Rumer to release new album ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ on May 2821 May 2012
Rumer will release a brand new album, Boys Don’t Cry, on May 28 (Atlantic Records). This follows the breakthrough success of her debut album, Seasons Of My Soul, which has sold over a million copies, earned Rumer two Brit nominations and also saw her scoop the Mojo Award for Breakthrough Act. Having reached #1 in the States earlier this year, the first taster from Boys Don’t Cry will be the release of a new single ‘P.F Sloan’ on May 21.
With sessions dating back to 2007, and recorded amidst any days off over the last eighteen months, Boys Don’t Cry is a huge passion-project for Rumer. It is perhaps best introduced as collection of lesser known songs from the 1970’s: all of which were originally sung by men. This cast of characters is nothing short of formidable, spanning the likes of Todd Rundgren, Townes Van Zandt, Ronnie Lane (and Ronnie Wood) and Tim Hardin. Even the more well known artists – Leon Russell, Isaac Hayes, Neil Young – have had their relatively forgotten tracks re-imagined. “I wanted to try and inhabit these male voices, which at first seemed distant to me,” Rumer explains. “I feel more like an actor or a painter when tackling their work, as you’re just trying to find the character underneath.” By using this nascent intuition, and applying a mixture of detachment and interpretative nous, Rumer may be poised to cast a generation of songs into a new light.
Outside of their original context, then, the songs of Boys Don’t Cry have proved timeless, and timely. For as the recording process unravelled, Rumer realised that a lot of the stories contained in the record had deeper, more personal echoes for her. Clifford T. Ward’s ‘Home Thoughts From Abroad’ and Paul Williams’ soaring ‘Travelling Boy’ were both about “this idea of the musician away from home, and the nostalgia that comes with that.” Other tracks, albeit via another author, touched upon those pressures of the last year or so. The stunning ‘Flying Shoes’ is an evocative ode to escape, whilst few titles are more on point than Stephen Bishop’s ‘The Same Old Tears On A New Background’. Rumer rightly describes tackling these songs as “like going into the heart of darkness.” And like ‘Seasons Of My Soul’ before it, Boys Don’t Cry is a gorgeous listening experience, but one that contains layers of emotional impact, which emerge upon further revisits.
Boys Don’t Cry is a selection of narratives, held together by Rumer’s stunning voice, and underpinned by the staggering stories Rumer herself encountered in the past year or so. And whilst Rumer has already received glowing support from a number of the original artists involved in the project, a personal note from Richard Carpenter regarding her debut album proved to be the ultimate accolade. “You not only sing beautifully,” writes Carpenter, “but what you’ve created is actually musical, something that has been in short supply in recent years. The fact that the album is a sales success as well is reassuring to me, as I still firmly believe that if the public is exposed to music that is natural and of high quality, they will respond positively. Congratulations.”
She may have taken a while getting here, but Rumer is in no mood to rest up. And it is the mysterious ‘P.F Sloan’ – of the album’s first single, and opening track – who arguably unlocks the meaning of the project. Sloan was a huge songwriter in his own right throughout the 60’s, penning Barry McGuire’s ‘Eve Of Destruction’ and composing the riff that would go on to become the Mamas & The Papas’ ‘California Dreaming’. Desperate to sing his own material, however, Sloan gave it all up to record as a solo artist, but failed to sell any records. He disappeared into obscurity, only to be remembered by Jimmy Webb’s own song, ‘P.F Sloan’: one songwriter’s bittersweet tribute to another, documenting the costs of being a true artist. “It’s a song about the great writers who have been forgotten, or sidelined by a commercially-driven music industry,” summarises Rumer. “I think ‘P.F Sloan’ sums up the whole album, and I love the idea of it being on the radio in 2012. This album is about paying respect to these pathfinders. I went on a journey, and this music tells that story.”
Praise for ‘Seasons Of My Soul’
“An emotional Trojan horse…the most exciting new talent of the moment” Observer
“Profound, intense and penetrating” Mojo, Album Of The Month *****
“Startling…these are songs of yearning and loss” Q ****
“Sensationally good…the hype is justified” Sunday Times Culture