or Flying Lotus record. Jaden delivers a flow of consciousness which — free from context — is actually really bloody good. He reminds me a lot of Raury and, quote me on this; he’s got bars here and I’m impressed.
As one would anticipate from a precociously talented young artist dedicating his debut to heartbreak, ‘You Lost Your Keys’ is the album’s self indulgent concession to one-man-and-a-piano noodling which, while lovely, does go on a little too long. That said, it really demonstrates Losnegård’s capable singing and musicianship well. Penultimate track ‘Angel’ really reminded me of The Weeknd’s song of the same name which, too came at the end of his last album. It starts soulful and smooth but Lido couldn’t resist an electronic flourish after the bareness of the last song and it really benefits from being set alight in this way.
As every great concept album should, closer ‘Tell Me How To Feel’ makes good with the promises the intro made and not only rounds off the theme but does it with exceptional climax. Easing in with maudlin organ synths the song utilises the very visual sound effect of static flicking between TV channels to drill though the title’s mood of utter despondency. As throughout all the best point on the record, the electronics bang and crash you into submission while the vocals ring out as heart-wrenching truths. Lido harmonises with himself as lines from all across the album join him in his acappella moment of complete “Who the fuck cares anymore?” defeat. Just as it becomes overwhelming, unbearable, it all stops. From the chaos comes a new girl’s voice, not Halsey, who comes with a message of salvation:
“What if I said… I could love you better?
What if I said… you’d be in control?
What if I said… I get it?
What if Everything’s not everything?”
and suddenly all the hurt, all the melodrama that so encompasses the album reveals itself for what it always was: transitional. We’ve gone on the the same journey as the artists listening to Everything and if you listen hard enough — whether or not you’ve been in his position yourself — you can learn the very same lesson of hope.