Synthpop maestro George Lewis, Jr., aka Twin Shadow, has unveiled the album art (above) and tracklist for his third studio album, Eclipse, due out March 17th. The highly-anticipated follow-up to 2012’s Confess spans 11 tracks in all, including the previously released singles “To The Top”, “Turn Me Up”, and “Locked and Loaded”. It also marks his debut release with Warner Bros. Records following a two-album stint on 4AD.
Lewis divulged the album details during an in-depth interview with Stereogum. Among the other interesting tidbits discussed, Lewis spoke about the record’s theme of absolution, his evolution as an artist following the release of Confess, his thoughts on the pop vs. indie debate following his signing with a major label, and how one of the tracks was originally written for a certain British punk rock legend. Read some choice quotes below.
On his inspirations for Eclipse:
It’s been a really heavy year for me. My father was in the mental hospital a lot [in 2014], and that was a very hard thing for me. It’s not the first time in my life I’ve seen my dad in that place, but mental illness has been something I’ve dealt with my whole life, actually, within my family. So I think there is a lot of that on this record. Then again, there’s a lot of it that’s not on the record because it was happening while I was making it. So it’s weird, it’s more like a lot of the themes on this record seem to be more about … they’re more positive in a way, I think.
On the redemptive undertones of lead single “To The Top”:
Yeah, it’s an anthem. If you really listen to the lyrics, it’s not the most hopeful song in the world, but everything’s kind of about … it’s hard to say this without being corny, but not totally giving up on this life, I guess. A lot of the themes on this record are about redemption in a way, and kind of moving on into the next phase.
On what Lewis needed to redeem himself from:
I mean, I think it’s so easy when you’re a younger person to get stuck in spirals. And they’re not circles, they’re spirals that go either up or down, or sideways, or whatever. And it’s very easy to, when you’re on that spiral, to hit a peak, to hit a low, or to be hitting constant mundane motion. And it’s like, you will hit some kind of wall in any direction, and I think when you do hit that wall, whatever it is, you just — you have two ways you can go. You can stay there forever or you can search for redemption, and I think that for me, there’s a lot of things that were just spiraling out of my control, and this record was really about finding the goodness inside of being centered and believing that your future can be really positive and that you can fix relationships that are broken and you can be more productive and give more to the people around you. I think that that’s kind of a theme on this record.
On his evolution, personally and creatively, since the release of Confess:
For sure. I feel like every two years, regardless of whether you put out a record or not, your life is changing dramatically. For anybody. Life is just changing really fast all the time, you know? It’s been a weird year. I lost a lot of friends to like, drug overdoses and weird tragedies that have happened. Those things have had a really big effect on me, recently. In terms of my — I hate the word fame — my notoriety, my position in the music community — that has a lesser effect on me than all my real life happenings. I kind of feel, if anything, the difference is Confess-era me was a bit removed, jaded. Now I feel like I’m hyperaware, hypersensitive, back to being a more emotional person acting more on my impulses. Having freak outs and real moments of clarity. I feel more dynamic in a way.
On the meaning of the Eclipse album title:
So, Eclipse the song was one of the first I wrote for the record. It was all about this idea of…meeting your match or meeting someone who just completely blocks out your ego, your everything, and they kind of make you realize… they are so amazing they make you realize how small you are, kind of.
On how the album cut “Alone” was originally written for someone else:
[Hollywood Forever] Cemetery was the beginning ideas of ‘To The Top’. Beginning ideas of ‘Eclipse’. ‘Alone’ was written in the cemetery completely, and was originally meant for someone else to sing … I actually wrote it for Class Actress and Billy Idol to sing together. I wanted to keep it.
On his decision to sign with Warner Bros.:
Production in general. Live, production in music videos. Financial help with those things. There’s certainly more of that. But more importantly there seems to be a more active support system, generally. There seems to be more feedback. Which I’m really enjoying now. And again, the honeymoon phase gets over pretty quick. So we’ll see how it plays out.
On the pop vs. indie debate and so-called “elitist” music:
I think the healthiest way for any artist to look at their career is to continue to not bombard themselves with this genre boundary. For me to say I’m moving into a pop market…it doesn’t do justice to me or my peers. I know it’s become trendy almost for people to be like, “Oh, I’m making this pop record.” Everyone’s making pop-leaning records. Yeah, because everyone realized that quote-unquote indie is boring as fuck. So, yeah, we’re all influenced by Madonna and Michael and all the greatest pop stars that ever lived. I like to say I’m simplifying things, and trying to not make things too…I think when you’re a young artist and you put out your first record, you almost want to talk in code. You want to have this specific language specific to you. It’s elitist, almost. My music is no longer elitist.
02. When the Lights
03. To The Top
06. Turn Me Up
07. I’m Ready
08. Old Love New Love
09. Half Life
10. Watch Me Go
11. Locked and Loaded
Below revisit the video for “Turn Me Up”: